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34 SMT007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2020 In my job, I'm in a position to have conver- sations with dozens of EMS and fabricators as they book their employees in for IPC certifi- cations and recertifications. Customer require- ments demand that they employ certified tech- nicians. But what about those skills that are not "required" by their customers? What about communication and team-building skills and customer service or time management? I have worked in and served industries with the most stringent of requirements like medical, DoD, aerospace, telecommunications, and automo- tive, and I have never seen a requirement for soft skills training or training of support job functions for employees. The question is, "If it is not required, does it merit our attention?" The answer is that it absolutely does because it benefits the bottom line. It is no secret that more efficient operations yield better profit margins. Operations manag- ers endeavor on a daily basis to improve pro- cesses and find other means to optimize. Often- times, this is done through the application of more efficient machinery and equipment. Other times, it is accomplished by removing redundancies in the workforce. All too often, Training Is Hard, But It's Also Soft Feature by Jahr Turchan BLACKFOX TRAINING INSTITUTE There is a disconnect in many manufactur- ing companies. This article is not about that disconnect, but rather a topic that gets clouded and the objectives made more difficult by that prevalent disconnect. Business owners, vice presidents, and operational executives are expected to have a vision for the company strategy. But what is not always fully known is the broad strokes of how to get there. The result is that these businesses can't effectively communicate company vision to the tactical team they have employed to ensure the proper execution of the day-to-day tasks. Too often, these teams are left to focus on the immediate needs of today. The constant call for operational metrics—too often focused on the bottom line—draws the attention away from long term investments that will most likely have the greatest overall impact on the bottom line. This investment is one that will increase the value of the most valuable asset of the business, which is human capital. The investment is training.

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