YKK Stories

YKK (U.S.A.) Inc.’s Margaret Mimbs teaches at the company’s talent training center

March 14, 2019
Author: YKK
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Today we continue our series on International Women’s Day with an article about Margaret Mimbs, a 44 year veteran with YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. at its manufacturing center in Macon, Georgia.

Since March of 2018, Mimbs has been working as the senior training supervisor at the YKK (U.S.A.) Inc. Talent Education Center at its facility in Macon, Georgia. According to Mimbs, the education center, located next to the facility maintenance in the slide fastener plant, is currently used for training new hires since the company has experienced an influx of new employees within the past year. However, they plan to use it to train employees who work on the floor in the near future.

Having been with the company ever since it first opened its doors in 1974, Mimbs is more than qualified to train new employees. From 1974 to 1978, she was a floor lady for plastic fastener assembly. Then from 1980 to 1985, she was the shipping manager for the plastic fastener 2 plant. In 1986 to 1992, she served as the assembly manager for the plastic fastener 2CFN. Then from 1993 to 2004, she was the plastic fastener spooling manager, and from 2005 to 2017, she was the plastic fastener open and closed assembly manager.

Explaining the type of training that she does, Mimbs says, “On the first day, each employee is issued a locker for his or her personal belongings. We then give them a tour of the Ceridian scan station, the breakrooms and restrooms and where to park while in training. We also give them a tool container that is set up with tools needed during the training.

“Melissa Morin gives them an introduction to YKK. Then I start teaching them the guidelines and expectations, as well as 5S, which is a manufacturing method that uses five Japanese words that have been translated as sort, set in order, shine, standardize and sustain.

“Next, we give an introduction to all of the plants and show them how all of the plants affect the final product.

“I train them on fastener manufacturing, and I get into the parts of a zipper, the parts of a slider and making tape and chain connections using staples and tape, which is more of a hands-on experience. There is also a test on the parts of a zipper.

“On day two, I start getting more into hands-on training showing them the tools and instruments they will be working with.  I teach them the correct way to use picks, scissors and tape measures.  Micrometers are taught by Kenzie Bond.

“Next, I teach them how to read a ruler and the correct way to measure zippers. We also do hands-on training and an actual test. Then I teach them how to read a job card. There is a test on this as well where they learn how to sort zippers by product and length matching them to a job card.

“Day three is all about quality. Someone from our quality department explains about the types of claims and the cost per claim. This person also explains what is expected of an operator/ mechanic as far as the proper way to inspect their work and the importance of not deviating from their work instructions.

“I train on the types of defects on chain and zippers. We also have an actual test where they do sorting on defective packages that have been put together. We visit the labs, and usually Greg Alexander walks us through the different tests and testing machines.

“Robin Barnhill walks us through the dye lab and goes over everything from how they mix the dyes to the different types of testing they do to make sure our products meet the fire and water requirements.

“We also go out into the slide fastener plant to get hands on training on traceability scanning, making labels and proper inspection. And we train on counting and weighing the product by hand and on setting up the scales.

“There are plenty of power points, packets of sorted material and handouts on all products that are produced at YKK. We add new materials to this list every week on an ongoing basis.

“On the last day, the new hires are issued a tote box with tools that they will need on the job.

“At the end of each day, we 5S our work area and do a survey of that day.”

During the days where Mimbs is not teaching at the education center, she spends her time preparing lesson plans and getting materials ready for the next class, as well as conducting audits on employees who have completed the training.

She says that the training center was started several years ago for mechanics, but since Macon saw a need for training its operators, they started working on getting training materials together last January to train new employees.

When asked what she enjoys the most about working in the Talent Education Center, Mimbs says, “I like meeting new employees and teaching them the correct way to operate machinery and the importance of coming to work and doing their best every day by following the 25 Fundamental Behaviors set forth by YKK. But most of all, I appreciate them thanking me for the things they are taught during the classes.”