Okay…. The picture of my dog has nothing to do with the Blog. I just love the picture and figured it might get your attention. I really want to talk about training.
I recently Blogged about our new individualized training program at Ebsco. Training is a major initiative with Ebsco right now.
Looking more closely at training, I have discovered a real art when it comes to training. It’s not what you train, it’s how you train it.
Obviously in manufacturing, a major part of training is complex engineering material. Things that go right over most people’s heads. Our “spring guru”, Paul Lord (aka Lord of the Springs) is an excellent trainer. Paul understands the complex engineering and can communicate with our customer’s engineers, often teaching them about the science of the processes in spring manufacturing. Paul knows springs. But when it comes to training, he has a way of explaining the complex in a way that the simple-minded (like myself) can understand. It’s not what he says, it is how he says it.
Case in point. Stress relief utilizing shot peening on springs. Now Paul can talk about the science of this all day, utilizing words like tinsel and metallurgy and several others. That’s great talking with engineers. The beauty is when he explains it to the rest of us. We do not hire engineers for our production positions, we need people who actually do something (sorry engineers, I couldn’t resist). Typically the process is explained with all of the fancy words, we all nod understanding and go on about our day not understanding anything that is said. Not when Paul explains it. Paul uses Styrofoam fun noodles as an example. Bending one in an arc, you notice how the material bunches on the inside of the arc and the surface stretches on the outside of the arc. This is easy to visualize. Just like a crack in a board, these stretched and bunched surfaces are weak points, ready to fail prematurely. Shot Peening shoot thousands of little balls at all surfaces of the spring, pounding out these imperfections like little auto body hammers. Imperfections gone, no weak points in the spring, longer spring life. Now engineers may cringe at this simplified explanation but the rest of us get it! We understand the importance of the process and can begin to understand the whys behind the whats. It’s all how you say it.
Another example is stress relief through the application of heat treating. With the engineers, Paul can discuss the operating temperature and the molecular structure of the metal. He can utilize all the engineering terms I do not understand. With the rest of us he explains it like this. The wire used to make the spring came on a roll. The wire has a “memory” No matter how we bend or coil the wire it will always try to return to its original shape. When we heat-treat the spring we rearrange that memory. The spring now see’s it’s purpose to remain in the coiled shape it currently exists and does not try to straighten out. Again a real over simplification of the science BUT the rest of understand it.
There are few people with the ability to understand the complex and relay it in simple terms for everyone to understand. It first takes a real understanding of the knowledge. It then takes the ability to be empathetic. The teacher must be able to step out of their shoes and step into the shoes of the pupils. For those that master this we find the true great teachers. Im sure we all had a few of these while we attended school. They have a passion for their subject and want to share it with others. Paul Lord at Ebsco is one of those.
Thanks Paul, You make Ebsco a better place. Now where did I put that fun noodle?