Machinist Training

Where to start? This is such a broad subject matter and no one answer will truly fit all situations.

QCMI Welcomes First Students to Its QCMI Machinist Training Program

Posted: Oct 21, 2014 12:13 AM PST

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Precision machining, Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc. is pleased to announce it has partnered with the San Diego Workforce Partnership to establish the QCMI Machinist Training Program, and the first class of six students will start on November 10, 2014.

Santee, Calif. (PRWEB) October 21, 2014

Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc. (QCMI), a San Diego region-based precision machining manufacturer, is pleased to formally announce it has established the QCMI Machinist Training Program. QCMI partnered with the San Diego Workforce Partnership for the funding for the first 12 students. Six will start on November 10, 2014, and six will start on February 9, 2015.

Establishing a machinist training program has been a dream of QCMI CEO Bob Grande. Grande founded his machining company in his garage 36 years ago this month. Over the years, he continued to see shop classes disappear from high school curriculum. According to the Employment Policy Foundation, in 1950, 60% of all manufacturing jobs could be handled by unskilled labor. By 2005, less than 15% of all manufacturing positions were unskilled. As QCMI continued to grow, the executive team knew it needed to come up with a long-term people solution.

In 2012 COO / CFO Rick Urban spearheaded the creation, planning and development of the companys new training program. The success of the QCMI Machinist Training Program will be the first step in launching the 501(c)(3) Grande Foundation Comprehensive Machinist Academy. The Grande Foundation has a mission dedicated to the improvement of San Diego community education with the focal point being the development of a self-sustaining, state of the art machinist training academy.

With the November 10, 2014 opening, the QCMI Machinist Training Program is geared up to provide Veterans as well as other individuals with a career education in machining and related lean manufacturing business principles. QCMI is working with the East County Career Center in search of eligible applicants. Qualified QCMI employees developed the structured curriculum. They will teach shop theory, blueprint reading, safety principles, CNC machining, inspection and more. Each student completes a final project. Upon graduation on April 25, 2014 of the first six graduates, they will receive their Six Sigma Green Belt and machinist training diploma. Graduates from the QCMI Machinist Training Program will be prepared for a position as a CNC machinist. Becky Quinn, Human Resources Manager said, We anticipate 100% job placement of the graduates, if not with QCMI, then with other companies in the community that are looking to hire trained machinists.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) is designated by the County and City of San Diego to receive state and federal funds to fund job training programs throughout the region. The SDWP funds job training programs enabling eligible adults to develop the skills and knowledge needed to meet the needs of regional employers. As community partners, QCMI and SDWP are assisting eligible applicants interested in the new subsidized machinist job training. The main source of SDWP funds come from the United States Department of Labor through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA).

QCMI produces complex parts for aircraft and gas turbines. It specializes in the precision machining of all metals including exotic alloys. The nationally recognized metal working company produces components with complex shapes, contours, exacting tolerances and stringent quality requirements.

The kickoff of the QCMI Machinist Training Program marks the culmination of efforts by the San Diego Workforce Partners, the East County Career Center, and QCMI with its subject-matter expert trainers, said QCMI COO / CFO Rick Urban. We look forward to training individuals for machinists jobs that are both well-paying and stable.

At 15 years old I liked to work with my hands, and I was lucky enough to be the shop class assistant. Some 36 years later, the precision machining company I started in my garage employs more than 95 and is award-winning, said Founder, President and CEO Bob Grande. Our industry is facing a machinist shortage. Automated factories demand workers who can operate, program and maintain the computerized equipment. My hopes and dreams for training individuals to become machinists have come to fruition in the opening of the QCMI Machinist Training Program.

For more information about the QCMI Machinist Training Program, call (619) 443-3997.

About Quality Controlled Manufacturing Inc.
Founded in 1978, QCMI specializes in the precision machining of all metals including exotic alloys. QCMI is ISO9001/AS9100 certified, ITAR registered and Nadcap accredited for nondestructive testing. It manufactures components for the aerospace, power generation, Department of Defense (DOD), oil and gas, marine and heavy equipment industries. QCMI is authorized to operate an approved FAA repair station with the following ratings: Limited Accessory and Nondestructive Testing. In 2013 QCMI received its fifth consecutive UTC Supplier Gold Award, and Inc. magazine recognized it as one of its Inc. 5000 companies. The San Diego Business Journal named QCMI its 2014 Family Owned Business of the Year in the 51-150 employee category and its 2014 #1 Healthiest Company in the 1-100 employee category. For more information about QCMI call (619) 443-3997 or visit

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Performance Reviews

This is a topic that tends to provoke strong feelings among employees. Reviews are meant to 'grade' an employee's job performance, professional skills, and a host of other metrics designed to subjectively render a critique of that employee's overall value to the company. Inherently, nearly all reviews are fatally flawed. Even done with the best intentions, reviews tend to rank employees. There will always be those that are top performers and those that aren't. In any case, no matter how large or small a company is, the review process ultimately demotivates and discourages employees.

Kaizen, Six Sigma and 5S... Why they tend to fail.

What is Kaizen, Six Sigma and 5S? More importantly, why do these programs tend to fail?

Basically, all of these terms refer to a philosophy of continuous improvement and working practices, set in place to remove clutter, improve quality, and to streamline work processes. It is the purpose of these 'quality programs' to reduce over production, cut waste, and deliver products 'just-in-time' to customers.

In theory, these programs are beneficial for the companies implementing them. To a lesser degree, it can also be a positive influence to those who use the same techniques in their own personal lives.

What I'm interested in is why these quality programs tend to fail. I've been involved in Six Sigma and 5S programs when employed at various companies in the past. These programs, in my opinion, started with good intentions but were either misunderstood, mismanaged, or 'gamed'.

Misunderstood: Often, people's concept of Kaizen, Six Sigma and 5S, is limited to the replication of other companies' implementation of these programs. It is said that copying is the sincerest form of flattery. While that may be true, copying a wrong result will only end in another wrong result. Looking to other companies as an example, is a great start. But you should start by asking 'Why?' 'Why' does a company using Kaizen, Six Sigma and 5S... do so in the way that they do? Does it make sense to use the exact way one company uses it in your own company? Or, do you need to tweak the way you use the program to better fit your own company/work environment? You need to have a vision of what it is you want to achieve and not go about blindly making unnecessary changes. This will only confuse employees who are charged with maintaining the program and create a pessimistic response from them too.

Mismanaged: This is probably the biggest part of failure relating to Kaizen, Six Sigma and 5S. Like 'misunderstood' mentioned above, it goes one step further by oversimplifying, overdoing, and becoming entangled in the nuances of the quality program instead of addressing the aim of the quality program. An example of this is labeling and marking. You can tell when this is concurring by looking at the workspace in question. Is the area marked off in excess? Staplers lined off on desks... file cabinets lined off AND labeled 'File Cabinet'... etc. Are things labeled for the sake of labeling? Don't get me wrong, but when you label a label maker, you've exceeded your usefulness and entered the realm of the absurd.

Gamed: Gamed in terms of manipulation of the data to achieve better 'results'. Results that falsely show the quality program's results that are not accurate. Managers often try to manipulate charts and data to reflect a positive momentum towards a perceived end goal result. The purpose of Kaizen, Six Sigma and 5S is not to achieve perfection but to address inefficiency and wasted movement in the workplace. Implementation of Kaizen, Six Sigma and 5S are costly. When the programs get 'gamed' in this way, then the integrity and effectiveness of the programs must be called into question.

Comments are always welcomed!
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General Atomics wins $411 million Army contract

Written by
Nathan Max
July 11, 2012

POWAY — Poway-based General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has won a $411 million government contract to provide the U.S. Army with 29 Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles, the Defense Department announced Tuesday.

The aircraft, popularly referred to as drones, are scheduled to be completed and delivered to the military by March 2015. The contract also calls for 31 ground-control stations, 55 ground-data terminals, spare parts and ground-support equipment.

General Atomics plans to subcontract out the ground-control stations and ground-data terminals, company spokeswoman Kimberly Kasitz said.

In 2005, General Atomics won an Army contract to provide Extended/Range Multi-Purpose Unmanned Aircraft Systems, and since 2008 it has completed and delivered 50 Gray Eagle aircraft, Kasitz said. An additional 44 Gray Eagles are in development, meaning the Army has now ordered 123 of the unmanned aircraft from General Atomics.

Gray Eagles have accumulated more than 35,000 flight hours since first being deployed in 2008, Kasitz said. Gray Eagles have a maximum endurance of more than 30 hours, can operate up to 29,000 feet and can carry up to 1,075 pounds.

Gray Eagles are a long-range aircraft that are used for intelligence surveillance, reconnaissance, convoy protection, improvised-explosive-device detection, close air support, communications relays and weapons-delivery missions.

“Continued growth of the program is a testament to the reliability, durability and operational flexibility of the aircraft to the warfighter,” Kasitz said. “We’re pleased to be able to continue to support our Army customer in meeting both its short and long-term demands.”

CARPE DIEM - Companies Leaving California in Record Numbers

Professor Mark J. Perry's Blog for Economics and Finance

California currently ranks #49 among U.S. states for "business tax climate" (Tax Foundation) and #48 for for "economic freedom" (Mercatus). It shouldn't be any surprise then that companies are leaving the "Golden State" in record numbers this year (see chart above) for "golder pastures" and more business-friendly climates in other states.

From Joe Vranich:

"Today, California is experiencing the fastest rate of disinvestment events based on public domain information, closure notices to the state, and information from affected employees in the three years since a specialized tracking system was put into place. Out-of-state economic development officials are traveling through the state to alert frustrated business owners and corporate executives to their friendlier business climate versus California's hostility toward commercial enterprises.

* From Jan. 1 of this year through this morning, June 16, we have had 129 disinvestment events occur, an average of 5.4 per week (see chart above).
* For all of last year, we saw an average of 3.9 events per week.
* Comparing this year thus far with 2009, when the total was 51 events, essentially averaging 1 per week, our rate today is more than 5 times what it was then.

Our losses are occurring at an accelerated rate. Also, no one knows the real level of activity because smaller companies are not required to file layoff notices with the state. A conservative estimate is that only 1 out of 5 company departures becomes public knowledge, which means California may suffer more than 1,000 disinvestment events this year.

The capital directed to out-of-state or out-of-country, while difficult to calculate, is nonetheless in the billions of dollars. The top five destinations are (1) Texas, (2) Arizona, (3) Colorado, (4) Nevada and Utah tied; and (5) Virginia and North Carolina tied.

Based on the legislature’s recent rejection of business-friendly legislation and Sacramento’s implementation of additional regulations, signs are that California’s hostility towards business will only worsen. California is such fertile ground that representatives for economic development agencies are visiting companies to dissect our high taxes, extreme regulatory environment and other expenses to show annual savings of between 20 and 40 percent after an out-of-state move."

About the author...
Name: Mark J. Perry

Location: Washington, D.C., United States

Dr. Mark J. Perry is a professor of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan. Perry holds two graduate degrees in economics (M.A. and Ph.D.) from George Mason University near Washington, D.C. In addition, he holds an MBA degree in finance from the Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. Perry is currently on sabbatical from the University of Michigan and is a visiting scholar at The American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.

8 of 10 largest contractors have sizable operations in San Diego

WashingtonTechnology, the authoritative online magazine that monitors government contracts, has just released its list of the 100 biggest government contractors (complete list). Eight of the top 10 contractors have sizable operations in San Diego County, ranging from General Dynamics, which runs the NASSCO shipyard, to Lockheed Martin, which specializes in military electronics. The two top-10 companies that don't have big operations here are KBR and Hewlett Packard.

Most of these companies are have large operations here because of the presence of the military and defense industry. Most of the companies are growing, including Lockheed Martin, which is expanding from 617 employees to more than 800 workers.

Annual contracts of the 10 largest contractors
Lockheed Martin $17.3 billion
Northrop Grumman $10.8 billion
Boeing Co. $8.4 billion
Raytheon $6.2 billion
General Dynamics $5.5 billion
SAIC $5.2 billion
Hewlett-Packard $3.8 billion
L-3 Communications $3.8 billion
Booz-Allen Hamilton $3.7 billion
KBR $3.5 billion

By Gary Robbins
6:08 p.m., May 31, 2011


There's a lack of qualified machinists in San Diego. Several local shops are constantly looking to fill vacancies to no avail. There could be several reasons why its becoming harder to fill those open jobs; job security, below average wages, and the high cost of living in San Diego.

Job security. It is human nature to be afraid of the unknown. Machinists who currently hold jobs in this tough job market are less likely to walk away from those jobs, even if they're not happy. That's because they already know what to expect in their currently job. Switching to another company is a little risky, especially if it doesn't work out. They'll most likely join the 11%+ unemployed in California for a while to come.

Low wages. With the economy in shambles, a lot of companies are very conservative on paying out lucrative salaries. The bottom lines of companies are constantly being squeezed. They'd much rather pay a little extra in overtime than add to their long term payrolls. Machinists with a lot of experience won't be tempted to jump ship for less than what they're worth.

The high cost of living in San Diego. Let's face it... San Diego is a very expensive place to live. Even with the housing market bubble popped, its still relatively hard to rent or buy a place to live in the county on limited funds. Before the housing market crashed, people were starting to leave the area for other cities with a lower cost of living. That migration has contributed to a shortage of machinists. Those highly skilled machinists left are now able to pick and choose the better companies they want to work for. The lesser qualified machinists would still fall into the 'job security' and 'low wages' categories.

This all equates to not finding qualified machinists. Local shops need to offer better compensation packages for potential employees and be more aggressive in recruiting/retaining machinists.

NASSCO to lay off as many as 1,150



Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 10:42 p.m.

General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego — the last major shipbuilder on the West Coast — plans to eliminate one-fourth of its work force to cope with a prolonged slump in the industry, cutting as many as 1,150 positions.

The county’s largest manufacturing business said it has sent letters to 900 of its 4,100 workers, notifying them that they might be laid off starting in mid-July. About half of the 500 jobs held by subcontractors also might be cut.

“The potential work-force reduction is the result of a sustained downturn in the commercial and government shipbuilding markets that NASSCO addresses, as well as fluctuations in the Navy’s repair schedule,” Karl Johnson, a NASSCO spokesman, said Wednesday.

“It is possible that the (layoff) number could change if there is an increase in ship repairs,” he added. “Shipbuilding has always been a lagging indicator of the economy, and we’re still feeling the downturn.”

The impending layoffs would be the largest in 15 years for San Diego’s biggest waterfront union, Shipyard Workers Union Local 1998, which has about 2,300 members.

Although the downsizing had been anticipated for a year, the timing — unemployment in California remains in the double digits — is painful, said Robert Godinez, president of the local union, which is a branch of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers.

“It’s a massive layoff. It is going to impact the community quite a bit,” Godinez said. “Some of the employees are very upset, understandably so. It’s a change in economic well-being. They know the unemployment rate right now in California is high, and finding work is hard.”

To

Time to layoff some city employees!

San Diego has had several years of underfunded pensions for our city employees. On top of that, many are 'double-dipping', buying time in order to qualify for higher retirement payouts. To make matters worse, many city employees are overpaid. Below you'll find a pdf file which contains the salaries of the city's top employees for calendar year 2007. The salaries include base pay and overtime. It contains 84 pages with the lowest salary + overtime entry at $75,000.64.

Curious entries include page 7 (Lifeguard Chief) with a salary of $120,000+, page 8 (Lifeguard Sgt) $118,000+, page 11 (Lifeguard Sgt) $112,000, page 14 (Lifeguard Sgt) $108,000, and the list goes on. I understand the fire department and the police department both have hazardous jobs to do but why are so many of them on this 84 page list? Remember, the lowest salary here is $75,000.

"So, there I was..."

... chatting with a client outside of his machine shop, when a gentleman (copies of prints in hand) approached us to inquire about getting a quote for his job. As we were talking a few minutes earlier, we had noticed this same gentleman enter and exit a few other machine shops close by. Obviously he was shopping the job to several other shops in the area. My client, I'll call him 'Tom', politely took the prints and told the gentleman he'd take a look at them. After the gentleman left, we watched him enter yet another machine shop, Tom and I went into his shop. Just inside the door, Tom casually tossed the gentleman's prints into the garbage. He noticed the puzzled look on my face and said 'Those guys waste my time'. He explained that he gets several of those kinds of RFQs (request for quotes) a week from guys price shopping the area machine shops. Most are looking to get work done for nearly nothing...

Consequences are costly!

Yes, the machinists of Boeing are paying the price for their arrogant pro-union policies. Did they really think that they could push Boeing over and over again without paying a price or consequences? How much did they expect Boeing to bend over backwards before Boeing looked elsewhere to do business?

Well, it couldn't happen to a better group of people.

Boeing Swings to Loss, Announces Jobs Cuts
Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Kathryn Elizabeth Tuggle

Boeing, (BA: 43.21, -0.01, -0.02%) the Chicago, Ill.-based airframe manufacturer, reported a fourth-quarter loss of $56 million and 10,000 job cuts on Wednesday.

On the company's earnings conference call, CEO Jim McNerney said that Boeing will cut 10,000 jobs, which is about 6% of the company's work force. That's more than twice as many cuts as the company announced earlier this month.

The company attributed the loss to a well-publicized 58-day strike by its machinists, which led to fewer airplane deliveries and further delays on its 747 jumbo jet.

Machining and the economy...

I guess right now, many of you are probably wondering what the current and future domestic economic situation holds for you.

If you're an employer, you're concerned about future contracts, and getting paid for work already completed... not to mention if you will eventually have to let go of some of your employees. What do you do? It may be a little late, but one of the things I use to do when times were good was to always keep some sort of idea brewing on the back burner. When things got a little slow, I would devote some time to that idea. How to develop it, what my target market would be, how to get that product in the hands of potential consumers. And the list went on and on. The main thing you're concerned with is keeping those spindles going and the parts coming off the machines. When that stops, everyone is in a world of hurt.

Still on Strike...

The Machinists strike at Boeing continues into its second week. To get a more in depth look at why the Machinist Union went on strike, please read the article at .

Our domestic, as well as global markets, are in turmoil. And yet, these Boeing machinists somehow think that a strike strengthens their ability to bulldog Boeing into an unfavorable union contract. Its no wonder why Boeing is outsourcing their work to other countries, who have people more than willing to do the 'jobs Americans don't want to do'. It would not surprise me in the least if Boeing ends up sending nearly all of their work offshore, with the exception of those government contracts that require the work to be performed domestically. If and when that does happen, the unions will have no one to blame but themselves.

Boeing Workers Back Strike

This is what is wrong with unions in the United States. They've outlived their usefulness and have become a financial burden to manufacturers. Take this excerpt from an article I was reading today...

Boeing's three-year "best and final" offer included bonuses totaling at least $5,000, raises averaging 11 percent, pension increases and a 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment — $34,000 in average pay and benefit gains per employee, according to the company. (,2933,416361,00.html)

“Where do you guys all hang out?”

“Where do you guys all hang out?”

That was the question I was asked a few years ago by a young female recruiter for a large temporary agency. She had called on day when I wasn’t too terribly busy at my shop. Normally, I wouldn’t have had a lot of time to spend with non-business related calls but, like I said… I had a little extra time that day.

She started off the conversation by introducing herself and asking if I could help provide her some assistance in finding machinists to fill vacancies she currently had in her agency. The conversation went something like this…

Headhunter: Can you tell me, where do you guys all hang out?

Me: What do you mean?

Headhunter: I’m having a little trouble finding machinists in the area.

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