A Study of company-initiated training in US and Swedish printing firms relative to prepress, press, and finishing operations

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Title: A Study of company-initiated training in US and Swedish printing firms relative to prepress, press, and finishing operations
Author: Hedman, Jonas
Abstract: Company-initiated training has become an increasingly important activity in printing firms because of the digital revolution in the industry which started in the mid 1980's. Previously, almost every step in prepress, press and finishing was analog, but today the workflow can be 100 percent digital until the information reaches the paper on the press. The computer is the principal part of the workflow, and it is essential for a printing firm to continuously train its workforce in the new technologies in order to develop the company's human resources, and thereby to improve the workflow and even ultimately to ensure the company's survival. This thesis seeks to determine (1) why printing companies provide company-initiated training in prepress, press and finishing, (2) what sort of training they provide their employees with, (3) how successful they are, and (4) how important they think company-initiated training is in general. In addition, one of the purposes of this thesis is to note if there are any differences in company-initiated training between US and Swedish printing firms. A survey of 13 questions was developed and e-mailed to 10 US printers and 10 Swedish printers of different types and sizes. The data from the survey was analyzed for overall frequency and was then used to test this thesis' four hypotheses. Hypothesis I: Company-initiated training contributes to improved worker morale; Hypothesis II: Company-initiated training contributes to improved worker retention; Hypothesis III: Company-initiated training contributes to improved productivity; Hypothesis IV: Company-initiated training contributes to reduced absenteeism. The printing companies were asked to rate how company-initiated training impacts morale, retention, productivity and absenteeism respectively. The rating scale was 0 to 5 where 0 equals "no impact" and 5 equals "highest impact." Seven types of company initiated training were given: on-the job training (employee-to-employee), internal courses, off-site seminars, certification programs, consultant's help, manufacturer/supplier training programs, on-line courses and "other (specify)." An average rating for each one of the hypotheses was calculated in order to determine the relative significance of company-initiated training on morale, retention, productivity and absenteeism as judged by printing executives. The results of the survey determined that three of the four hypotheses tested in the course of this work received substantial support. 19 of 20 companies answered that they do provide company-initiated training (CIT). Hypothesis I, CIT contributes to improved worker morale, scored the average 3.87. Hypothesis II, CIT contributes to improved worker retention, scored the average 3.16, and Hypothesis III, CIT contributes to improve productivity, scored 3.89. Hypothesis IV, CIT contributes to reduced absenteeism, scored the average 1.79, indicating low support for this hypothesis (Table 1). The results of this survey determine that printing companies are aware of the importance of company-initiated training, regardless of their type or size, and consider it important in prepress, press and finishing. Prepress is the area that has changed most since the digital revolution, and this is the area that the companies consider CIT most important (average rating 4.78 of 5). However, CIT in the press room is considered important too (average rating 4.31 of 5), while CIT in finishing is considered less important (ave. rating 3.68 of 5). Regarding the differences between US and Swedish printers, the results of the survey indicate one significant difference: retention. US printers consider that CIT has a higher impact on retention than Swedish printers do. One reason could be that there are more printing companies in the US which means more competition and the employees have more job options. If a company does not provide CIT, the employee goes to a company that does provide it and that gives the person the opportunity to grow with the company. This difference regarding retention warrants further study of why CIT is considered more important in US printers compared with Swedish printers. A further study could include a larger number of companies in the survey and could focus more indepth on how CIT impacts morale, retention, productivity and absenteeism specifically in prepress, press and finishing.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/12188
Date: 2003-12-12

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