Administrative Process Improvement Award 2



Manufacturing is the backbone of the Company, but without standardized, consistent training for our hourly workforce in North America, safety, quality and employee retention has suffered. Together with global operations and HR leadership, the Corporate Talent Development team set out with a vision: strengthen our front-line employees by making available the right training, for the right employees, at the right time. 

In the first phase of the two-year project, the team evaluated all hourly training at our North American locations and identified gaps and inefficiencies, flagging non-standard training content, inconsistent documentation and a lack of subject matter experts' involvement in the curricula. Second, the team evaluated all 256 different hourly job codes listed in SAP and consolidated the list to 64 core job codes. To determine what an employee in each of those positions should know to effectively perform their job, the team consulted in-house subject matter experts in core processes, engineering, EHS, quality, distribution, continuous improvement, finance, material handling, legal and human resources.

2022.06.22 Values Button

The result was a set of 64 distinct curricula, consisting of specific standard content, delivered by a prescribed method, duration and frequency, all designed to ensure effective, efficient, relevant and compliant training to the thousands of women and men working in hourly positions across three countries and three business units.

"The A. O. Smith Standard Hourly Training process offers delivery flexibility, relevant topics and standard content, delivered by job code," said technical training lead John Whitfield, who led the project team. "Beginning early this year, this process is at work at all sites across North America, and is already proven to support and strengthen our front line by making available the right training, for the right employees, at the right time. 

"We chose this project for its magnitude and potential to strengthen our hourly workforce in countless ways," said chairman, president & CEO Kevin Wheeler. "As a critical piece of an overall strategy of standardization and continuous improvement, this project is serving relevant, consistent and compliant instruction to thousands of employees, over 90 standard courses, assigned by job code and aligned with production requirements and scheduling demands. This comprehensive program promises higher employee satisfaction and retention, improved product quality and clearer avenues of advancement for our hourly employees."

"Winning the Values Recognition Award is a big deal and an honor for me and everyone else on the team," John said. "Personally, I value the trust, guidance and support given by the leadership, those directly involved in the project and our teams in the field. The opportunity to team up with great people that share the common goals of maintaining our Company as a product leader, continually raising the bar as the industry leading innovator and being a good and safe place to work, is totally amazing!"

2022.06.22 Values Recognition ADMIN2Left to Right: Nabaz Kadr, Sheila Blair, Steve Ostler, Michele Blake, Kevin Wheeler, Autum Sullivan, Mary Sue Handel, John Whitfield, Jeff Ralph, Kevin Domack, Sam Carver, Mark Petrarca. Not pictured: Chris Cochran, Cindy Hinds, Ted Karamanos, David Matney, Josh Potts. © 2022 Aaron Johnson for A. O. Smith Corporation.

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