Are You Part of the Industrial Evolution?

Posted By: John Hindman, Director of Learning Services, Tooling U-SME on October 25, 2017

What will manufacturing look like in five years? Ten years?

Attend FABTECH in November to find out. With more than 1,700 exhibitors spread out over 750,000 square feet of space and 500 new products, advanced technology will be at the forefront of this year's show—in state-of-the-art machinery, trendsetting sessions, and even a new pavilion dedicated to 3D/Additive Manufacturing.


Manufacturers attend shows like FABTECH because they know they must invest in these new technologies to stay competitive—but what good is a brand-new machine if there's no one to program, run or maintain it?

We've been talking about the skills gap for a number of years—to the point where maybe those words are starting to lose their urgency—but the problem is only getting worse. The confluence of reshoring, retirements, the narrowing pipeline, and all this new technology is creating a perfect-storm labor shortage for U.S. manufacturers.

Getting workers up to speed quickly on new equipment is vital to attaining ROI, but that's not a long-term solution. Training can't be looked at as a one and done task. Long-term, measureable success depends on becoming what's called a High-Impact Learning Organization, or HILO. This happens when companies strategically create a learning culture and adopt organizational values, conventions, processes, and practices that encourage individuals—and the organization as a whole—to increase knowledge, competence, and performance.

We like to look at this transformation as a series of best practices, that, when adopted, result in a sustainable program that produces repeatable, measurable results. Having a good blended-learning program is at the core of this process. For example, one of the early steps is to go through the task of defining job roles, figuring out exactly what workers need to know and what they need to do. Only then you can look at what methodologies will best fit your learners.

The output can be many things, depending on many factors, but it’s critical to first define job roles and understand the exact knowledge and skills necessary for each. Having a set standard of accuracy for each person in whatever they do provides accountability and success metrics and assures that you're training individuals in a way that will ultimately reflect on their performance of the job itself.

This is especially true with all the new technology that's being adopted. Worker competencies are changing, and training has to evolve with it, combining the new with the old—old meaning that all-important tribal learning. However, if we don't have these programs in place in the next three to five years, companies are going to be scrambling. A lot of that intellectual knowledge is just waiting to walk out that door—and even a brand-new, state-of-the-art machine won't replace it.

Are you ready to turn YOUR organization into a HILO? Attend FABTECH and visit Tooling U-SME in Booth A3558 to talk with our team about your learning and development needs. Also, don't miss the two presentations listed below, which will give you the tools to get started.

As a bonus, visit these links to attend the expo for FREE or receive 30% off your conference registration—which includes full access to the exhibits plus learning opportunities on the show floor.

Mission Critical: Tackling the Manufacturing Skills Gap—Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME

Accelerating Workforce Performance Through Best Practices in Learning & Development—John Hindman, Director, Learning Services, Tooling U-SME

Tags: "blended learning", FABTECH, "skills gap", "training best practices", "workforce development"