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Thread: Finding REAL tradesmen and talant

  1. #25
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    Default Re: Finding REAL tradesmen and talant

    To the OP - answer to the question.
    There are endless excellent candidates, of no, low, medium and good basic skills/experience.

    All of them will need, should get, engineering wages, and with those engineering wages - consequent skills and productivity - will make the shop lots of money.

    I believe the basic premise, You started from, is wrong.

    This is a business-management post - not a personal criticism, or anything like that.

    Im(n)ho ...
    You do not actually want, or need, and should not hire, cheap guys, with (some) machining skills, to run machines.
    This is the wrong approach - and will not, probably, work well for Your business.

    What You actually want is smart engineer/tinker/trader type guys - very smart, interested, motivated.
    You want them to be very highly paid.

    And they will usually, -almost all- be very happy to get partly (highly) paid on results (because they are self-starters and very smart), where you make 2:1 - 3:1 - 4:1 on whatever they cost You, including 1M$/year per person.
    If You pay 1M$, and make 2M$ with a 1M$ profit, it would be madness to try to reduce the incentive for people like that.

    I have done the same in 3 countries, 3 languages, for multiple (70+) people in 3+ industries.
    My overall business sales (or tech) success rate is 100%+++ ... with some people in the mix of course not being the right fit.

    I used to start with cheap people// no skills, train them .. and this was wrong (right).
    Last gig was with the very best people, very expensive, opm.

    It was vastly easier, more fun, more productive, better return on investment, better IRR and IRRonC.
    (internal Rate of Return, IRR on Capital).

    If You can finance it, and have an excellent sales manager/trainer, then and only then go for the best guys.
    If the sales manager is no good, You waste 1M$ in a few months (at 100-120k$ /month costs for 8 good guys in sales).
    I was the Sales Mgr.



  2. #26
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    Default Re: Finding REAL tradesmen and talant

    Hi....one thing you miss.....if you can "pick up" highly motivated and experienced people at the drop of a hat.....what are they doing while you browse round the herd picking and choosing your talent?

    If they are in a waiting lane etc, why are they not being employed for the high wages they expect to earn as highly motivated and experienced CNC people?

    Those people, by your estimation, are in the ratio of 1 in 10 of available CNC savvy workers, and as the market for such people is a tight one, finding enough loose cannons will be a difficult job.

    If they are employed they won't be wanting to change sides just like that, and offering above the wage level of the district will put you out of the competitive production race very quickly..........unless of course you have government contacts that favour you with over estimated jobs etc.....commonly called "the old boy network".

    I'm curious to know how you get away with paying high wages to people who are out there earning wages that are normal for the CNC profession without going broke when it comes to competing for a contract.

    I doubt whether the guy in question will follow your suggestions as he and others are competing against the Chinese machine and that is a labour/payment issue that won't go away by merely throwing more dollars at highly motivated and competent people.
    Ian.



  3. #27
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    Default Re: Finding REAL tradesmen and talant

    Although I think hanermo is right
    There are endless excellent candidates, of no, low, medium and good basic skills/experience.
    I do think he has missed the point too.

    I am not looking for cheap highly skilled people. A lot of the work I have if one to ten off complicated parts. I am willing to pay top wages for skilled trades to produce those parts. I have higher production and low tolerance stuff too that I employ minions for. I prefer minions that have a real interest in a career and future, progressing to a skilled guy. But sometimes they do end up being the green button pushing mindless guy. If I could only hook the E-Stop to an suppository, that would save a few bucks! They always hit that a long time before the real E-Stop. That way I would not have a guy hit feed hold and watch the 5XD 1.5" insert drill go molten inside part after they failed to notice the inserts failing three parts earlier. They did notice the burr on the backside getting big.... (sorry for the side, pain is fresh. I'm going to the corner to cry now.....) Maybe I can cut the part off the drill? I'm sure it's still OK in there?
    Point is, I don't have to look far to find agreement that you get what you pay for. BUT just paying more does not directly translate into better work. Say my main guy can do a job in 8 hours. I pay him X. I pay a lower skilled guy half him but he takes twice as long. I just lost money. If I pay the lower skilled guy more, I don't get more work. He does not have the skill yet. I need a second "main" guy and pay him X. Then I make money.

    I'm not saying I don't want to train a guy, just one or two apprentices at a time, but I need some guys that can hit the floor running today. I don't think I am expecting too much of people, I just don't want to lose money. At my size, there are still too many hats for each guy to wear to be trying to dedicate guys to programming or pure setup. The opportunity is there for any employee to take on as many hats as he likes and get paid for it.

    Engineers, Yep. Handlewanker has it right that if you get university educated guys your going to have trouble getting them to stay in the dirty shop floor. We do a lot of engineer/build and keep engineers on staff. My requirement is that the juniors have to go to the floor and make parts. I feel very strongly that a design engineers needs to have a good understanding of what it really takes to make parts and hold tolerances. Worst job they can do is make their own design.....LOL That's when the learning really starts! But they are essentially apprentices, well equipped apprentices some of them, but still money consuming apprentices (that you cannot get a subsidy for) that take awhile to gain the knowledge they need. Then when they start getting a hang of stuff, they are off the floor. The rule is, the floor is my floor foreman's, and he is the boss when they are out there. The nice thing about this arrangement is that they will come back out and help when we are swamped and they learn a healthy respect of the tradesmen which really helps when they are on site dealing with outside trades.
    University educated engineers? NO, they have too much education to usually be settled long term on the floor.
    Engineering Technologist? YES. I think that nowadays, when a kid is smart in high school, they get pushed to get the highest education they can attain. Which is great. But I think there is a good portion of these young people that would in the old days, have gone thru a trade. In school they get told "you have good grades, you should be a technologist, ..... you should do computers,...... you should XXX" Never do they get told, "Machining requires a lot of skill and knowledge, your smart enough to be one. if you like building real things, look at that trade". I AM looking for the technologist that really would rather work in a machine shop than what he is doing.
    What I really meant starting this post is I need to add a few guys that can hit the floor running. I cannot fill my floor with apprentices and expect the few experienced guys to deal with them nor do I want the scalability of my business to be limited by training a few guys for 5 or 6 years. I agree with everyone here that building and molding a guy from the ground up is a good bet even with the risk of them leaving. I agree it is a responsibility that comes with owning a machine shop, to help train the future. I do need to fill the "middle" of my shop out with qualified employees.
    As for the hiring process, I like the idea of throwing a part in front of the candidate. I have done that to a few with mixed results. It shows they understand but not always that they can do. Had one guy, 15 years exp, good answer on a part in the interview (I likely didn't structure it well) but in the first week, he was taking forever on a large stainless flat plate. Putting a radius on the outside, it was heavy/light etc. All over the place. Honestly couldn't get it. When I walked over, he had his part support and the clamps in different areas, twisting the hell out of the part! Seems pretty intuitive to put the blocking UNDER the clamp. Seen that one a lot. What I was asking, is how to avoid or minimize those guys. From all the responses, I am scared it is training new people and waiting for the "good" ones to have a bad day at the shop around the corner. Gotta be patient I guess.

    Handlewanker, yes we do have to compete, so like everyone else, we need to watch the bottom line closely. When we started we were quite efficient. As we have grown, we have lost this. Mostly from growing without the right skilled employees. Luckily we have had a string of quite profitable work that helped keep things looking good but I can see it coming back to reality and we will not look good trying to hit the numbers other bigger shops are hitting unless we employ a higher percentage of good machinists.



  4. #28
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    Default Re: Finding REAL tradesmen and talant

    Hi....there are a number of clichés that highlight a situation without so many words......."too many chiefs and not enough Indians" is one that was a by word for over educated shop floor workers.

    In my last employ before retrenchment and final retirement at age 60, we had a consultant group come in...... "The Boston Toe Choppers"...... and when they were finished I walked out the door along with all of the managers, foremen and various other people that were "excess baggage"', approx. 1/3 of the "vital" brains of the outfit.....for the last million years or so.

    The end result, after a year was, the profits were up 40%, work in progress and store part stock levels were almost zero..... down from a continuous $10 million inventory to under $2 million....... and production with "just in time" was rolling along as smooth as grease on roller skates. .......BTW.....we all got paid out every last cent they could inject in the packages to ease the out the door now process that had to be done.

    What happened after the implosion and reduction in top and middle management was a team environment that had fully working team members and no office chair warming managers and foremen that in reality were excess baggage as far as hands on production.

    Yes, someone had to be the brains of the outfit, but that was within the team and preplanned work procedures ensured the expertise of the foremen and managers was now in the hands of the team.......just follow the procedure etc.

    The product spread was reduced to cater for the 80/20 rule which culminated in the reduction in the stock inventory.

    Sometimes you have to displease some of your customers all of the time to cater for the majority that put more bread on the table than the few that produce crumbs etc.

    It is a fallacy that catering for everyone produces more work....it does,.....with diminishing returns.....you can squeeze a few more drops of moisture from a rag if you wring it out but the effort is excessive to the end result......so the 80/20 rule is the name of the game and lead times cater for the just in time principal that works so well.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we had dedicated tool setters for the CNC mills and lathes and operators that just pressed the green button when the red light flashes....that is what they like to do, no aspirations of running a show....ever.....just get the money, they know their job within the narrow spectrum of their work expertise, and the show runs smoothly.

    Having come from a relatively low education level trade background that fulfilled the need to do the job without eyeing the horizon for grater things, I retired after more than 50 years as a qualified tradesman and expected no more than that.

    Today, the work environment has changed so much I would and did not figure as a valued worker after the shakedown mainly due to the fast changes that occurred with CNC, just in time and the 80/20 rule that high volume production dictates.

    BTW.....if you threw a part on the desk at an interview.....which is a daunting sterile environment to gain knowledge of a prospect's ability...... and asked a prospect to work out a process, 9 times out of 10 the process can be done better with more time to ponder and at the coal face once you're familiar with the working environment etc........I never had to do that at an interview.....papers talked and I worked on from there.

    BTW 2.....at a job interview I never worked at a starting rate......I either got the money being offered or it was a case of "kiss my arse as I walk out the door"......also, who needs a brain surgeon to work in a butcher's shop.
    Ian.



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Finding REAL tradesmen and talant
Finding REAL tradesmen and talant