January 6, 2015

Are You Getting Ready for Spring Training at Your Glass Shop?

By Paul Bieber

Yep, I’ve got my tickets to Florida to see some spring training games, and I can’t wait. But wait, what are you doing? Are you giving your rookies some extra training? Are you working with your seasoned veterans to make sure their skills are up-to-date?

Here are some exercises you can do to help your glass team this season:

  • Cross-train every employee in the company so each one learns a second job. This takes planning and coordination between all the managers of various departments. And, this won’t happen in three days. It takes months to completely accomplish this. Plan to have this completed by the All-Star Game in July.
  • Send your employees to your vendors for an afternoon or a full day. Let them see IG being made on an automated line, or a tempering oven. It is a mesmerizing process to see glass coming out of the oven at around 1,300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you are close enough, take a bus trip and see a float tank. Your employees will come away with a new sense of reverence for the work that floaters do. And so will you!
  • Buy a couple of extra PC’s and encourage your non-computer literate folks to spend some time after work just exploring. It will begin to make them more comfortable with computers, and you can begin some formal training when you and they are really ready. This after-work stuff is non-compensable. But, if you tell someone to do this training, you have to pay them on the clock. Make sure your people know this is a voluntary thing.
  • Call your local community college and check the schedule for English-as-a-Second-Language courses. Every local college has this, along with many high schools. A non-English speaker who graduates is a great help to you, and you should reward the graduate with a pizza party in his honor and a small raise. Even a quarter bump will show you appreciate him.

And for you, the owner or manager, what do you need to learn? Are you investing 5 percent of your time in education? Maybe during the slow months, you should be planning on 10 percent. Go out and search for new products; visit home shows and see what other glass shops are showing; ask every vendor, “What’s new?” and jump on the bandwagon with a new product or two.

Your education in glass is important, but maybe you need to learn more about worker’s comp insurance or electronic bill payments or succession planning. Do it now!

You get the plan. Set up an education program for you and your entire company. This week’s power ball lottery is about $150 million. Someone might win, and you don’t really expect them to come back to work. Has his replacement been cross-trained?