Have You Taught Them Enough?

One of the things that has surprised me about my consulting work is how the unusual projects find me. Unique applications, tooth forms, drive arrangements, and materials seem to have my contact information. Perhaps this is a result of longevity or the diverse group of employers I worked for; it could also be because of this blog being read all over the world. (Keep that in mind when I try to pass this labor of love off in 2021.)

The second most surprising thing is the lack of effort put into preserving and sharing company history. It is quite sad when I remember more about your legacy products than you do. We are in for some tough times and this lack of “institutional memory” will hurt your ability to find work in those “old” markets.

AGMA is doing wonderful things with education; but their efforts will be much more effective if students arrive with a broad base of gear knowledge and specific questions related to their own duties. What passes for a baseline course on gears in the accredited mechanical engineering schools is almost laughable compared to some of our international competitors.

When ISO 9000 was adopted at a previous posting, the owner took the obligation to train our process engineers so seriously that I was ordered to prepare a detailed 12-hour course for them. They could not be promoted or receive an increase in pay until they successfully completed the twelve-step program. There was grumbling, but once we got the program going, it was almost fun; our processes improved, too.

It was not enough to keep me employed there, but that is not a topic for public discussion. Although part of my “workout” was to write an extremely detailed instruction book for my successor, he ignored it for three months, got in trouble, and called me up for help. You can only imagine how happy he was to be told the “answer is in the book.”

As companies return to the “new normal,” why not make it a “better normal” by increasing your educational efforts?

About Charles D. Schultz 643 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

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