Do you know a lot of existing trainings dedicated to panel builders?
Heard about a “panel builder university” somewhere worldwide?
I don’t !!
Read below the point of view and experience of Denis LAUDREN, who has been involved in panel building for many years, and who develops and animates today some training courses dedicated to panel builders.
DAN: ” so Denis LAUDREN, please tell us about your experience around training for panel builders ”
” I’ve been working around panel building activity for more than 20 years, as manager of this type of activity, or as creator and animator of training sessions recently.
It is a very exciting job, but also very complex and generating some risks. Every customer is specific, and every request is different. Each project is for us a kind of adventure, a specific case.
Panel building activity is also rich and exciting due to the diversity of knowledge & competences it is necessary to master if you want to be « efficient », and thus profitable:
– Understand properly what the customer needs
– Prepare a technical & commercial offer in line with customer needs
– Negotiate the contract terms
– Design & build projects in line with customer requirements and with your objectives (margin …)
Furthermore, competences and knowledge required are constantly evolving:
– Design offices are more and more losing their expertise to advise on LV system / switchboard design, so panel builders (and/or contractors) have to help the end users or design offices to define their switchboards.
– New customer values are emerging (like energy efficiency …), panel builders should be able to push and propose solutions to match these expectations. Adaptation of panel builders to this world in permanent mutation can only be done through regular and pro-active training of the people to be sure they have the right skills to match the new challenges.
But who should be trained? And on which subjects?
Though training is probably the most profitable investment a company can do, you cannot afford to spend all the time of your resources on training, as daily business tasks need to be done.
So, in order to establish a well balanced training program, it’s better to first do what I call a “quality diagnostic” of your company.
It will highlight your strong points, and also the ones where improvement could be done.
I developed such a “diagnostic tool”, in 2007, which I use at the beginning of a training I developed at that time for Schneider Electric: it makes it possible for each participant to visualise where they are today and what are their main improvement routes. This tool is looking at the different competence areas of a panel builder:
– Quality system
– Request for tender / customer relationship
– Technical and commercial offer
– order registration
– Technical studies / design
– Quality inspection
– Project management
This type of diagnosis is obviously one of the possible sources for you to define your training plan priorities.
At the same time, to my experience, existing training offers dedicated to panel building skills & activities are very “rare” on the market:
the ”traditional” educational system, in most countries, is pretty well adapted to prepare on technical competencies needed for the job (electro-technical knowledge, assembly, wiring …), but does not prepare properly skilled people on 2 essential required competences:
– Management of tendering, to win orders
– Management of projects, to ensure customer satisfaction and profitability
In France, several training institutes, like Cegos and Demos, propose training modules dedicated to this type of needs: though they are not specifically targeted at panel building activity, they can be, from my experience in animating such sessions, a perfect basis to train your people on project management skills.
More specific training modules, dedicated to panel builders, have sometimes been developed by specialized training companies such as mine, or sometimes by large manufacturers (like the ones I developed for Schneider Electric) wanting to help their panel builder “partners” to be the best on the market.
Without training, whether you organise it with your internal resources or with the help of external people, your company has little chances to improve its efficiency and thus survive in a more and more demanding and competitive world.
My suggestion, to conclude: is that you should take the time to formalize your ambition (where I want to be tomorrow?), to evaluate your existing competences, and from that point to build your training plan for the coming years. The solutions exist; it’s up to you to decide how to use them for your best benefit. ”
LDR Conseil et Formation