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Focus on Workplace Training

Focus on Workplace Training

Fall 2010

It’s All About the Image

Miller Electric Mfg. Co. turned to a familiar source for software training to enhance its training materials. 

Miller Electric Mfg. Co. needed to train some of its employees in desktop publishing, so the firm did what numerous local companies have done for years: It asked Fox Valley Technical College’s Business and Industry Services team for help.

That request was easy to fill. Adjunct Graphic Arts instructor Mark Schlueter was eager to work with Miller Electric, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of arc welding products designed for manufacturing, fabrication, construction, aviation, motorsports, education, agricultural, and marine applications.

Miller Electric had specific goals in mind. The company had been streamlining the development and production of its training manuals and wanted to improve efficiency and quality. Training five of its employees in desktop publishing software would enable them to immediately put together a number of key publications.

Over the course of four weeks, the Miller Electric trainees took part in day-long training sessions for each of three software programs: Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign.

According to Nick Peterson, welding engineer and curriculum developer for Miller Electric, streamlining the in-house production of various training materials enables the company to have better control over the timing, inventory, and presentation of key product information.

“For instance, we learned how to utilize new design applications to update a welding process in one of our manuals,” says Peterson. “We can also make ‘just-in-time’ copies of these materials when we need them to better support our training objectives.”

Peterson cites this new level of cross-training as an invaluable tool for a company that aspires to lean practices and world-class service. “Our industry is fast changing, so we need to change along with the demands for our products,” he notes.

Jill Rosio, another Miller Electric curriculum developer and fellow trainee, sees enhanced imagery as an important benefit from the training as well. “Understanding the differences between image quality in our highly detailed world of specifications and technical applications is critical,” she says. “The customized training from Fox Valley Tech really enabled us to save printing costs and time.”

Saving money and time are important for any business, but for Miller Electric, improved efficiency in presenting new training materials that are valued by its customers is essential. “The training needs of our distributor base have changed,” notes Paul Cleveland, manager of training and mobile sales support for Miller Electric. “Providing distributors with updated, customized training materials when they need them enhances customer satisfaction.”

The company is now better skilled to create educational materials for in-house training programs on an ongoing basis. “It was rewarding to get the trainees to realize the characteristics of each individual application, and how they all can work together,” Schlueter says.

FVTC’s long-standing partnership with Miller Electric has included other training concepts like robotic welding, rapid prototyping, and multimedia development through learning objects, to name a few. The company has also been a strong supporter of the college’s welding programs.


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