Sunday is our day for maintenance to keep the equipment in optimal running condition. Although we do have mechanical breakdowns during the week, they're generally short. Our goal is to keep unplanned downtime to no more than a two-hour window, and these failures are getting fewer and farther between.
Q. What steps have you taken to help transition and train your employees as they adapt to thinking in new ways and working with new equipment and new processes?
As we announced the change to this new environment, we knew we wanted to bring a large portion of our existing workforce from Largo over to this new plant. First, we spent a great deal of time training our employees on improving their skills; teaching English to our non-English speaking employees, since that was critical in the new work environment. Also, in addition to basic skills training for the new environment, we trained them on Lean Manufacturing methodologies, what we call our overall 'operating philosophy', cell manufacturing, preventive maintenance concepts--all the different basics that were not equipmentspecific. We began this training with our existing workforce in the two to three years leading up to the transition.
When we arrived at the transition point, the first thing we did was take key positions--whether maintenance or press or collation-- and send them off to the equipment manufacturers' sites to get very detailed, specific hands-on training. These individuals became our 'advance teams'. While most of that training occurred at manufacturers' sites, some were trained here later during installations. For our advance teams, who became our 'trainers', we provided a 'train-the-trainer' program and methodology to enable them to instruct the next wave of employees. This plan continued all the way through the migration. Next, we documented our business process and provided detailed work instructions complete with pictures and diagrams for the entire workforce, as a ready resource for how to do their jobs.