On Oct. 29, the Portland Business Journal presented its annual manufacturing awards at the Portland Art Museum, honoring Portland-based manufacturer ESCO Corporation in the “Excellence in Training” category. As Business Journal Publisher Craig Wessel said, the goal of this new program is to “recognize manufacturing companies that continue to drive our region’s economy through innovation and strategic evolution.”
The other awards categories were “Product Innovation of the Year” and “Manufacturing Company of the Year” (small, medium and large companies). Other manufacturing awards winners included Benchmade, Eleek, FEI Company, Korvis Automation, Oregon Iron Works, Plas2Fuel, Timber Pro UV, Tinitron, TriQuint Semiconductor and Williams Controls.
ESCO Corporation has become increasingly noted for its application of “lean manufacturing” practices that emphasize waste reduction in its operations. According to spokesperson Robert Kenneth, the goal is to increase customer value while continually reducing waste and cost.
“Our culture of quality, value and speed — or QVS — drives the elimination of waste in everything we do, from engineering and payroll to the plant floor and loading docks. The result is business practices that create long-term, sustainable economic, environmental and social benefits for our employees, our customers and our neighbors in the communities where ESCO operates.”
ESCO’s Organizational Effectiveness team is responsible for development and delivery of countless training initiatives aimed at integrating lean and continuous improvement at every level of the company.
“At ESCO, we live by the philosophy of continuous improvement to deliver quality, value and speed to our customers,” said Elizabeth King, ESCO’s executive director of Organizational Effectiveness. “With that as a vision, our team looks at what stands in the way of us getting there. And it’s those obstacles we go after.”
Because ESCO has operations throughout the world, King and her team face special challenges when it comes to implementing uniform practices across all levels of the organization.
“We can’t succeed as a global organization if we lack the required expertise at even one of our sites. That’s why we actively support developing expertise throughout the entire company,” King said.
According to King, another important aspect of ESCO’s training approach is how indistinguishable it often is from day-to-day operations.
“Some people have traditional ways of training — which means you go to a classroom to learn something, pass a test, and often never use what you learned. But it would be hard to distinguish between training and real time work here at ESCO — it’s all the same.”
ESCO enjoys a strong reputation as an innovator, with more than 300 product patents highlighting the company’s passion for solving difficult problems. King said she and her Organizational Effectiveness team support this innovative culture “by creating and delivering innovative training and development opportunities.”
“The quality of our work creates an experience for participants that builds personal skills and commitment to ESCO — and also furthers our strategic initiatives.”
About winning the “Excellence in Training” category among multiple candidate companies, King said: “Our team is delighted to be awarded with this honor on behalf of all ESCO employees. We couldn’t do what we do without effectively partnering at all levels of the organization — from board room to break room. It’s what makes our work impactful and fun.”
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