Training: Can you afford not ot?

Training: Can you afford not to?

Last week I visited a machine shop owned by a friend and saw that one of his machines was taken apart. I was intrigued; that piece of equipment usually was one of his “star producers”.

After inquiring as to what the problem was, he told me that one of his trainees did not grease the Z-axis properly and ended up with some grease blocking the machine’s Z-axis glass scale breaking it in the process.

My first question was: “Why did he end up with machine grease where there should be none?”.

His answer was one I had heard before … Nobody ever showed him the proper way to grease the moving gears as it was assumed to be an easy job deemed fit for a trainee.

Like in many shops, my friend uses word-of-mouth and experience as his training method and vehemently refuses to send any of his workers to the 5-day training provided by the equipment manufacturer.

“It costs too much, and I do not want to train a new guy to see him leave a year from now”.

That was my friend’s answer. But was he right?

I believe the question should be: “Can he afford not to send his new hires to training?” Independently of the risk of seeing them leave later on….

Let us see the training cost for one employee:

Training Class: $ 1,500.00
Airplane Travel: $ 600.00
Hotel: $ 900.00
Rent-a-Car: $ 600.00
Per Diem: $ 500.00
$ 4,100.00 for the week


Now let us examine the cost of this repair:
New parts: 16 hours @ $150.00/hour: $ 4,500.00
Local Technician (2 days on-site): $ 2,400.00
Loss of production: (2 days / 2 shifts): 32 hours @ $125.00/hour $ 4,000.00
Overtime cost to recover lost production time: $ 2,000.00
Upset customer: For this one repair $ Priceless

While $4,100.00 might seem like a lot of money, especially for a smaller-sized shop … How much will the next trainee mistake cost him on top of this one?

In the end, does employee retention matter?

Food for thought.