Background

A.R.E. Manufacturing Inc. (A.R.E.), a contract shop located in Newberg, specializes in using high-end CNC machining equipment to manufacture precision components from various materials. Since its foundation in 1980, A.R.E. has grown from a small garage to an operation with more than 45 employees and a host of equipment including vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers with pallet systems, and multi-axis lathes with live tooling. Some other manufacturing processes that A.R.E. offers are tube bending, welding, and powder coating.

 

25%
reduction in non-value added activities
30%
increase in the entry-level hiring pool
50%
Projected improvement in employee proficiency

The Situation

A.R.E. has had a long relationship with the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP). In 2005, they partnered with OMEP for Continuous Improvement (Lean) training and implementation support. In 2015, A.R.E. realized there was a large gap when using their training program to take entry-level employees to the next level. These gaps resulted in quality, productivity, and morale issues. Entry-level employee turnover was high and tribal knowledge was difficult to translate and disseminate to these up and coming employees.

The Solution

In 2015, OMEP and A.R.E. collaborated to implement a structured on-the-job training program called SMART Talent. Over the course of four months, OMEP and A.R.E. refined the hiring process so that A.R.E. can be confident in their candidate selection. Additionally, OMEP worked with A.R.E. to develop employee skill sets and career pathways to provide employees with a road to success.

SMART Talent is different from other structured on-the-job skills training programs because it provides companies with a proven approach to internal training that quickly integrates new employees and develops incumbents. This program builds training into the regular work day, allowing trainers and trainees to see immediate results, and increase their confidence.

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The Results

A.R.E. has seen a remarkable difference since implementing the SMART Talent program. Some of these results are listed below:

  • 25% reduction in non-value added activities due to standardization of current processes
  • 30% increase in the entry-level hiring pool
  • Projected 50% reduction in set-up time
  • Projected 50% improvement in employee proficiency (reduction in training time from 5 years to 2.5 years)

ARE’s journey is far from over. The next steps for this collaboration will be to integrate SMART Talent into A.R.E.’s culture, standardize training procedures across products and processes, and empower employees to continue to develop and sustain the program.

OMEP's continued involvement is vital to our success and the development of manufacturing practices necessary to compete in the global economy. I believe that OMEP's program is critical to the success of manufacturing in the State of Oregon. Domestic manufacturers provide living wage jobs and organizations such as OMEP are essential in keeping manufacturing alive and well in the United States.

Alvin Elbert
President

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