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108 The PCB Magazine • March 2014 by Steve Williams steVe williams consulting llc Capturing Tribal Knowledge c o l u m n PoiNt of View Elizabeth II, Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, made the following salient proclamation more than 50 years ago: "It's all to do with the training: You can do a lot if you're properly trained." What has held true through the ages is not a secret; people perform better when properly trained. Walk the Walk Training is often an afterthought in many organizations, and the longer a company has been in business, the more this seems to ap- ply. While assessing more than 1,000 compa- nies over the past couple of decades, it has been amazing to observe that the biggest offenders of this component are the companies that overuse the sound bite "our most important asset is our people." When you really dig into the process and peel back the onion, it is clear that their commitment to training is not commensurate with that statement. No matter what you call it: training, coaching, mentoring, etc., what we are really talking about is turning people into a competitive advantage. A keystone of any world-class organization is the depth and breadth of the training pro- gram. Training can be defined as learning that is provided in order to improve performance on the present job. A well-managed program in a printed circuit board fabricator can mean the difference between average and outstanding performance. Of course, this applies to every industry, but with up to 60 different possible processes, combined with the degree of difficul- ty required to produce today's PCBs, it takes on exponential importance. Typical Scenario I've heard the following conversation re- peated many times, so it may sound familiar: Supplier: "This is Larry; he is our best plater and runs this department." Customer: "Can I see his training file docu- menting that Larry is a certified operator for plating?" Supplier: "Uh, we don't really have a certified operator program, but Larry IS the trainer for

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