4 FM quick reads on training
1. Managers Should Protect Training Funds
As the budgets of maintenance and engineering departments continue to shrink, managers might have no higher priority than protecting funds for technician training.
Managers have a big enough challenge finding sufficient funds to cover a department's needs when economic times are good. But when times get tough, the challenge can seem overwhelming. The natural tendency is to protect traditional core needs — labor to do the work, and the essential tools to support the work. Anything beyond that seems like fair game for managers forced to make tough budget choices.
But just for a minute, consider the importance of technician training in keeping up with maintenance needs. Technicians with outdated skills will be hard-pressed to properly carry out effective maintenance and engineering duties. Only those familiar with new-generation technologies have any chance of being able to efficiently test, inspect, maintain, and operate them.
Managers have several sources of free training. Most manufacturers include training with the purchase of a new product or system. Another type of free training — cross-training — might be the best friend a manager has. It lifts the department's overall skill level and offers a hedge against staffing cuts. Whatever the source or cost, the goal is training that results in more efficient, cost-effective maintenance.
2. Factors to Consider When Choosing a Boiler and Water Heating Training Program
Just as there is a range of training formats available for boilers and water heaters, managers have options when it comes to program providers. Determining the most suitable provider for the facility depends on the manager's goals. For example, a number of different providers, such as those who conduct seminars or have online programs, can handle refresher training on the basics of boiler and water heater operations.
More specific training, such as would be required to learn the details of operating and maintaining an advanced boiler-control system, is often best handled by training representatives from the manufacturer.
Managers can start the selection process by getting a list of references from the prospective vendor or provider and talking with people who actually went through the training to better understand their experiences.
For each program being evaluated, managers must consider a number of factors. If the program is held at a remote location, what are the travel costs? Can people attend different sessions, or will all operators and maintenance personnel have to attend the same sessions? How often does the provider offer the program?
If the program is to be held in the facility, what does it cost to bring in the trainers? Does the facility have the necessary space and equipment? Can managers honestly expect operators and maintenance personnel to attend the sessions without interruption or being called away for an emergency?