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Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing Collaborates with SCMEP to Increase Staff Knowledge

June 6, 2016

Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing Co., a leading manufacturer of specialty washers, shims, seals and gaskets, has recently undergone a major computer upgrade with new software and staff training. The company reached out to the South Carolina Manufacturing Extension Partnership who connected Phoenix Specialty with Optimized Offices, LLC to facilitate staff computer training.

In 2014, Phoenix Specialty had employees running multiple versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access on standalone desktop computers, and Novel GroupWise was used for email. The high cost of maintaining this environment prompted a review of alternatives. In searching for a solution, Microsoft Office 365 became the clear choice for the company, which also meant adopting a cloud based system for email, since the cost was significantly lower.

Staff training to ensure all users had the same working knowledge was essential. Optimized Offices, taught 11 one-hour classes on-site at the Phoenix Specialty location. Topics covered Windows 7, Outlook 2013, Word 2013, and Excel 2013. The customized on-site training showed positive improvements company-wide.

“The training approach was a huge success as it kept students fresh throughout the class and limited the amount of time employees were away from their work,” says John Bozard, Information Technology Manager at Phoenix Specialty Manufacturing Co. “The instructor’s approach following classes with one-on-one coaching in the employees’ work environment was also very successful. This allowed the instructor to see employees’ daily work set-up, and assist them on the spot with real work issues.”

As a result of the training, the need for IT help-desk support has been reduced, and trained employees have also reduced waiting time for Phoenix Specialty’s customers. Classroom exercises and desk-side coaching increased team member skill and speed. The company is now seeing team members open and close applications, move from application to application, and undo commands with ease.

Trained employees have reduced production waste and increased employee creativity and improvement efforts. The satisfaction of mastering new skills has also ignited individual efforts. For more information about the company and improved efficiency, visit