KCR Manufacturing designs and manufacturers wildland firefighting equipment for forestry professionals throughout the world. The company was established in 1980 and was recently acquired by WATERAX in January 2018, a leading distributor of forestry products and manufacturer of portable fire pumps since 1858. With a small team of only 10 employees, KCR celebrated its first year of $1 million in sales last year and is forecasted to double annual sales in 2018.
KCR desired to implement a structured on-the-job training program that engaged and developed employees with defined development pathways. Their intent was for employees to gain additional skills and knowledge, freeing them to work in other areas of the company and allowing repetitive work to be supplemented with more variety. KCR was taking a proactive stance on employee engagement. Although turnover was traditionally low, KCR was concerned that if employees were not further engaged, turnover would become a larger issue.
The focus of this project was to create a sustainable internal training structure to quickly integrate new workers and upgrade incumbents. The ultimate goal was increased work standardization, productivity, quality, and employee engagement.
To help them reach this goal, OMEP worked with KCR to identify the organizational structure and administrative processes to deliver a sustainable training program, including analyzing the roles, responsibilities, and qualifications of the leadership oversight team, trainer, and facilitator.
KCR referred to this training system as a mentorship program, with an emphasis on creating strong bonds between mentors and mentees throughout the learning process. Mentors were provided with a methodical and systematic method for standardizing training to provide consistent and relevant training sessions for employees. Mentors were also given the skills to train, facilitate, and present. To ensure long-term commitment to KCR, pathways for targeted training areas were developed, allowing KCR personnel to see the path to job advancement and related compensation for increased skillsets.
Leveraging current training documentation, OMEP and KCR transitioned it to a format that incorporated a variety of learning styles and concepts. Training modules were uploaded to a protected area of the company website, allowing employees to access training materials and complete training evaluations from their phones on the production floor. Providing this kind of accessibility also enables employees to quickly reference standard operating procedures and quality standards.
KCR Manufacturing now has a Structured On the Job Training (S-OJT) process and a customized training system upon which to build further. Implementation has provided an estimated cost savings of $256,000 through reduced training times and improved process standardization. The company retained $900,000 in product sales and now has the ability to accept new orders that would double or even triple annual sales this year. The training program has also retained five jobs and created four new jobs, with an estimated four additional jobs to be added within the next six months.
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Working with OMEP was a pleasure while developing the Structured On the Job Training program at KCR. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable and used a holistic approach by tying in all areas of the business in need of development into the creation of a successful training program. They also provided us with the tools and skills necessary to continue to develop the program after initial setup, which is invaluable. We would definitely recommend OMEP's SMART Talent Program to other local manufacturers.