Workforce Training: A Must in the Age of Advanced Technology

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME on July 09, 2018

A current misconception is that automation always leads to job elimination. Industry Week refutes this oft-repeated fallacy in an article about Minnesota-based Protolabs , which — despite the fact that it boasts millions of dollars’ worth of 3D-printing hardware — creates scores of jobs.

In fact, Protolabs added 300 jobs organically in 2017, a 17-percent increase. “Digitization makes things scalable, lower cost and much faster, but we still need people to run our process,” explains Protolabs CEO Vicki Holt in the article.

Therein lies the catch: In order for people to run new processes with advanced technology, they need to receive workforce training. Put another way, companies must invest in workforce training to take advantage of advanced technology.

Truth be told, technology development is accelerating at a much faster pace than people development. Manufacturers often purchase a new piece of equipment, then take advantage of only a fraction of its capabilities — because they haven’t invested in the training needed to ensure employees working with the machine become experts in setting up, operating and maintaining it.

Take 3D printing, for example. It’s a fast-growing technology that everyone’s talking about, which may prompt a manufacturer to add it to its production arsenal. Yet only a small number of that company’s employees may understand it, limiting its contribution to productivity and financial gains. To truly benefit the company, the technology must be understood by all the employees who touch it, including those in design, engineering, programming, quality and inspection, and maintenance. All of them need workforce training.

Training your entire workforce in the advanced technology you invest in has multiple benefits. Not only does it help your company compete in a global economy, it can provide your staff with a much higher sense of job satisfaction — which can improve their motivation toward their work. This reduces employee turnover and increases productivity, which directly improves profitability and your bottom line.

To take full advantage of your advanced technology investment, you must also fully invest in your workforce. To find out how, give us a call at 866.706.8665.

Tags: "3D printing", "3D-print hardware", "advanced technology", automation, "Industry Week", Protolabs, "Tooling U-SME", "Vicki Holt", workforce