Ramping to Rate: How a leading boat manufacturer is accelerating new hire training

Accelerating a new hire’s ramp to production rate

Given the ongoing shortage of skilled workers and the need for manufacturers to “grow their own”, manufacturers are increasingly investing in their in-house capabilities to swiftly ramp new hires to hit production rate. For one boat manufacturing customer, they’re creatively incorporating trainee performance into their ramp plan. Early results indicate the new tactic is improving both training efficiency and employee engagement.  

Measuring trainee performance drives productivity

For many manufacturers, on-the-job training (OJT) often starts once new hires hit the floor (after onboarding where they learn manufacturing fundamentals, quality, and safety). At this point, they’ve been assigned to a particular line, area, or station, and they’re learning the specific parts, processes, and machines they’ll be working on. 

It’s one thing to learn a job, but it’s another thing entirely to execute the job… safely… to quality… at production rate… over time. Many manufacturers are focused on this specific problem: how do we accelerate the time it takes for a new hire to hit the production rate?

For one boat manufacturing customer, they are focused on implementing a systematic process across roles, departments, and sites that lays out predetermined benchmarks for expected performance over a ramp period. This is intended to assist both the trainees and trainers to understand “what good looks like” week-over-week and to know whether a new hire is on track at that point in time or requires additional performance support.

As an example, in the Upholstery department, a new hire is given a 9-week training plan. 

Since rolling out Covalent in late 2023, the Director of Training shared: "We're already seeing an acceleration in time-to-productivity and increased employee engagement in the training process." The next step is to scale this methodology up to more departments and sites.

When it comes to measuring and managing employee performance to drive productivity, many manufacturers talk the talk but few walk the walk. This particular boat manufacturer devised these simple yet practical in-house processes and partnered with Covalent to digitally organize the end-to-end training plans and then enable the underlying training and evaluation workflows. 

We’re proud to support this customer’s creative yet practical problem-solving.

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