Study: Workforce training decreases downtime

Posted By: Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME on September 04, 2018

Workforce training decreases downtime

Productivity losses due to unplanned equipment shutdowns are detrimental to all manufacturers.

While downtime is most often associated with equipment breakdowns, it also encompasses any unplanned event that causes your manufacturing process to stop -- machine repair, poor operator setup, operator errors, inadequate production planning, or a shortage of qualified operators.

You can decrease downtime caused by any of these factors with proper workforce training — improving your bottom line in the process. Investing in a formalized training program is a small price to pay for greater productivity and machine reliability.

Impending skills gap

Lack of qualified operators ties back to the skills crisis caused by retirements of baby boomers and the corresponding lack of skilled replacements in the pipeline.

More than a third of respondents to Tooling U-SME’s latest Industry Pulse 2018: Manufacturing Workforce Study indicate that more than 20 percent of their workforce will be eligible for retirement over the next three years, with several respondents putting the number as high as 50 percent. Adding to the impending problem is the discovery that 85 percent of respondents are very or extremely challenged by finding skilled new hires, and 64 percent are very or extremely challenged by upskilling their incumbent workforce. This underscores the urgent need to address the skills gap with consistent, formalized training.

Changing workforce

As an example, a leading power company was recently challenged by a changing workforce, which saw veteran employees retiring and inexperienced workers joining the staff. After Tooling U-SME created manufacturing essentials training for workers in new technical roles, the power company was able to address competency gaps and decrease downtime.

In another example, a medical device manufacturer was experiencing a skills gap as its veteran employees retired. The company’s existing training model added to downtime and strained productivity by taking employees off the floor. Partnering with Tooling U-SME, the company integrated new-hire training into its onboarding process, allowing it to hire employees with little or no experience — yet get them onto the shop floor quickly. This reduced equipment downtime and increased productivity.

The most critical factor facing manufacturers is a skilled workforce. Without skilled new hires, an upskilled incumbent workforce and effective onboarding, employers may struggle to address the other challenges they face, such as downtime. To find out how we can help you decrease downtime via workforce training, call 866.706.8665.

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

Tags: downtime, "Industry Pulse: 2018 Manufacturing Workforce Study", "manufacturing skills gap", "productivity losses", "Tooling U-SME", "workforce training"