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FLEXO Magazine : June 2012
Robinette employees participate in a FIRST program in the company’s dedicated training room. on-the-job-training is important, but a proven success strategy is to grow past their own self-education, and take ownership of the process. “ Our associates are more technically sound and understand the need to follow the processes in order to get the desired results. We have seen marked improvement in the consistency and repeatability of our process print orders. ” Said Preston Bryant, vice president of manufacturing, Plastic Packaging Inc. Those who bear the FIRST Operator Certification title are proud of their accomplishment, and rightly so. It’s no easy feat. A certification involves commitment and dedication, both at the management and employee level. The payoff is well worth it, according to FTA education director, Joe Tuccitto, who sums it up like this: “On average, a clean implementation of FIRST can potentially equal a 30 percent increase in pro- ductivity and savings in waste-reduction. Multiply that by the number of certified staff a company employs, and the savings are almost incalculable.” NUTS & BOLTS The program offers three tracks: Press Operator, Prepress Operator, and Implementation Specialist. The fourth track, the FIRST Company Certification, added last year, will be discussed further down in this article. Each track consists of three levels. Professionals who undergo the training must suc- cessfully pass the examination given at the end of each level in order to move forward to the next. The “students” receive their official FIRST Operator certification once they have passed the Level III examination. The training is administered online via the TEST Virtual Campus. “E -learning” eliminates an organization’s need to send staff away for training, or endure lost production time on the shop floor or back in the office. Each module leverages proven e-learning technology and is self-paced, meaning the courses can be taken whenever time allows, provided they are completed within the specified six-week or 12-week time period. Level I is six-weeks long while Levels II and III each take 12-weeks to complete. This type of online learning is ideal in that it offers students the ability to quickly and easily pick up where they left off, or go directly to specific sections for review. With its message boards, the campus encourages continuous flow of dialog and ideas among the users. “In terms of delivering FIRST training, in large scale, to our entire workflow, online training is the only practical solution. We can’t shut down production or send everyone away to be trained this intensely. This program considers the complete package, from the initial graphics in prepress to final produc- tion. FTA has got a winner on its hands in virtual training,” said John Crammer, general manager, Best Label, Inc. COmpaNy KUdOS Last year, FTA launched its FIRST Company Certification program. While the FIRST Operator Certification program is designed for individuals, the purpose of the company certification is to recognize flexographic printing companies that are applying FIRST methodology and have attained compliance with the specifications and tolerances related to communication and implementation, design, prepress and press as detailed in the most current FIRST document. Said Tuccitto, “Many companies look to individ- www.flexography.org june 2012 FLEXO 29