Product Quality Rises with Increased Workforce Training
Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on
August 28, 2018
Product quality is a critical competitive issue and a never-ending challenge for manufacturers. But just how big of a challenge is it expected to be in the next three years?
According to Tooling U-SME’s Industry Pulse 2018: Manufacturing Workforce Study, 80 percent of respondents indicated that quality improvements will be at least somewhat challenging over the several years. In a related response, 83 percent indicated that productivity improvements will also be at least somewhat challenging — which has the potential to impact quality since many productivity methods and tools are targeted at improving overall quality as well.
Respondents indicated that a lack of basic knowledge was a significant contributor to quality issues. Inspection, measurement, and testing, GD&T, lean, Six Sigma, and continuous improvement continue to be training topics that challenge the manufacturing workforce. And with 41% of respondents agreeing that their company trains people to develop the right skills, manufacturers have a significant opportunity to improve training and development efforts to develop the needed skills.
One tier-one automotive precision engineering company was struggling with a high rate of product defects and returns, a poor rate of on-time deliveries, and an ill-defined career path for employees. Training was taking place off-site, which was expensive and inconvenient. After partnering with Tooling U-SME to develop a comprehensive training program that addressed knowledge gaps, the company reduced its defect rate by 60 percent, improved customer satisfaction, and enhanced employee morale and teamwork. According to the company’s general manager, “The results have been amazing. We’ve improved performance across the board.”
Decreasing the cost of quality
In another example, a truck, bus and construction equipment manufacturer had been experiencing a high cost of quality due to a lack of knowledge about new technologies and procedures. Working together, Tooling U-SME created a comprehensive, incentive-based program to train employees for advancement and prequalify them for specific job roles, the company reduced the cost of quality to $0 by saving more than $40,000 in scrap in the first year, decreasing onboarding time of trained technicians from nine months to one, and increasing employee satisfaction and morale.
Clearly, a skilled workforce is the most critical factor facing manufacturers. Without skilled new hires, upskilled incumbent workers, and effective onboarding, employers may struggle to address the other challenges they face—such as quality.
To find out how we can help you improve quality at your company, call 866.706.8665.
Subscribe to the Tooling U-SME Accelerate Blog and you’ll receive an advanced copy of the complete Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Report on Monday, September 10.
To read more about the results of our Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Study, click on the stories below:
Manufacturers Drive Productivity with a Skilled Workforce (July 31, 2018)
Workforce Study: Formalized Training Reduces Scrap and Rework (Aug 14, 2018)
Proper Training a Must for Employee Safety (Aug 21, 2018)
"continuous improvement", "Industry Pulse 2018: Manufacturing Workforce Study", Lean, productivity, Quality, "Six Sigma", training