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Melfi Plant Academy

Manufacturing Knowledge and Innovation

November 7, 2018 – Since 2015, the Melfi Plant Academy has been working to enhance the plant’s competitiveness relying almost exclusively on in-house resources and skills. It is doing this through the training, development and organization of plant employees to improve their knowledge, know-how, technical skills, and conduct with the goal of increasing their motivation and professional satisfaction.
The Academy was established to respond to the challenges of increasing competition and technological progress. Now more than ever, people need to be able to design effective, reliable manufacturing processes and find solutions quickly, and continuous learning and innovation have become a must. At the Melfi plant, they have managed to respond to and reconcile all of these needs.
The strategies and learning materials of the Melfi Plant Academy have been developed in a “financially sustainable” manner by relying almost exclusively on in-house resources and capabilities. The results achieved to date have proven to be a major driver of innovation while valuing the contribution of individuals in the production process. It has been a painstakingly methodical process and it has led to a profound cultural change through the promotion of company values, the development of a managerial vision, and the revision and improvement of operational processes and organizational models.
The starting point was an analysis of the organization and individual roles and the definition of the skills required for each individual task. The second step was knowledge creation, with each skill being associated with a training and development package based on the knowledge and experience of the leading experts within the plant.
Finally, the approach to leadership development was defined, and training programs and assessment tools were developed for individuals who will be covering roles of responsibility in the coming years.

Melfi Plant Academy Innovation

Teaching by example

The Melfi Plant Academy also served as a model for many other plants in Europe and it has become an example of excellence worldwide.
The academy is a physical place, but it is also, and above all, a tool for cultural change through which people learn about, come up with, and implement improvements for the business. The Total Cost Reduction project was one of the greatest achievements of the Melfi Plant Academy. Targeted courses and programs designed to enhance skills in project and change management were implemented to increase the skills of factory workers in cost management, which has not traditionally been a part of their core skill set. Working groups made up of product designers, purchasing personnel, plant technicians, and factory workers were then set up with the objective of generating ideas for improvement. In 2017, this diversity in points of view and the ability to work together generated a total of 4,000 ideas, and enabled the Company to discover true talent at all levels in people who could, in the future, make a significant contribution to the development of the company.

Classrooms, test labs and creative spaces

Melfi Plant Academy LAB

When you enter the Melfi Plant Academy, you immediately find yourself in a setting that is different to both other plants as well as traditional training centers. This is a place where people and their creativity lead. Regardless of hierarchy and individual roles, anyone with an idea and skills to offer is free to express themselves and may actually see their ideas become reality.
The academy’s classrooms and labs are extremely innovative with their bold colors, high-tech tools that make learning fun, screens everywhere, collaborative classroom layouts, and ample space for creativity. And all of this was created in-house thanks to the hard work and passion of all who work at the plant.

Theory and practice

The academy’s learning modules alternate classroom work, simulations, and practical application based on the individual’s role.
The modules are taught by the more skilled and experienced workers after they themselves have been trained in effective, engaging teaching methods through specific “train the trainers” programs. Each year, based on production forecasts and financial planning, plant management sets business objectives which are then used by Plant Academy staff to define training programs to support those objectives. In this way, the academy makes it possible for new technologies and new skills to come to the Melfi plant at the same time, because people can try out the technology and hone their skills in the simulation labs first, and this exponential growth in skills and knowledge has also reinforced the plant’s role as a point of reference for suppliers.

Ample room for research

Melfi Plant Academy Ricerca

There are four main labs that make up the Plant Academy, all of which are used to simulate theoretical concepts and increase the efficacy of learning as well as to research and test innovative solutions that can then be implemented at the plant. The first lab is an area dedicated to virtual process simulations, while the second reproduces logistics processes, from the suppliers through to parts assembly and approval of the finished product. Then there are the digital and technical areas, which feature the main technologies currently in use. The technical area, for example, can be used to try out applied digital solutions, such as next-generation sensors and collaborative robotics. Rounding off the facilities, there are a number of classrooms adjacent to the labs, where theory is taught before putting it into practice in the simulation areas. Finally, all that is taught here is shared with the other Plant Academies by way of a vast digital archive.

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