Dec 9, 2013
All on the Same Page
A local packaging firm finds results in employee development thanks to a customized workplace training plan from Fox Valley Technical College.
Employee input has been a central ingredient of growth for Menasha-based industrial packaging solutions company, Dura-Fibre. “Our plant employees are working with machines every day and have insights that those of us in management simply couldn’t have,” says Luke Benrud, Dura-Fibre’s director of operations. “We realized we needed them to regularly communicate their concerns and improvement ideas.”
In the past, line workers at Dura-Fibre were hesitant to share their ideas and make changes. “We needed to develop a continuous improvement mindset so employees would work with us to help develop solutions,” states Benrud. To this end, he looked to the region’s experienced leader in workplace training solutions: Fox Valley Technical College’s Business and Industry Services.
FVTC trainers specialize in customizing plans to develop leadership talent—when and where it is convenient for the company. In Dura-Fibre’s case, it was all about customizing a training program that focused on communications. “What made Fox Valley Technical College stand out was that it understood our needs and developed a program that worked for us,” says Benrud. “The college’s instructor was excellent, and the classes were scheduled at our convenience. We were able to work with all three of our shifts at once.”
Dean Murzello, one of FVTC’s Management Development instructors, explains the key to a partnership’s success. “When we begin a new project, we start with an in-depth assessment of the company and its people,” he notes. “Once we understand the situation, we review relevant research and then recommend an approach that will deliver the most effective and fastest results.”
For Dura-Fibre, FVTC’s training program began by providing employees with basic tools. In the first phase of the program, they learned how to lead a team together, share ideas, map out a process, and identify ways to pull all these elements together. The training included simulations and role playing. Employees engaged as both team leaders and team members using situations from Dura-Fibre. “Afterward we debriefed to learn how applying the new skills generates success,” says Murzello. “This is a key step in getting results.”
The training has been so successful that Dura-Fibre has already met with FVTC to set up the next program. “Once our employees started to realize that their ideas were being heard, we began getting more ideas, and that is huge,” Benrud emphasizes. “Improvement initiatives are now a regular part of our work world.”
Go with Experience
Fox Valley Technical College’s Business and Industry Services department plays a significant role in the economic development of the region. Here’s why:
- A leader in addressing the business growth, talent development, process and operations, safety and sustainability, and technology and trades needs to all industries
- 22,614 employees trained in 2011
- 1,661 organizations served in 2011
- Industries impacted by customized training include business and professional services, construction, financial and insurance, health care, government, manufacturing, non-profit, small business and more