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April 1, 2019 Manufacturing awards

Slideways has reaped benefits from putting new training programs in place

Slideways' staff

It's easy to grow comfortable in a routine, but Slideways CEO Tom Sioui says that's not how it works in his shop.

“Some companies are open to change and trying new things, and some are not,” said Sioui. “Our culture here is open to making changes.”

Located on Plantation Street in Worcester, Slideways manufactures products akin to its name. Since 1994, the company has produced plastic parts for conveyor systems and packaging machinery. Those parts are then used on machines conveying boxes and food products, or else are used as part of the food processing system, itself.

Sioui and his partner, Glenn Priest, were already working in the industry when they decided to branch out on their own in the early 1990s. Sioui and Priest saw room for another competitor in their market, and so, Slideways was born.

To maintain its hold in a competitive industry, Slideways has undertaken a company-wide training endeavor to increase its manufacturing efficiency. Virtually everyone at Slideways, Sioui said, has taken at least one class as part of a program developed by the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership.

“In order to get bigger gains it really involves the whole company,” he said.

More training = better outcomes

Jane Wilson, manager of growth services at MassMEP, helped facilitate the training. Working with Sioui and other company leaders, she helped tailor a program specifically for Slideways, focusing on both top and bottom line growth. She said the program was well-received, across the board.

“We hear a lot [of people say] that we don't have time for training, or we're too busy for that. And I think the lesson is that everybody has the same amount of time,” she said. “It's about using it wisely.”

Sioui said making the commitment to upskilling his staff has helped in implementing new systems, as well as machinery reorganization.

Increasing attention toward speedy and lean manufacturing, in conjunction with a pre-existing bonus program, has motivated Slideways employees in a brand new way. Those employees, he said, have demonstrated a renewed commitment to completing orders as quickly as possible, recognizing one person's success is the whole company's success.

And it's an example he's happy to set.

“It's so cliche, but you always hear, 'You get out of it what you put into it,'” Sioui said. “If you're able to commit to it and then hold the employees accountable to the new system that they put in place, you're going to get your investment back really quickly.”

Read about the WBJ 2019 Manufacturing Excellence Award winners

Manufacturing Excellence Award, Large Company - AIS

Manufacturing Excellence Award, Small Company - Organomation

Green Manufacturing Award - Acorn Deck House Co.

Rising Star Award - New England Optical Systems, Inc.

Product Design & Innovation Award - CPI Radant Technologies Division, Inc.

Collaboration in Manufacturing Award - Carpe Diem Technologies, Inc.

Workplace Development & Productivity Award - SLIDEWAYS, Inc.

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