Making Sushi or Cars: Continuous Improvement Needed

Posted By: John Hindman, Director of Learning Services, Tooling U-SME on May 29, 2018

John Hindman

On a recent trip, I watched an in-flight video about Masaki Saito who started studying to be a sushi chef at age 18. This year, his New York restaurant Sushi Ginza Onodera received a second star for the 2018 MICHELIN Guide New York City. Despite being at the top of his game, Chef Saito said in the video, “I am still a student now.”

Learning never stops…even for a world-renowned chef.

That desire to learn – and teach – needs to be at the core of every organization that strives for excellence.

Each year the Association for Talent Development (ATD) issues its State of the Industry report. The 2017 report is a useful reference for benchmarking training and development efforts.

While trends indicate companies across many industries are investing more in learning and development, the manufacturing industry is lagging behind.

According to the report, organizations spent $1,273 per employee in 2016 on direct learning expenditure, up 1.8 percent from the previous year.

Drilling down, however, we see that manufacturers are investing only $461 per employee.

When it comes to direct learning expenditures as a percentage of payroll, manufacturers are spending only 1.2 percent compared to an overall investment of 3.5 percent across the board. That’s less than half of the average.

A similar trend is evident looking at the average number of formal learning hours (standalone hours not embedded in work activities). In 2016, learning hours per employee reached 34.1 hours in 2016, up from 33.5 hours in 2015. Again, manufacturers were well below, at only 22.1 hours.

These trends are concerning. The manufacturing industry is changing rapidly, with advanced technologies — automation, robotics, additive manufacturing, Smart Manufacturing — providing amazing opportunities for increased efficiency, improved quality, shorter cycle times, optimized energy, increase innovation and cost reduction.

To tap into this opportunity, manufacturers urgently need a workforce with the knowledge, skills and abilities to take advantage of these new technologies.

As we all know, recruiting employees with the right skills is difficult. Industry leaders know it’s critical to invest in training and development to not just meet the current needs, but be out in front of the competition.

Onboarding, a robust blended learning and development program, clear career pathways — these are all critical elements to excel in today’s challenging environment.

Whether making sushi or a car, a commitment to continuous learning is what differentiates the good from the great.

For best results, embrace a full lifecycle of training. As world-class manufacturers know, an ongoing standardized learning and development program that is methodical, visible and tied to the bottom line provides a competitive advantage for years to come.

To learn more, download our free report, 5 Reasons Training Must Go Beyond Onboarding.

Tags: "additive manufacturing", "Association for Talent Development", ATD, automation, "blended learning", "direct learning expenditure", manufacturing, "Masaki Saito", "MICHELIN Guide", onboarding, robotics, "Smart Manufacturing", "Sushi Ginza Onodera", "Tooling U-SME", "training and development"