Thursday, July 30, 2009

Dislocated Workers & ToolingU

The Government and Education team has been working with several dislocated worker programs throughout the country. The goal of these programs is to provide workers whose companies have either closed or laid them off with the skills they need to obtain new jobs. In the process, some of these workers have even gained valuable computer skills. Check out this article to learn more about one of these programs.

Director of Business Development

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Junk In, Junk Out

One of my jobs at Tooling U is to clean up the database. We are currently using Salesforce to organize all of our leads and contacts. CRM software plays an important role in our Client Executives’ everyday tasks, and as part of the marketing department it has been useful for planning our overall marketing strategy and campaigns.

There are many reasons why it is important to keep your CRM clean and up to date. As data is entered, it is not always double checked against existing records. Therefore, duplicate accounts need to be merged or deleted. Records also need to be updated frequently, as addresses may change and people frequently change jobs.

The data housed within the CRM helps sales and marketing to analyze data and prospect more effectively. There is no real way to measure marketing effectiveness, but if the lead source is correct for each record, we can determine where our customers are finding out about Tooling U. This helps us determine if we are advertising in the right magazines and websites and can also improve our SEO (search engine optimization) on sites like Google and Yahoo.

This year, we did a lot of research to determine the characteristics of our typical customer in order to prospect more effectively. This process involved quite a bit of database cleaning. Continuously updating and taking the time to put in the correct information can make running a report to find this information simple, instead of requiring months of filtering information.

For marketing purposes, another reason to keep your database clean is to make your direct mailing and campaigns much easier. It is time consuming to ensure every contact’s name and information is correct. When putting together direct mail campaigns, I have noticed names on labels that look like this:
Vincent Shay – Gone
Or like this:
Sean (scene) O’Malley
These are great examples of how records can be up to date and yet still clutter up a database. Vincent’s last name is not Shay-Gone. Vincent Shay happens to have left his company, hence, “gone.” And as for Sean, it is important that our staff does not mispronounce his name, but receiving a piece of mail with “Scene” is also a little offensive. It is important that all employees are writing this type of information in the notes or archiving old employees. The most important lesson? Since you can never guarantee correct names, always double check your address labels before you mail them.

For a database to stay continuously updated, it has to be an overall company goal. Training, making crucial fields required, incentives, and communicating the importance of why your database needs to stay updated can be helpful in accomplishing this goal.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Informal Learning

We recently returned from the ASTD in Washington DC. One of the many popular topics with the presenters and exhibitors was around the idea of Informal Learning. The statistic used was “70 Percent of learning within an organization is informal or social learning.”

I would tend to agree that this statistic would be accurate in manufacturing today. Whether it is time spent debugging a CNC program, discussing a weld, deciding on the best way to fix a machine or discussing an employee issue, all of these events are training events.

If 70 Percent of all training occurring is informal, how do you capture this training? Track the training? Budget for this training? Measure the training? With all of the new and emerging social media like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, how do you keep up with it?

Since social media like this is new to all industries, I doubt that any industry—particularly the manufacturing industry—has an answer as to how to capture informal training and learning that occurs in the workplace. But, it certainly has gotten -ideas flowing at ToolingU. Stay tuned for some exciting new products, sites, and features being added for students, administrators and manufacturing community to address the Informal Learning occurring in manufacturing today.

VP Operations

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

On the Road Again: Skills USA National Leadership & Skills Conference

Tooling U’s Cindy Bernosky and Amy Solis attended the Skills USA National Leadership & Skills Conference in Kansas City June 21-June 26th. Students that have won their regional contests advance to the state competitions and students that win at the state level advance to the National contests. The National Leadership & Skills Conference showcases contests in 91 different disciplines ranging from Advanced Manufacturing to Cosmetology. The students compete with a written test, hands-on skills, and then a leadership competition. Advanced manufacturing was well represented with competitions including CNC Milling, CNC Turning, Precision Machining, Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation and Welding.

“There is sometimes a negative perception of career and technical education. If those people could have seen the talent, commitment and professionalism of these students, they would be blown away. These students are training for highly skilled occupations that are vital for the future of the American economy,” said Rich Stape of Mahoning Valley Career & Technology Center. Rich is not only active in the Skills USA program at a regional, state, and national level, but is also a longtime Tooling U customer.

We would like to send our congratulations to all of the students that competed at the national level, but especially to student Chris Harkless from Miami Valley Career & Technology Center for his silver medal in the Precision Machining Technology competition.

Toni Neary
Government & Education

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wedding Bells!

Wedding bells rang on Friday, July 3rd as Cindy Bernosky of the Government and Education team married her handsome groom James May. On behalf of the entire ToolingU team, I would like to send out a big CONGRATULATIONS to Cindy & Jamie as they start their new life together. The bride was stunning in a beautiful beaded gown and the groom looked dashing in his tuxedo. The couple celebrated and danced into the night with friends and family from throughout the U.S. right here in beautiful Cleveland, Ohio.

Jeremy Sobeck, of the ToolingU Content team, was the best man for the festivities and did not disappoint with his sentimental, yet humorous toast. Stunning bride, handsome groom, and witty best man were not to be outdone by the four-tier chocolate on chocolate wedding cake covered with chocolate-covered strawberries. It was not only a fantastic site, but the cause for not one, but two pieces of cake for me. The newlyweds will be honeymooning in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

We would like to congratulate Mr. & Mrs. May and wish them a lifetime of happiness!

Government & Education

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Ongoing Search for a Good Restaurant: Mexico

Last week, I made my first trip to Monterrey, Mexico, and I spent the week with Carlos Sarmiento, our Client Executive for this territory. This trip was a real eye opener for me in many ways, both for business and social understanding.

I never realized the number of large U.S. manufacturing operations that are located in Monterrey. Carlos will have his hands full in this region but so far he is doing a fantastic job getting us in front of some of the premier manufacturing companies. During our time in Monterrey, we met with John Deere, Lennox, Nemak, GE Energy, and MD Helicopter, just to name a few. I was worried about the language barrier, since as Carlos will tell you, my Spanish is not the best. Luckily, all but one meeting was conducted in English. For the one exception, let me tell you, I had no clue what was being said. Carlos afterwards did tell me that the meeting went well, but for all I know, they could have been discussing sports or the weather.

After the long days of visiting companies and knocking on many doors, Carlos was excited to show me what Mexico was all about. I have to say this was the first time I was not the one deciding where we were going to eat that night. I was leaving this up to the resident expert of Mexican culture and food. During our first night, Carlos took me to a fancy restaurant named San Carlos, where their specialty was lamb. Of course, the menu was in Spanish, so Carlos had to translate and I decided to order the rack of lamb. I was not expecting what came out. There was just the meat on a plate. This was followed by tortilla shells along with a bowl of homemade salsa. The meal was fantastic and was the first of many great restaurants where everything was served with tortilla shells and eaten with your hands. One of my favorites was a busy “fast food” place named El Pollo Loco, or the Crazy Chicken. Here again they just provided a whole chicken on a plate and brought out tortilla shells with a few types of salsas. No forks… just eat with your hands. Fantastic.

In Monterrey, MX I learned that both the training and food is “hands-on”. I truly feel that our online training will complement the on-the-job training as it does here in the states.

James Vickers
Director Of Sales

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Staffing Update

Tooling U is glad to welcome Amy Solis to the team. Amy joins the Government and Education Group to aid them in the research and prospecting of new government programs, technical schools, and colleges. Amy is currently training for a triathlon, so when you get a second, wish her luck!

Bryan Knaack
Director of Business Development