Louisville, Ky. – Scores of Lantech employees have been with the company for decades. Progressive workplace policies, the promise of advancement and the stretch wrap industry’s best-selling product line make it one of the best places to work in the Louisville market. However, Lantech and other manufacturers face a shortage of skilled workers capable of replacing retiring technicians and production personnel. Like other US manufacturers, Lantech has decided to address this dilemma head-on.
Lantech has joined other Louisville-area employers in an initiative aiming to educate young people about manufacturing. The Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) program was launched in 2016 by the Kentucky Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME), in partnership with Jefferson County Technical College (JCTC). AMT combines college coursework with paid, on-the-job training. Students work toward an associate degree in Applied Science at JCTC attending class, doing lab projects, and earning a competitive salary working for an AMT sponsor company, such as Lantech.
This collaboration is designed to keep the regional “pipeline” of employee candidates flowing. “There’s a great deal at stake here for area companies and for the economic health of our city and region,” said Lantech CEO Jim Lancaster. “Manufacturers that can’t find qualified employees will have a hard time staying competitive, and Louisville will struggle to attract new companies in the absence of a sustainable, qualified work force.”
Student participants master a technical skill set, such as mechanics, electricity and robotics, among others. “Building large industrial control panels in Lantech’s Panel shop was both [difficult and rewarding] for sure. I went in there and it was kinda intimidating honestly, but I’ve learned a lot and I have most of it down now,” said advanced production assembler Emily Salyer. Manufacturing exercises teach safety, lean manufacturing, problem-solving and more, each exercise preparing students to contribute to an efficient and cost-effective workplace. Attendance, teamwork, interpersonal communication and good work habits are emphasized.
Lantech selected its first group of AMT student participants in 2016. They’ve rotated through product development, maintenance, manufacturing and other departments. Students Emily Salyer and Logan Brown will graduate May 8th 2018 with an associate’s degree having completed 68 to 71 credit hours, and approximately 1,800 hours of training and work experience. “Over the past couple of years the students have learned a great deal of information, not just manufacturing processes and maintenance in the plant, but also concepts that effects all manufacturing. Lantech does a great job in lean, 5S and safety. Machine reliability and predictability is an added core concept that ensures equipment uptime and availability,” said FAME Director Gerald Sexton, the student’s JCTC coordinating instructor during the program. Salyer and Brown have spent 24 hours working at Lantech and 16 hours attending school weekly during the 5-semester program.
Salyer and Brown’s third and final Lantech project covered a FMEA, Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, evaluation. They were tasked with looking at the manufacturing process to determine possible issues that could affect efficiency and quality. The students had a unique perspective that allowed them to see and recognize issues as they naturally arose during the production of a new product. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement as it allows the students to apply their knowledge in a real world setting and share it with Lantech to improve production processes.
“At Lantech, we follow business principles and espouse values that can help young people succeed in the workplace,” Lancaster said. “Hopefully, this program will also benefit the manufacturing sector in our community for many years to come.”
Lantech continues to partner with KY FAME and has plans for a new cohort of students starting in the Fall of 2018.
In 1972, Lantech, LLC invented stretch wrap equipment and changed the way the world packages and protects its goods as they move about the planet. Billions of pallet loads are stretch wrapped are every year.
Although we’ve expanded our product line with case erectors and sealers, our mission remains the same – to help our customers ship their products so they reach their destinations in the same condition they were in when they left – and at the lowest cost.
For more information, visit Lantech.com or call Shea Hallenberg at 502-815-9107.