Workforce training is vital to the door and window industry, not only for professional development but also to increase productivity throughout the supply chain. And just as there are all kinds of management styles, there are also many approaches to training.

For example, many companies are designating employees whose only job is to train others. DWM blogger Jim Plavecsky noted the trend in 2014.

“Many of the window manufacturers I am visiting have hired or are in the process of designating someone as a full-time trainer,” he wrote at the time. “This is obviously someone who intimately knows all of the critical procedures and job functions performed at various stages in the door or window manufacturing operation, and this person must have extremely good people skills.”

In December 2016, Weather Shield put long-time executive Dave Koester into the newly created position of corporate training manager. Koester will lead the company’s sales training initiatives and develop a comprehensive sales training program for employees and dealers.

“This role is crucial to Weather Shield’s long-term business strategy and Dave will help create meaningful value by deepening sales and product knowledge of our employees and dealer partners,” said Chris Schield, Weather Shield’s vice president of marketing.

Other companies create training programs for those in the design-build segment who use their products.

For example, in 2016, Jeld-Wen launched Jeld-Wen University, the first of three training programs for builders, remodelers, architects and dealers.

“Given the current market conditions, we saw a need to provide our partners with the tools and know-how necessary to select and install windows and doors,” said Jim Parello, vice president of marketing for Jeld-Wen. “Jeld-Wen University’s three-pronged approach to training speaks to the company’s commitment to delivering a premier customer experience.”

Other businesses hire outside firms to come in and take over training for an extended period of time.

One of those companies is National Vinyl, a door and window firm based in Massachusetts that recently completed a comprehensive program run by ManageAssist, a corporate training firm that says it offers a lower-cost alternative in-house training departments.

The program, which was partially funded by a state grant, covered detailed scheduling and planning, inventory management and value-based customer service.

“With the training we received from ManageAssist, we can implement better cost controls on inventory, minimizing stock-outs and improving turns,” said Scott Channell, National Vinyl’s general manager. “Production planning and scheduling gave us a better understanding of our internal processes and how each process affects the next. With this information, we were able to improve how orders move from the customer to the production floor, improving through-put and efficiency. Value Based Customer Service has given all of our personnel a better understanding of how to handle different situations, whether it be with internal or external customers. This helps provide a better environment for overall success of both the business and those involved.”

Because of the training, Channell said National Vinyl’s customers will benefit from improved lead times, on-time deliveries, reduced back-orders and overall better customer service.

“These all lead to better cash flow by allowing our customers to finish projects on time or even quicker,” he said.

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  1. FeneVision University.

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