Operations: To Train or Not to Train

A 256Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE

Recently there’s been a push among some of our clients to start bringing 3d imaging systems in-house. In the majority of cases the client wants my company to provide some form of training to help them get off on the right foot.

Although we are in the consulting business, training is a different animal. We’ve worked for years, continuously refining our processes and tools, investing in R&D and worked closely with hardware and software manufacturers to make sure that we have a deep understanding of their products. Consulting allows me to help you seamlessly embed our services into your workflow. Training basically gives you my playbook.

The pending decision, `to train or not to train’ really makes me take a step back and try to consciously separate and separate the emotional response from the rational business response. While taking that step back I began to struggle with understanding this shift and started to ask myself "So what’s the deal? Are the services too expensive, too effective, too democratized or becoming too intuitive?"

Emotionally I want nothing to do with it. This is primarily based on my attachment to the processes and fear of losing a client. I feel like I’d be selling short everyone that wears my jersey by sharing. To get past this initial response takes a lot of forward thinking and understanding of everyone’s position and needs.

The rational side of things is complicated. You’ve actually just received a huge compliment. For your client to have an interest usually means that it’s been generated through successful utilization of your services to-date. In fact, the success must have been impactful enough for them to convince the powers that be to fork over large sums of money to pursue this endeavor. Congratulations, you’ve done a great job as a service provider!

The perceived truth–several manufacturers are starting to see success in going after our typical client base, and they should. There are some clients that should definitely perform this work for themselves. It’s hard not to get excited about a machine that runs as smooth as your smart phone, add to that software that almost runs itself and you’re in business!

The reality–data acquisition requires an experienced crew, but the skill set that goes into post processing is greater. Sure, equipment has become more user friendly and a single software program doesn’t seem like too much to handle. But what my clients usually don’t see is the multiple technologies that we use for acquisition and modeling depending on the scope.

The result–those that have gone through with the investment get my training, usually designed to address their specific needs and based on utilizing the software that they have. We’ll make recommendations on additional tools to reach a higher performance, but these are usually denied when the client asks for more funding. What takes my team 40 man hours is usually performed in 70-80 by the client. After about a year we add new software and hardware, discover new workflows and perform that same 40 hours of work in 30, while they keep the same pace.

Eventually the relationship starts to evolve into a partnership, our team embedded with theirs to handle large, expedited or complex projects. This tends to give you a level of trust that couldn’t have existed without working through the integration phase. The key is to stay close and be ready to help them become a champion in their organization. The alternative I see is to do nothing, let them try and fail while building an animosity towards you because you could have helped but didn’t… no thanks.

Ted Mort, Vice President of Eco 3d (eco3dusa. com), draws from his diverse background to integrate 3d solutions into the workflows of a wide variety of renowned clients.

A 256Kb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine complete with images is available by clicking HERE