An Industry Week article spotlights Toyota's Georgetown, KY, plant's efforts to fill the facilities projected need for tool and die makers. Here's an excerpt:
In 2013, Wally Palen realized he had a “people problem.” Tool and die makers at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky, plant, where he is assistant general manager, were disproportionately reaching retirement age, and replacements were hard to come by.
Looking ahead, the workload was only getting heavier. With a cascade of new vehicle models at Toyota—from the recently introduced to the forthcoming—the need for new dies is currently the highest in 25 years, and projected to grow even more. Yet 36% percent of the Toyota Kentucky’s 200 tool and die makers are already at or near retirement age. The percentage goes up to 43% by 2021.
So the affable Ohio State University graduate—who oversees Toyota’s die manufacturing operation and 19 stamping lines—set about coming up with a contingency plan. He estimates he’ll need 52 more toolmakers by 2021, but will only be able to find 15 through traditional HR.
The rest? He’s angling for 32 of them to come through a new apprentice program he got going with “brute force” (his words), and five from retraining promising production team members.