As a Welding Company.. What do you Know?
While many understand the premise of welding, few are experts that understand the field enough to be able to identify whether their welding operations are being run efficiently and effectively enough. Many companies that employ welders may not be running their businesses as efficiently or effectively as possible. If you’d like to know if your company really knows welding, take a look at the following questions to gauge whether your company really knows welding.
Does your company hire and maintain skilled workers?
Hiring is a costly endeavor for any company and it is important to hire and maintain skilled workers. There are several ways to do this. First, companies can offer great benefits to lure skilled workers into jobs. Taking a look at your competitors hiring practices is a great way to compare if your company is competitive not only in pay, but in benefits and work environment. Partnering with a trade school to hire entry level workers who can then train with more experienced workers is also a great way find and maintain talented workers. In addition, those that have sought out training in the field are more likely to be committed to the field and to the work itself. Those that have attended training and completed a degree program will be armed with the knowledge and experience needed to be successful. Also, hiring for fit is extremely important. Companies that are desperate to fill vacant spots may hire someone that is inexperienced and will not be a long term fixture in the company. Taking more time to hire the right person will benefit the company more in the long run, than just quickly trying to fill open positions. Hiring for fit is often overlooked in lieu of a quick fix. If you are hiring temporary workers for highly skilled jobs, quality will suffer, which will in turn will cause issues with your customers and may ultimately lead to customer complaints or the loss of customers to competitors.
Is the manager of the welders on staff an experienced welder him/herself?
It takes not only education, but vast experience to really be able to consider yourself an expert welder and/or an expert in the welding field. Many companies do not hire a manager for the welding staff that is also an experienced welder him or herself. If those that manage welders are not also skilled and experienced in the profession, then they will not be able to manage as effectively as someone who is. It is easy for an experienced worker to get into bad habits that may be unrecognizable to an unexperienced manager. This can create a culture of exceptions and inefficiencies. Promoting skilled welders into management positions is also a great way to show your employees that opportunities for growth are available at your company.
Are your workers using the correct welding techniques for the job?
A very common problem in any industry or profession is the problem of continuing to do things how they were always done. As times change, technologies and processes evolve to become more effective and more efficient. If your staff is accustomed to using work-arounds or other methods to get the job done that are outside of acceptable practices, then it is possible that your product’s end quality will suffer. Keep your team educated on the latest techniques by investing in continuing education classes. This will not only strengthen your workforce by investing in your employees, but this will create a higher quality product for your customers.
Is your company using the latest and most efficient welding equipment for the job?
If your company is not using the latest and most efficient equipment, then it is possible that time is being wasted by inefficient processes. In the business world time equals money, and no company wants to waste time working in ways that are less efficient and costly. Take inventory of your current equipment and do a cost/benefit analysis to see if upgrading your equipment would be advantageous to your company at this time.
Are you minimizing waste and rework?
Waste and rework should be calculated on a regular basis and used as a formal performance goal for your workers. If you are evaluating your workers on these two performance indicators and holding them accountable for minimizing waste and rework, then you will see an increase in quality and care taken into each project. Low quality should not be a tradeoff for high quantity. With the correct processes, both high quality and high quantities can be produced.
Is your set-up efficient?
Many machine shops do not have efficient setups which causes projects to take longer than necessary. Having a clean, organized workspace allows jobs to get done faster. Tools should have designated areas and be returned at the end of each day. Scraps should also have a designated disposal area and should not be littering the workplace floor or other work areas. Also, having an assembly line setup, will provide more efficiency. Moving equipment to create a natural flow, and to minimize the movement needed from one area to the next will save time. For example, if a worker needs to walk across to the other end of the shop to complete the second step in a process and then back again for the third step, then time is being wasted between steps. If the equipment needed in each process is conveniently located next to each other, then work will get done much faster. Simply reorganizing tools and equipment is an easy for your shop to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.
Is your company following the required safety guidelines and procedures?
In order to get work churned out faster or for whatever reason, some workers may not follow proper safety guidelines and procedures that have been set in place. And while a company may see that as the choice of the worker, following safety procedures cannot be a workers choice. The most obvious reason for this is that in the event that an employee gets hurt, the company becomes liable. If your company is not requiring proper safety equipment and techniques to be used, then it is possible for your company to be fined and for operations to be halted, temporary or maybe even permanently. The company also becomes liable for the employees medical costs, and possibly lost income. All the while, the company is now short an employee because of an accident. At regular intervals your company should go over safety guidelines and procedures with employees and emphasize the importance of following the guidelines. Formal consequences should be set in place, including verbal warnings, write-ups, and suspensions for those failing to follow the required safety practices.
Precision Manufacturing Institute offers programs in welding as well as continuing education courses. Continuing education courses allow your company to stay abreast on current techniques and give your employees a way to feel empowered with better, more efficient methods to complete their work. These classes also offer the opportunity for your employees to do team-building activities as well as to discuss common issues and discover ways to solve those issues.