MRO Magazine

MTV for the Shop Floor

As the market for qualified job candidates continues to tighten, Canadian power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) companies are turning to new tools to turn on potential employees.Along with their U...


June 1, 2000
By Matt Carlson

As the market for qualified job candidates continues to tighten, Canadian power transmission/motion control (PT/MC) companies are turning to new tools to turn on potential employees.

Along with their U.S. counterparts, Canadian members of the Power Transmission Distributors Association (PTDA) have begun using a new videotape, Find Your Future: Careers in Industrial Power Transmission/Motion Control, as well as a printed/computer disk guide, Human Resources Solutions: Employee Recruitment and Selection, in their recruiting efforts. Both have been produced by the PTDA Educational & Scholastic Foundation, which seeks to promote knowledge, professional skills and productivity among PT/MC industry stakeholders.

The video is designed to build awareness of and interest in the PT/MC industry, while enticing new employees by emphasizing the dynamic, multifaceted and technology-driven nature of the business.

On an introductory level, the video defines power transmission and motion control and explains basic PT/MC products, systems and applications ranging from escalators to large, multi-function machines in manufacturing plants. Pointing to the industry’s $32-billion (U.S.) global sales in 1998, the video informs newcomers that “no industry on the planet has more impact on our daily lives than the PT/MC industry,” and “products and services we take for granted would not exist without PT/MC products.”

The video presents the PT/MC industry as a rewarding career field for individuals with interests in a variety of areas, including engineering, technology, problem solving, business management, sales and customer service. At the same time, the tape explains the different, yet complementary, roles of manufacturers and distributors. Industry veterans share their insight and experiences in the video, but comments from current younger employees are liberally sprinkled throughout the 18-minute presentation.

Created for the entire North American market, Careers in Industrial Power Transmission Motion Control has a strong Canadian flavour. Prominent in the video are employees of BC Bearing Engineers Ltd., including Penny Omns, who is vice-president of marketing and human resources of the Burnaby, B.C., based firm. She also is the president of the PTDA this year.

Already, Canadian Bearings Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont., has ordered copies of the tape for each of its 33 branches in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. “We’ve decided that each branch manager should have one to use in their recruitment efforts,” said Don Lewin, a Canadian Bearings vice-president who oversees the company’s operations in Quebec. “As an industry, we’re having problems attracting new employees. We really started to see it about a year ago.”

According to Lewin, PT/MC was once viewed as a “glory” industry, but with the current emphasis on information technology, the business–despite its highly technical nature–has lost prominence and lustre in the eyes of new workers.

“Because so many people think they should be in something related to electronics, we believe the tape is a good tool for each branch to have,” he added.

Industrial Equipment Co. Ltd. (IECO), a 24-branch distribution firm based in Delta, B.C., also is using the video to spread the word about the PT/MC industry through technical schools, as well as at its locations in Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

“We use the video for both training and recruiting,” said Bruce Martin, IECO’s vice-president of sales. “We find it very useful in introducing people to the PT industry and also in refreshing the memory of new employees.”

Meanwhile, Human Resources Solutions: Employee Recruitment & Selection is intended to help human resources and other managers at PT/MC firms create an overall recruitment plan as well as an employee selection strategy and objective.

The guide walks managers through the entire recruitment/selection process, including creating job specifications, writing and placing ads and finding qualified applications. It also offers suggestions for referrals, screening/interviewing, reference checking and making the job offer.

Included are a variety of easily adaptable templates, samples and tools on paper and diskette.

Several Canadian PTDA member firms, including Progressive Bearing and Hydraulic Ltd. of Red Deer, Alta., have begun using the guide to support their HR and recruitment efforts.

“We’ve been busy and looking for people,” said Don Westrup, Progressive’s president. “We’re counting on [the guide] being beneficial in the hiring process.”

Thanks to a grant from the PTDA Foundation, one copy of the video is available at no charge to each PTDA member firm. Additional copies are $14.95 (U.S.) for member companies. The cost of Human Resources Solutions is $49.95 to PTDA members and $69.95 to non-members.

For additional information on the video or guide, contact Beth Silas at PTDA, tel. (312) 876-9461 or e-mail bsilas@ptda.org. For more information on the PTDA Educational & Scholastic Foundation and its projects, contact Louise Madsen at tel. (312) 876-9461 or e-mail lmadsen@ptda.org.MRO

Matt Carlson is a freelance writer familiar with the PT distribution industry.