We've learned that our members are truly our most important asset and resource. Driven, over 25 years, to be an industry leader in precision metal fabrication we've learned that the livelihoods and developing careers of our people was our top priority.
Shortly after the start of the "Great Recession" of 2008 we realized that designing, fabricating and assembly of metal was only a function, or outcome, of what we our true passion was, the careers and success of our members. At that time it began with an intense focus on skills development and cross-training to make sure we could adapt and keep as many people working as the market dropped to unforeseen lows. Shifting members from one area to another, keeping livelihoods secure, was, for many days, an hour to hour occurrence.
Fast forward to today we continue our passion in developing careers by providing what we call "Oblitunity" or our obligation to provide career opportunity and growth for everyone at Du Fresne Manufacturing. This begins, on a daily basis, with our new Performance Development and Preview Process or "PPDP" to give each employee the ability to set and track their career goals for the coming year. No more trying to remember what happened months or a year later. Our PPDP leads the way by empowering our members and providing the tools and complete control to their career growth and advancement.
In 2013 we began working closely with White Bear Lake High Schools providing guidance to the Technical Education Department in the creation of groundbreaking new courses in manufacturing available to students in grades 9 through 12. To make sure area students are aware of the great career opportunities available to them we also created our "Career Shadowing" program that puts students in touch with Du Fresne members to not only see what it's like to work in manufacturing but to have a "2-way" conversation about how they developed their careers. In the next year we will provide educators and parents the same experience.
Through our cooperation and that of several other local manufacturing companies, White Bear Lake Schools received a $250,000.00 grant from the United Way to fund course development and acquisition of industry based "real world" machining centers for the students to train on. Students graduate with a deep understanding of the manufacturing process, from design through final inspection,(validation) providing "transferrable skills" that will be the basis of their careers.
But we haven't forgotten our commitment to technology. With our most recent success in receiving the Minnesota Performance Excellence award based on the Baldrige criteria from Performance Excellence Networks or PEN (previously known as Minnesota Council for Quality). We continue our partnership with Amada to provide state of the industry equipment including our new LC 2515 C1 AL Punch/Laser Combo and 2 new HG 1003 ATC auto tool load press brakes. Both machines virtually eliminate any set-up cost with all tooling remaining in the machine or loaded by the computer in less than 5 minutes!