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Friday, April 1, 2011


We are launching the first class at Ebsco U on Monday and I am very excited!
Ebsco U is going to be a great benefit to our team at Ebsco.
The original intent of Ebsco U was a structured training program for all new employee.  It was to consist of four units, delivered in each quarter of the new employee's first year.  The program was to go beyond their specific job training, presenting them with information on all other departments, the machinery, the process and the science of springs. As we began the project we realized that our existing employees could benefit from this also.  We also decided to add H.R. content to each session.
Looking at content and topics we realized that this was something that could progress beyond an employee's first year.  We could develop this program as continuing education with unlimited topics.
Ebsco has always been good at training our staff at their jobs, you can see that in the quality and difficulty of the springs we produce.  Ebsco U will go beyond that.  This additional training, beyond the scope of their daily jobs will allow them to understand Ebsco better as a company.  This understanding will lead to greater team work and appreciation for the company.  It will also make them better at their jobs.  A more in depth understanding of all the process' will allow them to reach new levels in their abilities.
So Yes, I'm excited. 
I will presenting the concept of Ebsco U and then I will attend the classes my self.  We had input from some of our sharpest people on this program and I'm excited about what I can learn too.  Paul Lord, our Quality Manager will do the presentation on the process and machinery. He has a reputation as a spring savant.  He's has forgotten more than most people in the industry knows. What an opportunity to learn from him.  Liz Jeter our CFO and VP of Human Resources will present the HR portion.  She has twenty years of experience and again I'm excited about what I can learn.  Liz has developed a completely new employee evaluation process focused on goal setting.  We are just rolling this out and she is using this opportunity to explain it in more detail to everyone in our first unit. 
Unit one of Ebsco U will have been presented to everyone in the company by the end of April. We have already begun on session two and plans for three and four. I'm sure we will revise, edit and improve these units as we go but we are committed to delivering them to all current employees and making them part of the training of all new employees to come.   
Our first unit will focus on departments, machinery, tools, types of springs and the evaluation process.  Many of these topics came from my experience starting at Ebsco.  In my initial weeks with the company I walked through the shop and was constantly asking what this or that machine did and how it worked.  Spring making is very complex and we have several pieces of equipment.  It was intimidating not understanding what they actually did, how they worked and why that mattered in the production of the spring. The team was very patient with me and explained everything but wouldn't it be great to make that part of everyones training.  Some employees stay in the same department they were hired in and may not be as forward as myself asking those same questions.  Some are shy and or self conscience about asking.  I think it will be surprising how many do not know what all of the machinery in other departments do. Learning what other departments do, in greater detail will help us build a stronger team through appreciation of others skills and talents.  It will also allow us all to make better springs as we understand the entire process.
Looking at the concept of Ebsco U, I am reminded of the book "Good to Great" by Jim Collins. Maybe Ebsco U will be a part of what takes us to the next step.  We already make great springs but everything can improve.  Continual improvement is the life blood of any business, especially manufacturing.  There are allot of ways of approaching this.  I want our efforts to focus on our employees.  New machines and process' are great and must be a part but none of it matters without great employees.  We have them at Ebsco.  I want to focus my energy on making Ebsco a better place for them.

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