FLEXO: Were employees permitted to go through training on company time and on company computers?
Hudachek: The company maintained a flexible training environment which varied from facility to facility. Some employees opted to train on their own time at home for maximum flexibility. Others were paid if they trained either at an off-site location or at their facility during regular work hours.
FLEXO: Throughout the training, did employees provide any feedback?
Hudachek: Yes, many employees commented on the interesting history of flexography. They also expressed interest in learning about other types of flexo printing processes and applications not conducted at their local facility.
FLEXO: Is employee confidence at a higher level, post-certification?
Hudachek: Yes, individual employee confidence is higher and Coveris’ broader learning environment is strengthened, as a result. While many employees may not have experienced anything like FIRST’s online self-paced learning format, they easily adapted to it after the first module. As they progressed through each level, FIRST content soon became the subject of many breakroom conversations, as employees began to expand their industry knowledge and quiz each other. Additionally, Coveris leadership reinforced its visible commitment to support a learning culture by showcasing individual employee achievements during global and local town hall meetings. Recognition bonuses were also awarded at each course level, plus plans are in the works to frame and display the certificates earned by employees.
FLEXO: How are Coveris’ various FIRST Individual Certifications integrated into promotion materials and conveyed to clients?
Hudachek: More internal exposure to this significant accomplishment will serve marketing and sales’ ability to capitalize and leverage our offerings to existing and new customers.
FLEXO: What would you say to a company considering any FIRST Individual Certifications?
Hudachek: It’s an excellent training opportunity to introduce new employees to the flexo industry, as well as provide experienced employees valuable insight on improvement opportunities within their own organization. In fact, the Battle Creek facility has already decided to include FIRST Certification as a required component of its new internal industrial technician apprenticeship program.
FLEXO: Originally, how did you feel about FIRST Prepress Operator Certification?
Johnny Sammons, graphics manager: I was actually very excited about it, because the more you educate the people the better the product that will come off the presses. It was very systematic and laid out well. People are now more confident in their ability to make decisions.
FLEXO: Did the training’s material cover things you hadn’t seen before, or was it refreshing what you already knew?
Sammons: I was familiar with the material, but the training actually went into greater detail on the technical side. A lot of things I knew a little bit about, but not to the level of detail presented.
FLEXO: What task or responsibility have you changed the way you do the most since completing the certification?
Sammons: Utilizing a systematic approach to quality and problem solving.
FLEXO: What’s different about how you build graphic files since achieving FIRST Prepress Operator Certification?
Sammons: It gives you a better understanding of contaminants and what to eliminate when building your graphic files. We can make recommendations to the design house to improve the quality of their design before we receive it.
FLEXO: How has working with customers during the proofing phase changed?
Sammons: We can talk more intelligently about the approval process and are able to speak more confidently with the customer. We can better communicate openly with our customers on the steps involved. In some cases, they leave it up to us to make informed decisions for them.
FLEXO: What would you say about FIRST Prepress Operator Certification to someone in your position at another company?
Sammons: I would say everyone in my position needs to go through this certification. It provides a very detailed understanding of the entire process, from press to final print production.