Jeff Shiver CMRP outlines an approach to utilizing free or inexpensive vendor led training sessions to upgrade the skills and knowledge of your maintenance workforce at the site level.


Hello. I'm Jeff Shiver, Managing Principal with People and Processes. Today I want to share a little tip with you around how to improve your craft skills.

Many times we hear, "Well, we always need training, but we never have the funding to do it." One of the things that you're probably overlooking is your vendors like SKF and Rexroth and those other guys. What they'll do is they'll come and provide training for you. Maybe it's an hour, maybe it's two hours.

As an example, one of the things we've done in the past is we had SKF come in and the plant manager said, "Hey, we'll take all the technicians over," and we sat them down at a restaurant, and they could just ask the SKF guy questions about the training. What was it that they specifically wanted to know about bearings or whatever. That's the way the SKF engineer approached it.

The technicians got opportunities to ask questions and I'll share a little quick story with you about that. It was interesting because the SKF engineer says, "Okay, what problems are you having with this particular bearing?

They said, "Well, you know, we're seeing it fail frequently."

The SKF engineer asked,  "Well how are you installing it?"

They said, "Well, you know, we hammer it on with a brass punch.

The engineer said, "Wow, man, you're killing the bearing."

It was enlightening for the technicians even though to you and I that was common sense, they didn't realize that.

Then the engineer asked them, "Okay, well how many you do that way?" They said, "Well, we probably do 40% that way." He said, "Wow."

He said, "Well how do you do the other 60%?"

They said, "Well we take a torch and we rosebud it."

Again, that's the worse thing you can do. Just goes to show you that you can use training like that. It's at low cost or free and basically just cost the hours of your labor to actually go through the training.

You might think about scheduling these types of vendor training sessions on opposing shifts or when the shifts bubble up or something like that as an option too. When you have the vendor come in, sit down with them in advance and say, "Hey, this is what I'd like for you to cover." Make sure it's not a sales pitch. Tell them to take the sales out of it and just focus on craft skills. SKF does bearings and installation and how to demount bearings and those kind of things. Use the vendor tools that you can and reduce your cost and get craft skills training in the process.

Hope you enjoyed the tip. I'm Jeff Shiver, People and Process. Have a great day.