Regional Sales Manager of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ross Wegryn-Jones test-drives THORS training. Excerpts from our conversation with him.
What are your day-to-day responsibilities at Mitsubishi?
As a Regional Sales Manager at Mitsubishi, I handle gear machine tool sales; I am in charge of regional sales which is one-third of USA and Canada.
Could you give me a brief synopsis of your professional experience?
In 1995, I worked as a Manufacturer’s Representative for an independent agency in the state of Michigan. We sold multiple product lines, which included work holding, cutting tools, tooling and even some machine tools. In 2001, I went independent, partnered with another gentleman- he took West Michigan, I took East Michigan. He handled several product lines that put us in a position to call on automotive manufacturers. So I was selling cutting tool and machine tool solutions up until 2009. In 2009, I was subjected to two bankruptcies. That was when I started working for QC American, which was an importer of Chinese gear grinding machines and Italian gear measuring machines. They sent me to a lot of schools to learn about the gear world, which is rather different from the standard manufacturing practices. That was my first in-depth exposure to the gear industry. I then went to work for AA Gear and Manufacturing in Michigan. In 2014, I started working for Mitsubishi.
What made you think you wanted training? What was your initial response to THORS eLearning?
In this case I benefitted from my boss Tom Kelly who really pulled the trigger on this (THORS eLearning courses) to get the Mitsubishi group interested. Frankly, I left it for a little while because I wanted to learn about the Mitsubishi product first. I jumped in after the original contract had expired. You graciously extended the time limit though. The interesting thing about the gear courses you take at AGMA is it will teach you about gears but very rapidly. The one thing that stands out about THORS courses is that when you take your time and read it and make notes, the difference between single flank and double flank role checkers? Hell now I know what that is! There are gaps in traditional coverage. The terminology is good to review. You’ve got the graphics and the videos tie it all together.
Did you fit THORS learning into your work schedule or did you complete it on personal time?
At home, lunch breaks, sometimes during working hours (when there is down time), airports, hotel rooms, on the road, yes to all of those. I spent 8-9 hours a week approximately, possibly more. It always lets me pick up where I left off across any device, that’s really neat.
Do you find yourself approaching tasks differently after taking the courses, and if yes, how?
Yes, I do. Knowing whether we have a forging or a casting or how the part came to be or where it’s applied, I have a little bit more knowledge now and know how to apply it. One thing about the gear business is there doesn’t seem to be one person who knows everything. The gear community is made up of little pockets of knowledge who don’t necessarily share with one another. With any sales profession, knowing a little bit about a lot of things is good but when you can come across a course that allows you to dive deeper where you need to, that’s very special and it gives you an edge. You can spend as much or as little time you want to on this course.
Has your work efficiency improved since taking the courses?
I would say my efficiency went up by 5% right away.
If yes, can you estimate how much time you’re saving?
I am saving 5% of my time because of the increased efficiency.
Would you recommend THORS to others? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much would you rate THORS eLearning?
Hands down, no question, yes! In fact, when I was doing an install recently down in Tulsa, Oklahoma I noticed that they piled up a lot of young, inexperienced guys with our technicians during the install of those machines to train them on how they work; how to set them up. There seemed to be a gap between the company expectations and the sophistication of the workforce with regard to gears. So, some of their associates would be ideal candidates for you, no question. In terms of rating, I’d definitely give it a 10!
How do you see THORS helping the following?
a. Gear industry professionals: I think it would help because they would have their fingers on an information resource. Continuous education is a very important way to refresh your memory and get grounded. You become routine, you think you know it but when you find yourself challenged by a continuing education course, you start remembering the things you had forgotten. Something like a THORS course can help increase knowledge and thereby impact your productivity.
b. Sales professionals: In the sales profession, you have to know a little bit about a lot of different things. If you have ever felt embarrassed or not quite prepared or weak in a particular area, this is your opportunity to brush up. It improves your confidence as a sales person. It gives the customer a little comfort that you are looking out for their best interests because you understand what they are trying to do.
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