MRC Press – Manufacturers urged to share knowledge

As appeared in Lehigh Valley Business …

November 15. 2012 11:48 AM |

Manufacturers urged to share knowledge |

By Brian Pedersen |

As aging employees leave the workforce, how do employers capture their specialized knowledge?

A knowledge building seminar at Manufacturers Resource Center today attempted to answer this question by providing about 15 executives with an overview of how to create a training program and learning culture for their organization.

The program, developed through a partnership with Enterprise Systems Partners Inc. of Bethlehem and MRC focused on several issues, including how to use an e-learning program to transfer that knowledge.

“It all starts with a shared vision,” said Vinay Govande, partner and executive vice president of espi. “We believe that organizations need to take the time to establish that.”

Key characteristics of a learning organization include fostering a learning culture, developing system thinking and personal mastery. The old model of having employees learn from a teacher or instructor is not necessarily the most effective. In fact, many employees learn and retain knowledge from each other.

Creating an environment of openness and trust, valuing people’s ideas and encouraging a diversity of viewpoints and providing a forum to discuss them are also key elements of a learning culture, all of which are driven toward business performance.

Many organizations do not realize they are at risk if there are no rotational programs where employees have some shared knowledge so that if there is an immediate need to perform a task, it can be done without impacting productivity.

“I don’t want to be the only one holding onto that information,” said Govande.

As an example, at East Penn Manufacturing, a large company in Berks County, there were only four employees who knew how to operate a piece of equipment that’s critical to their operations, said Govande. But he said his company worked with them to develop a learning culture and he said they were very cooperative in sharing that knowledge.

However, some clients realized they had job security by having this specialized knowledge that no one else in the company had, said Scott Palochik, business development manager for espi. But the company has to look at it from the standpoint that it benefits the entire company, he added.

Mark Kenawell, senior technician at Lutron Electronics Co. in Coopersburg, said employees could be reluctant to share that knowledge and make it portable, because it could potentially go overseas.

“Until the trend in this country turns around and managers understand that you can make money here in manufacturing, I think that’s still happening,” said Kenawell. “Making that knowledge portable allows companies to move knowledge overseas.”

However, Govande said his company has seen many benefits from developing an environment where employee knowledge is captured, including operational excellence, lower turnover, maintained levels of innovation and an increase in the pace of change within the organization.

More specific major findings included an 83 percent increase in employee knowledge and a 63 percent increase in employee efficiency when companies developed a learning culture. These findings were quantified by the National Association of Manufacturers, he added.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Don’t see what you are looking for or have a question? MRC can help. Contact us today!

Training and Certifications

MRC provides far more than certifications and funding assistance. We offer job creators access to specialized coaching, mentorship and a variety of business and marketing assistance normally outside the reach of most manufacturers.


No matter what’s happening with your business, MRC has probably seen it. We know the problems that keep CEOs up at night, and we know how to help solve them. Our staff has more than 100 years of combined experience working side-by-side with business owners to evaluate, strategize, discover and implement solutions that address both strategic growth needs and organizational transformation.

Training & Events Calendar

MRC breaks down the barriers that prohibit manufacturers from realizing their full potential. Our proven tactics and methods can help nearly any company at nearly any stage of its evolution. Whatever the hurdle – going green, becoming lean, entering new markets, rebranding the company – MRC can help you clear it.

Workforce Initiatives

Developing Future Workforce with programs like: What’s So Cool About Manufacturing®, PA Dream Team, the Inside Manufacturing Series, and Manufacturing Day.


Through our partnerships, we are able to bring the horsepower of the best-in-breed experts to you. Imagine having access to the second-largest technology institute in the world, a corps of ex-Toyota executives trained under the best Lean practitioners in the world or world-renowned business strategy groups. MRC makes it possible.

About Us

For over 30 years, Manufacturers Resource Center (MRC) has helped small and mid-sized manufacturers become more competitive, adopt lean and agile processes, strategically grow their companies and invest more effectively in their existing human capital.

My Account

Ready to complete your event registration? Need to confirm the date of a previous registration? Find all these details here or call us at (610) 628-4640 for additional assistance.