Successful Implementations in Lean
Lampin Corp: One Man Makes a Difference
We welcome people who accept responsibility
and believe in customer service and quality
(Sign at the entrance to Lampin Corporation.)
Lampin Corporation is not your typical company and Khanh Bui is not your typical employee. Taking a proactive approach, focusing on goals, investing in education, and working hard to stand out from the rest are characteristics shared by both the company and the man and very likely why this story is about success.
In March of 2007, business at Lampin was thriving. The precision machine shop in Uxbridge, Massachusetts, was looking for a machine operator and as everyone in the industry knows - it is no easy task to find one. Khanh Bui had heard good things about Lampin from a company employee and applied for the machine operator position. Khanh is a hard worker but was experiencing burn out from the 80-hour weeks he put in as part owner of a granite countertop business. The idea of learning a new trade and Lampin's 50-hour work week were very attractive to him!
"He had no machine shop experience and wasn't even familiar with the tools, so I wanted our foreman Richard Houle to meet him," said Rick Mongeau, Lampin's President. "We both felt that Khanh had aptitude, motivation, and the will to learn. Those are the things that are really important. We offered him the job without being sure of how we were going to train him and decided to pair him up with a seasoned machinist who could act as a mentor."
However, with the abundance of work the company had, it would be difficult for that machinist to teach and produce simultaneously. There was some concern about how things would work out.
"Within a month the Skyline Technical Fund* happened," said Mongeau. "I attended a meeting and found that they had exactly what we needed." Khanh was provided with basic machine operator and other necessary skills through classes held at the Worcester Technical High School (WTHS), taught by Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MassMEP) and WTHS instructors. He was very happy to attend and went through three successive trainings: Basic Manufacturing Skills (Shop Math, Blueprinting, and Metrology), Introduction to Machine Shop, and G Code for Operators. Then he was able work side by side for on-the-job training under the guidance of Lampin's Scott Stacy, who is knowledgeable and patient.
"Khanh went from someone who didn't even know what a micrometer was to someone who sets up CNC jobs, does first piece inspections, and is completely responsible for the quality of his work," said Mongeau. "Scott will check the first piece from a job for Khanh and now Khanh checks Scott's work as well. Lampin is an employee owned company so our employees must be accountable and he is doing a fantastic job."
Lampin also had other employees who participated in the Skyline Technical Fund programs at Worcester Technical High School and received training in Basic AutoCAD Drafting and Welding I. "Some of our employees took CAD classes to improve their skills and a few learned how to weld because they thought it would be helpful for them to have that knowledge around the shop," said Mongeau.
As an incentive, Lampin encourages employees to learn new things and advance their education. Not only does the company pay for employee training that is not funded, but after an employee has completed 24 hours of training/education they also receive a nice bonus. Nearly half of Lampin's 22 employees have taken advantage of this wonderful benefit.
Like all machine shops, Lampin has been affected by the dwindling numbers of skilled workers in their industry and has tried to be proactive in initiating change. They are involved with their community through the Blackstone Valley Chamber Educational Foundation and provide grants to member schools. They have hosted plant tours for teachers and guidance faculty to help educate them on the positive aspects of manufacturing careers. They have also become involved with Quinsigamond Community College and the S.T.E.M. Conferences which focus on attracting youth to careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.
For the time being, as the current workforce heads toward retirement, it is crucial to our economy and to manufacturing to make sure there are people coming along to fill their positions. Programs like those made possible through the Skyline Technical Fund are vital to supply training for new hires, improve skills for incumbent workers or to train unemployed or underemployed workers to fill the gaps. Khanh Bui is one of over 530 people from 68 companies who have been able to develop their skills with the assistance of the MassMEP and Worcester Technical High School over the past two years.
"The school [Worcester Technical High School] had very good machines and they helped me learn to do things well." said Bui. "This [Lampin] is a very good company. I like my work and I am happy. Scott is a very good teacher too." He grins and adds, "I am very lucky!"
The folks at Lampin feel the same.
The Lampin Corporation manufacturers high quality precision machined components and also offers various design, engineering, inventory management, and supply system services. They employ 22 people at their facility in Uxbridge, Massachusetts. For more information visit www.lampin.com.
*Skyline Technical Fund Overview
The Skyline Technical Fund is a three year, state funded grant designed to help manufacturers in Central Massachusetts address the education and workforce challenges to sustaining a pipeline of competent workers. Manufacturers need better-trained workers with higher skills in order to remain competitive. Workers need better skills to get into good jobs and to advance their career paths. The goal of this project is to supply employer needs for new hires, improve the skills of incumbent workers, and train under or unemployed persons to fill this gap, thus improving family self-sufficiency and making businesses more productive and competitive. The Central Mass. Institute for Workforce Development is designed to reduce barriers and to connect the dots between potential and incumbent employees, employers, and technical education and training providers, using the resources of Worcester Technical High School. The program implements successful models such as M.O.S.T. (Machine Operator Skills Training) and builds on existing relationships and strengths to deliver basic workforce education and manufacturing training.
For more information about Skyline Technical Fund contact Leslie Parady at the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership 508-831-7020 ext 17.
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