MRC - Manufacturers Resource Center

 

SOLO Laboratories, Inc.

 

SOLO Laboratories is a Kutztown, Pennsylvania-based manufacturer with a passion for creating high-quality custom orthotics and Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFOs) for adults and children. The company’s customer service reflects a commitment to living the mission to Serve Others, Love Others in everything they do.

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“These training sessions have made it possible to both continue safe operations and make measurable improvements as we continue to navigate the pandemic.”
– Jennifer Herman, Controller

With several individuals finding themselves in roles for which they had relevant work experience but lacked formal training, SOLO Laboratories, Inc. (“SOLO”) found itself with a pressing need to enhance a range of employee skillsets.

Solution

SOLO engaged MRC in a number of training capacities, from the Manufacturing Leadership Institute and maintenance training to train-the-trainer courses. They began, though, with the Human Resource forum to learn from other organizations.

That training, which ran from the fall of 2020 until the spring of 2021, offered valuable legal advice on handling situations specific to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“A lot of those sessions were very informative and helpful,” says SOLO’s Controller, Jennifer Herman. “Through that training we found out what we could and couldn’t do, which was critical knowledge at that point in the pandemic.”

Herman says one example was learning from others about their struggles to hire new employees. “We, as a group, could discuss our efforts and hear what others were doing. It was very helpful knowing we weren’t alone in those issues.”

Subsequent training included two owners who attended the Manufacturing Leadership Institute (MLI) and executive leadership program focusing on strategic growth. One of these a second-generation owner, sought to better understand the business’s inner workings, particularly financial statements.

“That owner came back with the ability to ask all the right questions,” Herman says. “Me being the controller, I want people to ask questions about the financials and understand what they’re looking at. To hear her speak with authority about the numbers now is rewarding.”

The maintenance training, meanwhile, focused on scheduling preventive maintenance and tracking key data points. While SOLO was a smaller enterprise than some of the others in the session, Hermon says the attendees brought back a number of relevant processes that have been implemented at SOLO.

As an example, the company created a log to track machining bit failure frequency and understanding that data has made it possible to better plan usage and extend bit life. They also trained their coworkers to create similar logs to track a range of data points. “It was nice to see that knowledge flowing down to the rank-and-file,” Hermon says.

Hermon adds that the two SOLO employees who took part in train-the-trainer sessions returned with innovative training implementation ideas. “It was interesting to see how they developed training documentation with signoffs at different stages to ensure safe operation. No one is using equipment they weren’t trained on.”

Results

  • Improved tracking of machining bit usage reduced failure rates to less than 5%
  • Enhanced preventive maintenance schedules
  • The ability to implement new training regimens enabling safer equipment operation

For more information about SOLO Laboratories, please visit their website at www.sololabs.com