Improve Manufacturing with Seco Training at Every LevelTrain your existing workforce to combat the skilled labor shortage and keep your manufacturing processes moving
As the world moves through the post-pandemic era, manufacturing employers continue to grapple with arguably the most profound labor shortage in decades. Where retooling once applied to machinery and physical plants, the term now applies – more than ever – to training and retraining the workforce. Finding new operators to train and teaching older workers new tricks has never been more important to manufacturing success.
Simply putting workers on the shop floor and showing them which buttons to push is not going to solve the employment, retention and skills issues manufacturers face. To get and keep the best people, employers need to provide a deeper level of information about the job, the employee’s role and how the individual contributes to the organization’s goals and processes.
Training and education, then, is more than a method or means of conveying information. It’s a forward-looking, holistic employee process, imagined from the outset with the end results in mind. Clear and detailed work and role descriptions are as necessary as operational checklists. Manufacturers must now be seen as “learning companies” with an organizational bent toward continuing education and training. Employee training and education should no longer be seen by employers as something that has to be done, but something that is desired.
While technology and the pandemic’s lingering effects continue to impact and influence the ways and means of training – learning management systems, inter- and intra-corporate collaborative efforts, remote and traditional classrooms as well as blended learning – there are some considerations that are common to virtually all training scenarios.
Instructors are paramount and can make or break your best laid training aspirations. Instructors are the conduit and means of knowledge transfer, and their importance can’t be overstated. For any training on any level to be successful, the right person possessing the right experience and teaching qualifications and temperament must be at the head of the class.
For multinational companies, deliver the training material in the local language. Training presentations with a translator lose their natural flow and reduce the give and take necessary for sound learning. Additionally teaching in the local language is an excellent icebreaker that opens a room and puts people at ease. In those situations where training is being supplied to a client, it is a way of showing customers they are valued and respected. And while on the topic of customers, it is especially important to understand what their customers are doing and crafting training programs that will meet those needs down your customer’s supply chain.
Large companies with numerous locations also need consistency in their training. The employee in Brussels must be hearing and learning the same thing that is being presented to the London office. Though localized in terms of presentation, the content must be standardized across the organization. Small companies, on the other hand, can get by with very customized training.
While there will be much attention given to train and onboard incoming workers and those rejoining the workforce, seasoned veterans also need to be included in a company’s training matrix. The current employer/employee pact is moving toward mutual investment rather a simple quid pro quo – money-for-labor arrangement. The physics of manufacturing are essentially the same, but materials, technology, applications and processes continue to change at a remarkable rate. Employee training should be viewed and valued in the same way as preventive maintenance for machines. Regular learning keeps workers abreast of developing trends and practices and, ultimately, reduces downtime by ensuring an accomplished, knowledgeable workforce capable of handling unanticipated situations.
Keeping operators “trained up” also sends an important message in today’s job market. It tells those working on the shop floor they are valued, valuable and worth investing in.
Training and education, obviously, cost money in a variety of ways: facilities, systems and training materials; instructor fees and salaries; idle machine time as operators learn or retool their skills. With increasing demand on output and decreasing margins, it’s understandable that employers would look hard at expenses not obviously and overtly related to the bottom line. But that’s where a second look is in order.
There is a direct connection and definite ROI on workforce training. Experts say, “if you think training is too expensive, consider the alternative.” The alternative is increased inefficiency, a breakdown in the production process or injury – quite possibly, serious injury. Without a deliberate, forward-thinking and consistent training regimen, workplace stagnation is the best-case scenario.
The most effective entry point in workforce training is collaboration with an experienced partner. The Seco Technical Education Program (STEP) provides holistic modular training with focused classes that helps your staff gain greater knowledge on a wide range of topics from manufacturing basics to new production techniques and advanced classes on operational and machining excellence.
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