Ultra Electronics Maritime Systems has earned an international reputation for developing and manufacturing undersea surveillance systems for ships and submarines, and “Through The Earth” (TTE) communications and signalling for government and private sector customers.
For years, SOLIDWORKS® 3D design tools have helped Maritime Systems maintain its place on the leading edge. Its designers create the drawings for parts and tools they build in house or outsource, with a focus on electro-mechanical devices and configuration management.
As Chief Technology Director for Maritime Systems, a company committed to both using and creating advanced technology, Dr. Fred Cotaras knows the importance of having highly skilled people who are continually learning. It’s why Maritime Systems invested in a SOLIDWORKS training needs assessment and analysis offered by Javelin Technologies.
“We’ve invested in SOLIDWORKS and the subscription service so we have to make sure we know how to use it to its fullest,” Dr. Cotaras says. “The analysis Javelin did helped us understand where different people stood and how to get everyone up to the same speed.”
Onsite assessment leads to customized training
On assessment day, Javelin’s Alin Vargatu visited Maritime’s SOLIDWORKS users, made up of five full-time users and six or seven others who use it 50 percent of the time.
“Everyone was quite impressed with his depth of knowledge,” Dr. Cotaras says. “He was able to observe and offer good suggestions right on the spot.”
The assessment turned into a custom plan for training that could be executed over 12 months. Two groups of eight did joint classroom and on-the-job training. They had class together in the morning then went back to work, with the Javelin instructor walking around to help people apply what they’d learned, answer questions, and assist with tips for working faster and smarter.
“The reviews of the Javelin instructors were very strong,” Dr. Cotaras says. “People sometimes come back from a training course and tell you it was a waste of time. No one said that. They said it was excellent and especially liked the split of class time and over-the-shoulder time.”
Dr. Cotaras appreciated that arrangement just as much, since no one was away from his or her desk for long periods of time. He also watched his staff automate processes they used to do manually and perform tasks that once took several hours in just a few minutes.
The confidence to call
His people are also more likely to take advantage of Javelin’s tech support. Before training, they didn’t have the knowledge or confidence to dig into higher level technical questions that would help them work more efficiently. Dr. Cotaras says that today, the designers are eager to call to say, “This doesn’t seem right. I remember there’s a way to make this happen but I need help finding it again.”
He also says this confidence has a tie to the bottom line.
“When they seek help and resolve issues quickly, they make decisions quickly and keep creating. Long term, this keeps our business efficient and healthy.”
Catching the training bug
Some of the staff caught the training bug and took a number of Javelin courses, and several are interested in pursuing SOLIDWORKS certification. Maritime Systems subscription with Javelin includes free access to SOLIDWORKS testing and certification to help users become Certified SOLIDWORKS Professionals (CSWPs).
Dr. Cotaras notes that getting involved in the SOLIDWORKS community and being part of the dialogue is important, and that being able to get training and talk to others is the only way to be effective. He also says the training has contributed to boosting morale and confidence among the staff.
“Our employees have welcomed the training because they see it as a commitment from us to help them execute in their jobs. Three things make up a business: tools, processes, and people. You can’t invest in tools and processes and forget to invest in people. It’s an important part of the triangle.”