MFN Trainer Column
in Vol. 6 - January Issue - Year 2005
PICKING UP SPEED
Author Giovanni Gregorat
The MFN Trainer Column
This column is a regular feature and will be written by one of our MFN trainers. Readers are invited to send comments or questions to email@example.com. For more information about the trainers, see www.mfn.li link workshops.
by Giovanni Gregorat, Official MFN Trainer and Sales Manager, Pometon S.p.A.
There are many conflicting signals concerning the consistency and strength of recovery in the world economy, provided that there is some sort of recovery in the first place. Every week provides a deluge of charts and numbers, all pointing to everything and its contrary: unemployment figures, consumer confidence, business productivity, GNP and corporate balance sheets, just to name a few. How strange that the more information we have, the less we seem to know about which way we’re going.
And how is it going in the world of shot peening? How are companies adapting to changing market conditions? Is business finally picking up in a strong and consistent manner for everyone or are there still too many false starts?
To attempt an answer to this question, I’ve been taking a closer look at the participants at our MFN shot peening workshops or, I should say, at the type of participant at these events. What are their expectations? What do they tell us about the companies behind them? Is it possible to learn something more about the health of industries involved in shot peening?
Like any other economic activity, shot peening cannot be isolated from other types of industrial processes with which it is closely linked. The aerospace, automotive, construction equipment and energy transmission industries are the most representative among those performing some type of shot peening. For many of them, lower sales and profits, not to mention outright losses, have led to restructuring and downsizing, often with painful consequences for employment and salary levels. At the same time, companies expect employees to become more proficient on the job and to have a better understanding of the complete production process, not only that related to the individual’s department. This produces a more flexible workforce which can be more easily reassigned to different departments. The performance of each employee is more highly scrutinized and individuals are under greater pressure.
How do companies and employees adapt to this situation and achieve their objectives? On the one hand, companies want their employees to receive proper training, but often lack the means to provide it in house, either because there is no one with an overall view of the production process or simply because they cannot afford to divert more experienced workers away from their main responsibilities in order to train younger colleagues. Perhaps for this reason we’ve noticed that more and more of our workshop participants are relatively young and that many of them come from small or medium-sized companies, not only from large or multinational corporations. Budget restrictions notwithstanding, smaller companies are more willing to pay for a workshop which provides their employees with a well-balanced and complete program in a short timeframe.
On the other hand, participants have become more attentive and more demanding. For many of them, taking part in a workshop is no longer a pleasant break away from the job, but has become one of the few opportunities to acquire the training necessary to achieve some degree of job security and to prove their worth. Therefore the questions which are asked during workshops have become more numerous and more detailed.
And how is our MFN trainer team responding to the challenge? We have been gradually increasing the number of trainers in order to include specialists in more and more technical aspects and applications related to peening and surface treatment. All presentations are being revised and updated on the basis of the latest technical information available. Our well-established annual workshop in Asia was joined in May 2004 by our first annual European workshop, which was held in Coventry, England and which was an immediate success. As you will read elsewhere in this issue, our next workshop in Düsseldorf will offer simultaneous translations into German for those German-speaking guests who may prefer to follow the courses in their own language rather than in English, which remains the working language of all our workshops.
We will continue to do our best to help companies be prepared and make the most of a full and convincing upturn in the world economy, when it finally comes!
Author: Giovanni Gregorat