27.11.2018 / Patrick Treyer

Is Practice Alone the Way to Perfection?

Do you know the risks you run with poorly trained machine operators? Your company is at risk of losing extensive knowledge and years of experience if an operator with longterm expertise retires, is promoted or seeks a new challenge elsewhere and therefore leaves the company. Knowledge that a new machine operator will not initially have and that must be learned from his or her colleagues.

And do you know the risks posed by machine operators who have not received any training for an extended period of time? Over time, machine operators often develop their own methods for operating the machines, methods that may not meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Such idiosyncrasies can lead to a decline in knowledge of the machines and impact their performance significantly. The only way to refresh employees’ expertise and thus prevent a loss of knowledge is through periodic training.

In my experience, there are many printers and bookbinders that believe they can compete successfully without providing appropriate training to their employees. Partly, this is because they have already made a considerable investment in good machines or important machine upgrades, making training costs seem like an unnecessary added expense.

A cheaper alternative would be, for example, to work with a third party – in other words, not with the original manufacturer of the equipment. Such a third party would install the machine for a very low price and then offer training for a small additional fee. The problem with this approach, however, is that the party installing the machine may not take the time to ensure production quality. And it may not have the same knowledge of the machines as the manufacturer and therefore may not be in a position to offer professional training. So while you may have very good equipment, you may not be able to use it efficiently – with the end result being that you won’t actually save any money.

This is because the reality is that machine operators who are not trained properly are less efficient – for the following reasons:

Loss of productivity
Your customers trust that their products will be produced professionally, correctly and efficiently. However, if your machine does not operate efficiently due to a lack of knowledge, the setup times will be longer than average, which will result in costly downtime. In addition, incorrect use of the machine often leads to costly repairs.

Safety problems
No matter what type of equipment is involved, every machine has its own unique features. Machine operators are explicitly made aware of these features during training with the original manufacturer. In this way, the operator learns how to handle the machine correctly. The original manufacturer can also point out activities and functions that require more attention and greater care – such as knife changes, working with hot glue, the appropriate distance to maintain from moving machine parts, etc. Obviously, it makes more sense to invest your money in good training for machine operators than in treating an injured employee.

Laissez-faire attitude
Employees who are insufficiently trained often do not feel a sense of responsibility for the performance of the machine they are operating. They tend to simply accept the (poor) performance of the machines because of a lack of knowledge. Or they blame the machines – which cannot help it if they are operated poorly – rather than attempting to improve their own performance and thus the results.

An investment in good training – and thus in your employees – means...
...you’ll achieve maximum productivity in the shortest possible time.
...your machine will be operated safely – for your own protection and the protection of your employees.
...your machine operator will know when things go wrong – before this results in costly downtime.
...your employees will be able to make suggestions for improving the process thanks to their knowledge of the machine.

For all of these reasons, Muller Martini recommends that you always have your employees trained by the original equipment manufacturer – because the manufacturer is the only expert when it comes to the machines it has produced. Ultimately, you and your company will benefit from safer, more productive and more efficient machine operators thanks to correct and targeted training – and not merely rote practice. After all, practice is good, but training makes perfect!
Print Finishing Center, Zofingen

Muller Martini will help you keep your employees up-to-date with the right training, optimize your production and continuously adapt it to your current production conditions. In addition to a thorough training program, we also have a host of tips and tricks for your operating personnel. Individually tailored training at your premises or in our by now four training centers in Germany, the US or Switzerland will provide your employees with optimal preparation for the (new) equipment. We will, of course, also notify you of further developments and new features for existing machines.

Find out more about the Blue Salon and all the other training centers of Muller Martini