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Date Posted: 9/29/2014

The Technology of Onboarding New Manufacturing Workers

By Thomas R. Cutler
Unlike service sector jobs, where training and skillsets can often be mastered in a day, perhaps a week, stepping into a new manufacturing job can be nerve-racking. One of the most challenging tasks for new industrial workers (novices) is how to best work with senior, experienced, skilled, and knowledgeable colleagues. The path toward developing and maintaining positive working relationships is essential in the manufacturing sector because safety is at risk, quality products are at stake, and productivity is essential with pervasively thinning margins. It is important for manufacturing new hires to be armed with continuous messaging, tips, suggestions (from the plant floor) to acquire proficiency, competency, and collegial relationships to support best-practices and follow SOPs (standard operating procedures.)

Missives from on-high (the C-Suite) will not touch a second shift factory plant floor worker. Manufacturing leaders must encourage all workers (safety, quality, maintenance, production, and shipping) to become part of the corporate culture, listen and share ideas. According to Louise Dickmeyer, President of PDP Solutions, ( based in Mankato, Minnesota, “Only through this consistent employee communication can manufacturers achieve full employee engagement. We utilize sophisticated technologies including plant floor kiosks, offering optimism, fostering an interest in co-workers, and genuine employee engagement.”

In an era when manufacturing apprenticeships have all but disappeared, industrial leaders must increasingly rely on the skills, knowledge, and experience of season employees and internal communication. Uniquely poised to become the worldwide leader in manufacturing professional development, industrial performance improvement, leadership communication training, and employee engagement, Dickmeyer shared, “When manufacturing workers are engaged employees they produce quality products causing a direct impact on manufacturers bottom line. Increased employee engagement can be evaluated by the attention paid to customers, product quality, and colleagues. Engaged employees are healthier, take fewer sick days, arrive for work on time more often, spend less time looking at the clock, and focus more on work excellence.”

People Driven Performance (PDP) was founded by Denny Dotson, who served as CEO of the Dotson Company, a foundry in Mankato, Minnesota for thirty five years. Dotson’s interest in frontline engagement grew out of observations and discussions he had over the years with Dotson Company manufacturing workers about what they needed to do their best work.

This sharing led Dotson to test a variety of processes and technologies to open channels of communication and provide meaningful information to employees on the production floor. After extensive analysis and in-house program development, Dotson selected a suite of best-practice and most effective approaches to become the first offerings of PDP, founded in 2005.

No other firm has the manufacturing and industrial expertise and experience combined with patented employee engagement technology. Additional patents pending create a unique place in the market to deliver innovative and disciplined internal communications solutions unlocking the potential of industrial organizations by building communities of highly engaged employees. Dickmeyer insists that she and her team are creating a world where people drive performance. “Manufacturers are hungry to move beyond mechanical automation processes…the next automation process manufacturers are aggressively seeking is a solution for vastly improved internal communications.” This innovative approach and interactive design deliver an employee-centric engagement system within a manufacturing organization. The benefit of improved productivity translates to a rapid ROI (return on investment) and increased profitability.


Author Contact:
Thomas R. Cutler
TR Cutler, Inc.

About Author
Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., ( Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 5000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler authors more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector. Cutler is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide and can be contacted at and can be followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler.


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