"We will keep you informed"
To optimise your business, you need employees who are skilled in operating and maintaining your Moba equipment. We offer courses at our Technical Training Centers in Barneveld (the Netherlands) and Farmington Hills (USA) to give your staff the opportunity to develop their understanding of the machines. Mr. Guus Normann, Training Manager, has been involved with the Technical Training Center since the start.
“The equipment is only as good as the person who operates it”, says Guus as he explains the added value of the Technical Training Center. “So when customers invest in a Moba machine we offer them the opportunity to invest in their staff as well. They are the ones who have to operate and maintain the machinery every day so they have to understand how to operate the devices safely and reduce downtime in order to maximise the use of the equipment. This can only happen if the employees acquire the technical knowledge and they can do this by attending the courses at one of our Technical Training Centers.”
I really love teaching and I saw this as an opportunity to start my very own school. I was thrilled to get this chance.
Love for teaching
The concept of creating a professionalised Technical Training Center within Moba emerged in 1997. Guus was a qualified technical teacher who had worked as field engineer before his time at Moba but teaching was still his passion. When Moba asked him to dive into this project he didn’t hesitate. “I really love teaching and I saw this as an opportunity to start my very own school. I was thrilled to get this chance. And I must say, I have never regretted saying yes all those years ago.” In his first year, about fifty trainees visited Barneveld to attend Guus’ training courses.
But that was only the beginning. Every year more trainees found their way to Barneveld to follow courses offered by the Technical Training Center. This continued growth meant that more space was needed. “In 2004 our area within the headquarters wasn’t big enough to accommodate the machines we wanted for our courses. Behind the headquarters there was a garage and a Car Wash and Moba decided to replace these with a building for the Technical Training Center. That was exactly the boost we needed.”
Two further expansions followed, one in 2008 and the most recent in 2013. The Technical Training Center is now large enough to display an Omnia PX, Omnia FT Farmpackers and robotics. “This gave us the opportunity to expand our programme and offer even more courses. That has been vital because Moba’s portfolio has increased rapidly over the past few years. Automation is the future so customers not only need an egg grader but also palletizers, de-palletizers and case packers. This means that their employees’ knowledge must increase too.”
Together we can just about cope with all the courses. Most of our time is taken up teaching the trainees. It is very intense to give courses for three or four weeks straight; we work closely with our students for seven hours every day.
More than teaching
Because of the continued growth over the years, Guus needed help to ensure that all of the students are given the personal attention they deserve. He is now one of three teachers, with Rob de Ridder and Marnix Bosman. “Together we can just about cope with all the courses. Most of our time is taken up teaching the trainees. It is very intense to give courses for three or four weeks straight; we work closely with our students for seven hours every day. We combine central lessons, where we stand before the group explaining the material, and practical lessons, where we go to the machine and ask the trainees to put the material in practice. This combination is very effective and it gives us the opportunity to check what the trainees really understand.”
Guus, Rob and Marnix spend most of their time teaching, but their job description also includes arranging all of the details of bringing the trainees to Barneveld. “People from all over the world visit our Training Center in Barneveld. Every year that adds up to more than four hundred students. They need transportation by car, plane or train, we need to book hotels, hire taxis to drive them from our TTC to their hotel and we often need to arrange an interpreter. We plan our courses months in advance so this means that we have hundreds of invitations on the go at the same time. Sometimes, it can be a bit of a puzzle!”
However, the frequency of courses in the US is increasing, so we are training up Ivan Palczyk as a local instructor. He will take over one course at a time until he can provide all of the training and we can then function as supervisors.
In 2011 Moba decided to expand the Technical Training Center with a second location in Lancaster. “We have a lot of customers in the USA and Latin America so it is the ideal location for a second training facility.” This also meant multiply trips to the USA for Guus and his colleagues.
After the merger with Diamond, Moba moved the Training Center in 2015 from Lancaster to Farmington Hills, where more space was available for equipment. “It takes a long time to educate a new instructor. They need to have knowledge about Moba’s entire portfolio and that can’t be taught in just one month. That is why we provided the courses in the USA ourselves. However, the frequency of courses is increasing, so we are training up Ivan Palczyk as a local instructor. He will take over one course at a time until he can provide all of the training and we can then function as supervisors.” At Farmington Hills, customers can familiarise themselves with the Omnia PX700, Omnia FT500, MR12 robotic and the 600 Pelbo Breaker. All of the courses offered are identical, regardless of where they are given.”
We receive a lot of feedback from customers, but also from our Service Department. They know exactly what kind of difficulties customers struggle with and we can use that information to adapt our courses and tackle common problems so our trainees know exactly how to handle them.
Moba is always looking for ways to improve its machines. It is paramount that the Technical Training courses are completely up-to-date. Guus admits that this can be a challenge from time to time. “Moba organises weekly meetings where the product changes are discussed. We always try to attend these meetings, but that may be impossible if we are busy with a group on that particular day. We can’t really leave our students in the lurch while we attend a meeting! Fortunately there are other ways to stay up-to-date so we don’t miss vital information for our trainees.”
“It takes a lot of time and effort to put a programme together. We receive a lot of feedback from customers, but also from our Service Department. They know exactly what kind of difficulties customers struggle with and we can use that information to adapt our courses and tackle common problems so our trainees know exactly how to handle them.” Guus and his colleagues understand that times are changing and this is also applied to their teaching methods. “The visual aspect of teaching is becoming increasingly important. We want to incorporate that into our lessons like the use of videos. It is much easier for the trainees if they can see what they have to do. They can also watch the films again when they are back on site. Another tool we like to use is Kahoot. This app for your phone allows the trainees to take a quiz. They really enjoy the fact that they can compete against each other and, for us, it is an evaluation moment to see what the trainees have learnt.”
New group, new challenge
“The best thing about teaching is seeing eight individuals arriving on Monday and developing into a close group. Over the course of the week, you can really see the trainees connect with each other. They share stories and knowledge and try to help each other. On Thursday we always do something fun with the trainees, like go out for dinner, or go bowling. On one occasion, Rob even went ice skating with trainees who had never done that before. The social events make the connection even closer. At the end of the week, the trainees often exchange personal information so they can keep in touch. That is why I still enjoy teaching after all these years. Always the same courses, but never the same group and that makes it a challenge every single time.”
If you or your employees are interested in attending a course in Barneveld (the Netherlands) or Farmington Hills (USA), please click here to sign up.