A US-based metal fabrication job shop is taking a new approach to hiring staff, in response to skilled labor shortages, preferencing work ethic and attitude over existing skillset.
Derek Hammer, President of Hammer MetalWerks, and Erin Hammer, Vice President and Director of Human Resources have found that with the right technology, you can train and upskill an employee with a good attitude, which benefits them and the business.
“Our laser operator and brake press operator had both never used those machines in their life before working here. But they were intelligent, familiar with computer systems, and had a positive attitude to learning, so we hired them based on that,” said Derek.
Hammer MetalWerks provides small-to-medium production runs and parts for a huge range of industries, from construction, to healthcare, entertainment, attractions, military, and government.
“Rather than looking for highly skilled – and more expensive – operators, which are in short supply, we looked for technology that could make the operator’s job easier, and help them get up to speed faster,” says Derek.
Hammer MetalWerks provides small-to-medium production runs and parts for a huge range of industries, from construction, to healthcare, entertainment, attractions, military, and government
Hammer chooses ToolBox
One technology the Hammers chose to help their new staff, and the overall efficiency of the job shop, was ToolBox, by Tempus Tools. ToolBox is multi-functional laser cutting quoting software that is calculation-based and runs on a Software as a Service (SaaS) model. It can be set up with information on material price, cutting time, labour, and other relevant information, to generate quotes quickly and accurately.
“ToolBox has been highly valuable for us. It provides work orders to the shop floor with lots of details that the operators don’t have to find or calculate themselves. One example for us is that sheet sizes are all metric, and we use imperial gauges in the US – which can often lead to errors if not converted correctly,” explains Derek, whose business operates a 3kW fiber laser machine.
“Moreover, 11 gauge aluminium is not the same thickness as 11 gauge steel, and our laser machines are all metric, so having all the right measurements through ToolBox reduces the risk of any errors.”
ToolBox can provide production information in label form, pictured, which Hammer MetalWerks uses to show useful data to help operators perform their job faster and more accurately
“Additionally, ToolBox is very user-friendly, so staff that are used to working with computers in a broad range of contexts can pick up the program quickly and begin working with it.”
Tempus Tools CEO, Bart Jesman, says it’s rewarding to see the software benefitting forward-thinking job shops like Hammer MetalWerks. “We’ve designed ToolBox to provide benefits to job shops of all shapes and sizes. What Derek has done is take this a step further and used it to improve his hiring process, by making the operator’s job easier – it’s an intelligent approach.”
In addition to metal fabrication and laser cutting, Hammer MetalWerks has a unique advantage over most job shops, with the broad range of additional services and secondary processes it provides, including design, bending, welding, powder coating, packaging, tapping, rivets, hardware, and more, all from the one place.
“With so many secondary processes, it’s so helpful that we can quote them all using ToolBox, and they can all be included in the work order that goes out to the shop floor,” says Derek.
“Additionally, the work order can be sent to our label printer, including a thumbnail of each item, to provide a visual cue to our shop floor staff, to further enhance the accuracy and efficiency of their work. It really helps avoid mix-ups on the shop floor.”
Updates and support
Derek adds that the support from the Tempus Tools team has been outstanding, collaborative, and helpful.
“The Tempus Tools team is always open to feedback, and they use this to help develop new features that make ToolBox better for job shops like ours. But they’ll also help with general questions we have – and they have experienced staff to draw upon for industry knowledge,” he says.
“With the skilled labor shortages in the US – and common issues around the world – having the right technology is crucial. We now hire employees that fit well with our work culture and have a good attitude – and it’s working out well for our business,” concludes Derek.