The Future of CNC Manufacturing Education – CNC Manufacturing, Education Reform & Change Management News.

How to be prepared for the best jobs?

Posted by Bert Maes on December 11, 2009

The Only Sustainable Competitive Advantage in Manufacturing is LEARNING.

Cayce Washington comes from a modest background: After working in a local grocery store for several years, Washington took a job in a machine shop at age 21 and loved the work. At age 24, he advanced into the shop foreman position, and one year later, in 1997, through owner financing, purchased the company where he worked.

Now the shop is known as Valley Tool Inc., with Washington serving as president and a working owner. To his surprise, the “new” shop began turning a profit as soon as its first three months of operation, and has been doing so ever since – growing from a six-man operation to its current fifty-plus employees.

Valley Tool manufactures custom tooling (repair and part replacement), custom fixturing (both for gauging and workholding) and custom gauges for general manufacturing, dies and form tools. Its major markets include aerospace, medical, oil and gas, firearms, automotive, commercial heating and cooling and heavy equipment.

“In my shops where jobs are constantly changing and high product quality is mandatory for each one, my machinists are trained not only to set up and run jobs, but also to program them

Getting machinists to this level takes a lot of in-house training and sending people to SCHOOL, according to Washington. And, he added that it requires highly intelligent people to start with. The shop hires all types of workers, but usually they can determine within a short time which ones will or will not be able to handle the assignments.

We need machinists who can go from one type of machine to the next and understand the programming parameters of each machine. So we also do a great deal of cross-training,” Washington said.

“It’s good to be in the country,” said Washington. “Our rural setting and work atmosphere contribute to a continuity between a core group of people. We treat them right, pay a fair wage, and respond to their needs. They, in turn, are expected to be here every day, on time, and to do their jobs. But, most importantly, we do put families first, and our employees don’t take advantage of that.

Full article: Charles Bates ::


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