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IWF Education: Watching Videos on Company Time

13. May 2020 07:20

By: Ralph Bagnall, Woodworking Consultant, Author and TV Host: Consulting Woodworker.com

I know that a lot of you cringed just reading the title here. Time wasted on internet distractions is a concern for everyone, but there are times I have prescribed YouTube to my clients. Really!

The internet in general and YouTube in particular can be as valuable a resource to you as it is a productivity black hole. Now I am certainly not advocating cat videos at work, but there is a LOT of solid technical training content online, and a surprising amount of it is free. Giving selected employees permission to access this can greatly enhance your business. 

For example, while almost all of the small to mid-sized shops I work with have CNC machines, almost none of the operators working them have any formal training in programming or operation. Not even the basic instruction that may have been provided at installation. I find that while many of these machine operators have done very well figuring things out for themselves, there is lots of room for improvement. Processing speed, cut quality and basic machine capabilities are often well below par simply because these operators lack training.

(image courtesy of Vectric LLC) 

While I certainly recommend professional training through machine manufacturers, software providers, or even independent experts, much improvement is available for free on the web. Budgeting even a few hours of your CNC operator’s week to web learning can pay YOU major dividends. One recent client of mine was struggling with cut listing and had a full time employee devoted just to compiling the lists. By spending a bit of time between You Tube and the Software Provider’s free online tutorials, the programmer learned that the cut lists were automatically generated in the CAD/CAM software, freeing up a full time employee to do more billable tasks.

Obviously, we do not need people wasting company time updating their Facebook page, but budgeting key employees some time to use the internet for learning new skills, finding useful new products, and generally improving themselves can bring real value to your entire business.

Learn more about online training during my session "Failure May be the Best Option - Encouraging Innovation at all Levels of Your Business" at the IWF 2020 Education Conference. 

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