Adding Valuable Layers: Investing in Human Capital through Additive Manufacturing Training & Development

I recently made a career-move, taking on a new challenge leading a nascent Training & Services segment of a boutique engineering consulting firm. This move comes after having spent several years working in capital equipment Sales in metal Additive Manufacturing (AM).

 

As a capital equipment Saleswoman, I could spend hours on a visit, walking through my sales pitch and walking through the technology: how it works & how this technology, Mr./Mrs. Future Customer, can help you meet your specific business goals. It was an enjoyable role, selling GE's Arcam EBM and Concept Laser DMLM equipment.

 

However, I quickly recognized a recurring theme in my work. I recognized that some of my favorite sales calls were calls which I felt I was genuinely able to sit in front of a prospect and teach them something new about the technology or the industry.

 

My favorite part of a sales call was really just educating the group present on all-things AM, teaching them the information that I know. And I quickly realized that the more I shared information in this way, the more I learned, too.

 

While we teach, we learn.

                      -Seneca, Roman philosopher

 

I’d discovered something I really enjoyed doing, and it was applicable on most sales calls, a win-win!

 

Another common theme on many of these sales calls was often the varying degrees of Additive experience or Additive expertise of the folks I came to pitch. And these varying degrees of experience and expertise often made it difficult to have an effective discussion about the technology. The group would spend more time explaining definitions to one another than it would understanding how AM technology could benefit their business. 

 

It quickly became apparent to me that our industry lacked a generous offering of something: 

 

Established, easy-to-access, industry & technology-agnostic Additive Manufacturing Training & Development programs.

 

Training & Development is important for a multitude of reasons, yet many businesses find themselves saying, "We're too busy," or, "We don't have the money for training right now." However, after seeing the setbacks and slowdowns first hand, I've become and advocate of AM Training & Development.

 

These are my top (from experience) reasons why:

 

Training teaches proven industry best-practices and processes. It minimizes Additive technology & compliance failure and teaches staff a common language. This is one of the driving forces behind six sigma certification, as well.

 

Training your staff places you ahead of your competitors. If you aren’t moving and innovating, you’re falling behind. By making sure your people are constantly learning and evolving, you will continue to move forward and remain a competitive force in the marketplace. 

 

Training nurtures managerial and leadership ability.  It creates competent Additive users who foster competitive advantage by building effective systems and consistent behaviors into company culture.

 

Training improves employee engagement. Through continued investment from an organization, staff have a higher sense of job satisfaction, which improves their motivation towards their work. This reduces employee turnover, increases productivity, and has a direct impact on profitability. Introducing Additive can also reinvigorate your staff, through both new designs and new ways of thinking.

 

Training allows new technology introductions to become both easier and less expensive to implement and use. You've spent enough on your capital equipment purchase. Now save some money on the back-end.

 

Training offers staff a hands-on experience. An experience with implementation of theoretical principles to real-life, customer-specific scenarios. 

 

And last, training is a force multiplier. It increases employee aptitude and gives users appropriate resources to take technology forward, faster.

 

I chose to make a move from AM capital equipment Sales into Training & Services after recognizing the industry needed this type of offering. Not training your staff can lead to a lack of expertise, or varying degrees of expertise, both of which are equally detrimental. Don't let the lack of common language & common knowledge set your business back on your Additive journey. Invest in AM Training & Development today.

 

Alison

 

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As always, I welcome any comments or questions at additivealison@gmail.com.

 

If you have enjoyed what you've read, please share it with your network. Follow me for more light and informative stories.

 

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