Saturday, July 4, 2015

Developing Effective Welding Manpower: Learn from a Successful Model (Part 2)

How to push up an effective welding workforce that excellently achieves production goals and specifications and becomes dedicated to the company? Let’s take lessons from a successful model and get the satisfying answer!

It will be a success if you manage to bring talents into the fold. And it will be a hit if you can develop an effective welding manpower. You can avail tips generously given by companies successful in building a talented welding team that work out their heart. Among them is Shapiro & Duncan Inc. – the third generation mechanical contractor with services in the mid Atlantic region. Its current manpower of 40 workers includes pipe cutters and fitters, plumbers, warehousing workers, truck drivers, and 6 pipe welders. 3 of them are the experienced with at least 4-year dedication to the company. The other 3 are newcomers with on the job for at most 90 days. Until 6 months ago, this company ran a three-welder shift, but as a matter of a work surge, it added another three-welder shift.

Let’s see how Shapiro & Duncan Inc. developed its welding team

2. Cement relationships to find out talents

Foster connections to detect talents!
For successful effort of manpower recruitment, the company starts with hiring ads in local newspapers, trade magazines and on its website. Plus, it leverages community relationship. For instance, it develops connections with local welding schools, and such association as Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). When ABC kicked off a welding and pipe-fitting apprenticeship, Shapiro & Duncan got involved. Its relationships also extend to government agencies like the D.C Department of Employment Services. Those relationships allows it to quickly and effectively bring talents into the fold.

The main difference between the welder recruitment process and processes for other trades is that welders are required to overcome the hands-on testing. The novice welders are offered with a week on the job before Shapiro & Duncan tests them. For those with past welding experience, the company may test them just right away. Its hiring process is proved effective. On the in-house GMAW test, its candidates have to weld a joint on the Schedule 80 pipe to ASME’s B31.1 power piping code. The weld is required to be perfect without pits or cracks. Following one week of training, the pass rate is 90%.

Here technical training takes place in a controlled environment for absorbing essentials of welding before those skills have to be used under more demanding conditions in the field. That basic learning involves welding 2 pipe sections together on a workbench with all the equipment and tools in place; welding pipe sections with 9 feet off the ground and in a tight space. Shapiro & Duncan gives their new hires the chance to get it just right in the fabrication shop before sending them out in the field.

It can be seen that welding workers are now in hot demand, especially, those with experience and skills. Amid skill shortages, many employers refuse to give a pay rise. This is making it harder to attract and retain talents. One of effective response to this problem is to foster relationships with related agencies and associations, such as training centers, staffing agencies. By so doing, employees can look for right persons, even if they are at entry level. Those newbies with motivation and passion will create many values to the company if the employers offer proper training and orientation. What they have is youthful energy, a strong burning desire to conquer challenges and chase their career. What they lack is experience and skill. So it is partly up to employers who can completely set their heart on fire, give them bright outlook and appropriate coaching.

See also:
Developing Effective Welding Manpower: Learn from a Successful Model (Part 1)
Developing Effective Welding Manpower: Learn from a Successful Model (Part 3)


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