Tyler training workers before hiring

Published 6:32 pm Friday, March 11, 2005

By By JOHN EBY / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Tyler Refrigeration's three-year commitment to perfection is spreading from its several hundred employees to folks who don't even work at its plant on Lake Street.
In the days before global competition, factories hired workers and trained them.
For 150 jobs Tyler wants to add, workers will be trained, then hired.
A pool of 15 potential employees gathered at Southwestern Michigan College's Niles Area Campus technology center (M-TEC) in Milton Township for two hours Wednesday evening.
The training topic presented by Jason Rice from Kalamazoo was ACE, with Contech's former plant manager orienting the group of men and women to Achieving Competitive Excellence.
This quest of appealing to customers and to the shareholders whose investments furnish cash flow that drives an organization is perpetually being reassessed and refined.
It never ends.
Not in an alphabet soup of 5S systems, 3Cs of process and QCPC, which all drive toward a bottom line of zero defects.
Tyler manufactures refrigerated and non-refrigerated merchandisers, walk-in coolers and mechanical refrigeration systems for use in supermarkets, convenience stores, restaurants, and industrial and institutional facilities throughout the world.
Tyler operates seven factories in the United States. The company, founded in 1927, is a unit of commercial/transport refrigeration manufacturer Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, a business of Carrier Corp., which is a subsidiary of United Technologies (UTC).
Carrier acquired Tyler in 1997. Tyler is part of the Carrier Commercial Refrigeration (CCR) group, the largest commercial/transport refrigeration manufacturer in the world.
Rice said UTC's quality model defines perfection as using the same process every time to achieve the same results. The Japanese man who first articulated ACE believed "a good human heart and mind produce quality products."
In other words, he wanted workers to couple passion for achieving their tasks with creative thought about them.
The 5S system revolves around: sorting - eliminating whatever is not needed; straightening - organizing what remains; shining - an immaculate work area not only reassures customers and investors, but improves employee safety (injuries have been reduced from 100 to less than 10) and makes troubleshooting more efficient; standardization - assures optimal results all the time, because if the shop strays from the best way, value diminishes; and sustain - make 5S a reflexive way of life.
Rice described Tyler's "upside-down operation," which directs limited resources to supporting front-line employees on the shop floor and keeping their morale high.
Rice talked about the "Iceberg Model," where the tip of poor performance can damage customers' perception of the company and produce scrap that can be quantified. The general rule of thumb is 2 to 3 percent, which doesn't sound like much unless you're talking about a $100 million industry. Hidden problems can hinder sales as much as 5 to 8 percent, which is how Tyler came to be "obsessed" with preventing defects.
A process transforms input to output. Useful processes add value during this transformation.
Three C's of process certification are centered (a minimum amount of fallout so as many parts as possible can be kept), control and capability. There is a six-step implementation process, driven by data.
Tyler's teams integrate floor employees with engineers and the management team.
Managers listen to and support floor employees by clearing any roadblocks to productivity. A "turnback" is anything that inhibits productivity.
Problems are attacked relentlessly, not only to solve issues at hand, but to assure they never happen again, known as "mistake proofing."
A part might be modified so it can't be put on backward - or the machine that makes it might be modified.
Their corporate culture emphasizes working hard and playing hard, sharing success stories which could benefit another division.
As a result, all employees feel highly responsible for productivity and profitably, Rice explained, and energy is generated by the respect given workers' intelligence.
QCPC stands for Quality Clinic Process Charts posted at every work station.
This summation of people, progress and goals of a project sparks the constant communication flow necessary to stay ahead of the curve and avoid reacting to situations after they develop.
They set aggressive improvement goals, such as being the best at what they do anywhere on the globe.
Viki Gudas, director of business services for tri-county Michigan Works in Benton Harbor, said her organization screened applications for Tyler.
Her colleague, Jim Taylor, said the potential employees represent a mix of recent graduates, people in between jobs, dislocated workers and factory workers "attracted by rate of pay and the security of the company. They just want better jobs."
Tyler approached Childs at the M-TEC with plans to hire 150 people.