Manufacturers Drive Productivity with a Skilled Workforce

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on July 31, 2018

Manufacturers Drive Productivity with a Skilled Workforce

Productivity improvements are one of the top challenges manufacturers face over the next three years, according to the latest Tooling U-SME Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Study.

Launched in the second quarter of 2018, the study indicated that 83 percent of respondents are going to be at least somewhat challenged by productivity improvements over the next three years, while 41 percent are going to be very or extremely challenged.

Productivity isn’t an isolated issue. It’s directly affected by the ability to find skilled new hires, upskilling the incumbent workforce and retaining employees – three of the top challenges listed by study respondents.

It’s clear that a companies’ ability to find and execute on improvement opportunities is constrained without access to skilled talent and investment in the incumbent workforce. The good news is, companies can control the majority of actions that will bring on the right people with the right skill sets.

Taking Control of the Skills Gap

For example, a world-leading ball bearing manufacturer had ongoing problems with low productivity, inconsistent on-time delivery and a high scrap rate in its aerospace and high-tech divisions. After partnering with Tooling U-SME to develop a formalized, consistent workforce training program, the company:

  • Successfully implemented training solutions across various locations.
  • Accelerated the onboarding process.
  • Increased productivity and on-time deliveries across all divisions.
  • Reduced scrap and associated costs.

As the company’s divisional trainer put it, “Training contributes to the overall success of reducing scrap, while increasing productivity and on-time delivery. And employees appreciate that we’re investing in them. It’s a win-win.”

Another company, a medical device manufacturer, turned to Tooling U-SME after its existing training model strained productivity by taking employees off the floor. After partnering with us to create a proactive training solution, the company was able to speed up its onboarding process, train inexperienced new employees on-site, and gain buy-in from all levels of the organization — increasing productivity in the process.

We also learned that the true loss of productivity may be worse than the study reveals. That’s because only 32 percent of respondents state that they track lost productivity costs such as machine downtime, safety issues and scrap as a cost of employee turnover. A myriad of studies show that a key element of employee retention is as simple as investing to train and upskill incumbents: building the skills your company needs and reducing turnover for a positive impact on overall productivity.

Be sure to check back next week to hear about the impact of scrap and rework on productivity.

Subscribe to the Tooling U-SME Accelerate Blog and you’ll receive an advanced copy of the complete Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Study on Monday, September 10.

To read more about the results of our Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Study, click on the stories below:

New Technology Requires Advanced Workforce Training (Aug 9, 2018)

Workforce Study: Formalized Training Reduces Scrap and Rework (Aug 14, 2018)

Proper Training a Must for Employee Safety (Aug 21, 2018)

Product Quality Rises with Increased Workforce Training (Aug 28, 2018)


Tags: onboarding, "on-time delivery", productivity, "scrap reduction", "skills gap", SME, "Tooling U-SME", "workforce training program", "workforce development"