The Best It’s Ever Been, Every Year: The Goal for IPC, Part 1


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Matties: Well, it takes such a burden off them. The value of their membership goes up exponentially.

Mitchell: Exactly. We're also looking at government grants to help fund some of this. Where that happens, some of that training will be free. How's that sound? If you sign up and you're a small business, single site, you pay the $1,300 IPC membership fee. Guess what? You just got a training program for these 1−3 things that are free where there's government funding. That's huge!

Matties: That's really a shift in IPC's strategy, isn't it, to bring this sort of thinking?

Mitchell: A little bit, yes. It was not on the menu. We pretty much stuck to our training as certification-based and standards-based. But we've always done professional development. This is a spin on that, and a little bit more narrowly focused. As opposed to just a technical need, it's an industry need.

Matties: And not to belabor it, but professional development was really for people that were already in the industry. You're talking about taking people from outside the industry and creating a labor pool to draw from.

Mitchell: We're trying to reach people who have never been in the industry. We're also reaching out to university students. We're also going to be reaching out to high school and middle school students. It starts there. And right now, and I'm guilty of this as a parent, the answer is, "Oh, you've got to go to university and you've got to get your degree." You can go off and make a good living with the right certificate and never have gone to college. And guess what? Not be tethered by a cellphone 24/7, work 8 to 5, and make good money and have a life. How about that? There are very talented people who college may not be for them. We're looking to work with counselors and really get out there and understand. Now that's a big job. We'll start small and make sure we do it right in narrow-focused areas, but we're bringing on people to help us do that. And the board is fully supportive of this. If anything, they're saying, "Can you run any faster, John?"

Matties: I've been saying this recently, the fastest way to introduce new people, kids in particular, into our industry around circuit design, for example, is to come out with a video game that requires circuit design.

Mitchell: Or a hot TV show that shows exactly how cool this stuff is, because manufacturing has gotten a bad rep. I used to use the example, it's not like Laverne and Shirley looking for the rat in the bottle. It's clean, it's technology, it's cool stuff. We were just talking about this at lunch today and one of the comments was, "If a young kid comes in and he's hanging out with all his buddies and he goes, "Oh, what do you do?" "I work in manufacturing." They say, "Oh. So, you couldn't quite cut it in the real world, huh?" It's kind of the attitude yet they don't understand that, wow, actually they are doing all the real world high-tech work. They're having to understand quality. They're having to understand processes. They're using technology. This is a really cool thing, and it's clean. And instead of having to sit in a cubicle that's just three blank walls, you're building products and doing the same type of programming and working to change the world. It's really an exciting field.

Matties: That's exciting. Congratulations. Your passion comes through.

Mitchell: You didn't even ask me about it and I'm excited about it. We've got some good things coming that way. That's very exciting.

Matties: Let’s circle back to membership. We mentioned the 1000 members now in Asia. How do they measure the value here in Asia? Is it measured differently here?

Mitchell: No, I think it's the same. I think the members here are really starting to see the value. They just have to quantify it here more than we do in some parts of the world, although, we're going to be doing more of that everywhere as well. We continue to strive to be able to say, “Here's how much you saved by doing (insert program/product) with IPC." If anybody out there is willing to be part of a case study, we'd like to show (if you’ve got two identical lines) that if you put IPC-certified people on one line and just your regular Joes on the other one, which are perfectly good workers, then measure everything. We'd love to do that so we can say something like, "IPC saves you 4% on rework." Translate that across all the work you do and that's millions of dollars. Let us work with you and publish a case study that will help your brand as well since you volunteered your time and effort.

So, we're looking for those case studies as well. As part of this study I mentioned that we're doing, without even doing the case studies, people are volunteering their results because of the millions of dollars that we’ve saved for them. The longer you use IPC the more you'll see the real value that comes through. Look forward to those quotes. We don't even ask them for them. We say, "Write down your feelings about IPC’s value." And people are sharing amazing benefits they are and have been experiencing. I'm excited about it.

Matties: There's a generational shift going on in the industry too. I'm seeing millennials owning companies and businesses.

Mitchell: By 2020, more than 50% of all leadership positions in the U.S. will be held by millennials.

Matties: How does that play into your strategies for IPC?

Mitchell: It's part of modernization. We've got to be online. We've got to be communicating the way the leadership is used to communicating. It’s an exciting time, because new leaders are bringing different ideas and different priorities to the workplace.

Matties: A lot different.

Mitchell: In some ways. I think some of it is just a perception difference. Let's say you ask the older generation, the Baby Boomer generation. They still find the same things (like benefiting a charity) that the millennials find important, but they do it in different ways. The millennials are looking to meet some of those needs in a workplace environment. The Baby Boomers don't really care if the workplace provides it for them or not. They'll do it on their own if it's important. So that's a little bit of a shift.

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