When furniture maker Whitewood Industries in Thomasville wanted to improve their productivity in 2009, they called DavidsonWorks.
DavidsonWorks is an organization that stimulates business growth by providing workforce development solutions, and it secured a $37,500 state grant for Whitewood that went toward customizing a program designed to meet the company’s employee training needs.
The result? Whitewood has been able to streamline its furniture manufacturing process without decreasing its workforce.
“The training program started with the management team and then ultimately everyone in the entire organization, and the result is that Whitewood has reduced their scrap by 25 percent,” says Nancy Borrell, executive director of DavidsonWorks. “The company also reports reducing its manufacturing process cycle time by 25 percent. The bottom line is that Whitewood officials are estimating an annual savings of $2 million after going through our lean customized training program.”
Borrell says Lexington Memorial Hospital also asked DavidsonWorks for a customized employee-training program, and the medical facility is experiencing a success story similar to Whitewood.
“We secured a business grant for Lexington Memorial, and they are also reporting an annual savings of $2 million after going through our lean customized training program,” she says. “In another instance, we oversaw an intense training program for Elizabeth Carbide of North Carolina (manufacturer of tools and dies) and they were able to earn an ISO 9001 quality management certification. That opens tremendous doors for them because now they are positioned to compete globally, which was something they couldn’t do in the past.”
Besides training programs, DavidsonWorks is involved in several other aspects of the business community. For example, the group’s leaders meet every two weeks with three local high school superintendents and a college president to predict and map out hot career paths in Davidson County.
Borrell adds that the organization is also at the table with economic development officials whenever a new business is being wooed to the community.
“That scenario recently played out in Lexington when Italian refrigeration manufacturer Arneg LLC opened a multimillion-dollar facility,” she says. “Since their top executives speak little English and have limited experience with the U.S. ways of doing business, DavidsonWorks helped recruit their Lexington management team and assisted with job description designs and employee compensation packages. We were critical in helping to get Arneg LLC to Davidson County.”
DavidsonWorks also oversees a short-term apprenticeship initiative called the Train to Work Program, providing companies with new employee training and paying up to 50 percent of those trainees’ wages for up to six months. It also backs a Work Experience Program that pays 100 percent of wages at 70 Davidson County work sites that employ youth labor during the summer months.
“We are federally and state-funded, and many of the functions we deliver are seamless to the employer – we do it all,” Borrell says. “Our vision is simple: Stimulate business growth in Davidson County by providing a strong skilled workforce that exceeds business needs for today and tomorrow.”