Technifab Tackles Traditional Supervisory Growing Pains by Improving Productivity and Professionalism While Reducing COGS

welding a tank

Highlights: Technifab Products, Inc.

Need

  • Formal management development program to help support company growth.
  • Supervisors who could manage “buddies.”
  • Reduction in unproductive time—too many long breaks, water cooler conversations, and non-productive interactions.
  • Supervisor accountability for addressing problems.
  • Create a culture of improvement and professionalism.

Implementation

  • Audience – Current and future supervisors.
  • Curriculum The Leadership Journey™
  • Delivery – Group sessions, lunch-and-learns every two weeks.
  • Facilitation – Human resources and operations leaders.
  • Application – Personal action plans applied before each group session.
  • Follow-up – Supervisors shared their experiences applying skills during the first 10 minutes of group sessions.

Results

  • Improved productivity.
  • Reduction in wages as a percentage of sales.
  • Improved professionalism.
  • Unproductive activities nearly eliminated.
  • Formal management development program in place.
  • Demonstrated application of new management skills.

The Company

Tackling Traditional Supervisory Growing Pains

Even the largest companies start small. As small companies, they don’t have the time to develop formal management practices and often manage in a very hands-off manner. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that—to a degree.

But at a certain stage in every company’s growth, as supervisors are promoted up through the ranks and employee numbers grow, problems tend to emerge and more formal management practices are needed.

That’s the situation that Technifab Products was facing. They knew it was time for a change.

Growing in a Unique Niche While Designing, Manufacturing, and Installing Cryogenic Equipment

Technifab operates in a unique niche: designing, manufacturing, and installing cryogenic equipment for liquid nitrogen, helium, and other gases.

Its products include vacuum jacketed piping, liquid nitrogen injectors, cryogenic phase separators, cryogenic liquid transfer hoses, valves, and dewars made to the highest standards in its ASME certified shop.

It’s work that requires attention to detail, a commitment to quality, and a focus on the bottom line.

The Challenge

Mastering the Basics of Effective Leadership

With fewer than 100 employees, Technifab was still big enough to be experiencing some all-too-common employee management issues. Employees were spending too much time on breaks. There were too many water cooler conversations and non-productive interactions. Petty conflicts and difficulty resolving problems were persistent stumbling blocks.

In fact, the challenges were likely heightened because of the growing pains employees faced when moving from a coworker relationship to managing former coworkers. It was a transition that wasn’t going well.

It was time for a change.

Technifab realized that it couldn’t hold supervisors accountable for addressing problems and issues they had no background, experience, or training in to help them manage effectively. The company wanted to institute and nurture a culture of improvement and professionalism.

They knew where they wanted to go. They just didn’t know how to get there.

Then, the president of the company read about The Leadership Journey. The timing was right, and The Leadership Journey was perfectly poised to help Technifab lay the foundation for leadership success.


“Supervisors are more comfortable coaching and managing their employees.”

Laura Drake, Human Resources Manager, Technifab Products, Inc.

The Leadership Journey™

Learning Practical How-to Supervisory Skills

Technifab was interested in laying the groundwork for supervisors—and future supervisors—to hone their management skills. But they needed a solution to help them do that efficiently and effectively.

While there were plenty of other leadership training options available, what The Leadership Journey had to offer really resonated with the company.

  • Professionally prepared training videos offering brief and focused (about 12 minutes) management advice from leadership experts.
  • Support materials for both facilitators and participants.
  • A turnkey approach for both group and individual learning.
  • The ability to offer self-paced or group training sessions of only 30, 60, or 90 minutes.
  • A focus on 10 practical core competencies that offered basic interpersonal skills advice, not theory.
  • The ability to customize the program to meet Technifab and its staff members’ unique needs.

The training model—short bursts over time to help supervisors and managers learn and apply practical skills—was exactly what Technifab needed. It was, they felt, “the perfect answer” to the challenge they were facing.

worker clamping assembly

Leadership is a shared experience, and so is The Leadership Journey. Participants met every two weeks over a lunch-and-learn to go through course materials, discuss new topics, and follow up on their own personal application of the course’s how-to’s on the job.

Facilitation started with the president, then rotated between the operations and HR managers who took turns leading the group.

Following the first session, each subsequent session began with two or three participants sharing their experiences of putting what they’d learned during the previous session into practice. Everyone was called on to share equally.

After sharing, the group moved into the next section of the material, using discussion guides and post-questions to spur conversation.

Technifab’s senior leaders led the training sessions. This provided:

  • an opportunity for ongoing support and reinforcement of practices consistent with Technifab’s desired culture, and
  • on-the-spot feedback about best practices and opportunities for improvement.

The opportunity to learn practical how-to leadership skills from experts featured in the short videos, combined with opportunities for interaction with colleagues, created a shared experience and commonly understood expectations.

The Results

A Boost in Productivity with a Direct Impact on the Bottom Line

Technifab quickly achieved real results from the application of their training through The Leadership Journey.

After about six months, small improvements could readily be seen: Less idle time spent by employees wandering around or engaged in non-productive activities. Break times were being effectively managed.

These improvements had a direct impact on the bottom line.

Technifab measures productivity through “wages as a percentage of sales.” It’s a number that had been on the rise but is now steadily decreasing since they started using The Leadership Journey.

As newly promoted supervisors and leaders—as well as those with leadership potential—continue to go through the program, they expect to see a continued decline in this important metric.


“We are incredibly happy with The Leadership Journey. Profitability is up.”

Steve Short, President, Technifab Products, Inc.

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