Posts

Learn the difference between skills development and training in manufacturing, how they are important, and how the management of them can be improved through continuous learning methodologies and emerging technology.

At first glance, training and skills development seem synonymous and are often used interchangeably, but they have different purposes and goals. However, despite these differences, both are equally important for every organization, especially in the case of the manufacturing industry. According to Training Magazine, 57% of manufacturing organizations reported training and workforce development budget increases to address the widening skills gap and the skilled labor shortage.

the difference between skills development and training in manufacturing

At the most basic level, training is the process companies use to build the skills of new employees so they’re well-equipped to perform the role that they were hired for. While skills development, on the other hand, includes ongoing education, mentoring, and professional experiences that help employees grow into future roles and opportunities.

Both are extremely valuable to overall organizational growth and success, however, it’s important to apply them at the right time and in the right way. Read more on both skills development and training in manufacturing, why they are important, and how they can be improved and enhanced through the proper application of learning technology:

What is Skills Development in Manufacturing

Skills development goes beyond training by aiming to enhance a broader set of competencies and capabilities. It focuses on building a more well-rounded and adaptable workforce encompassing not only the acquisition of specific skills, but also the improvement of problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, creativity, adaptability, and continuous learning.

Skills development in manufacturing refers to the process of enhancing the knowledge, abilities, and competencies of individuals involved in the manufacturing process. It involves providing training and education to workers, engineers, and technicians to improve their technical, operational, and problem-solving skills. By providing training and development opportunities, manufacturing organizations can ensure that their workforce possesses the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively and efficiently.

skills management and training software for manufacturing

Many manufacturing industries face a shortage of skilled workers. Skills development programs help bridge the gap by training existing employees or new hires in the required competencies.

Overall, skills development in manufacturing is crucial for maintaining competitiveness in a rapidly changing industry. It ensures that the workforce remains adaptable, skilled, and capable of meeting the evolving demands of modern manufacturing processes.

Pro Tip

Implementing skills management software programs allow manufacturing organizations to digitize and effectively track worker skills, development progress, and intelligently assign work based on skills competencies, improving work allocation and workforce utilization.

A

What is Training in Manufacturing

Training in manufacturing primarily focuses on imparting specific knowledge, skills, or information to individuals. It often involves structured and organized programs designed to teach employees how to perform specific tasks or operate machinery and equipment. Training is often of shorter duration and may be task-specific or role-specific. It is designed to quickly bring employees up to a certain proficiency level in their current job.

The specific type of training required in manufacturing depends on the roles and responsibilities of the individuals involved, the company’s processes, and the industry in which they operate. Training in manufacturing is essential for several reasons:

  • Safety: Manufacturing processes often involve machinery, equipment, and materials that can be hazardous. Proper training ensures that employees understand and follow safety protocols, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Quality Control: Quality in manufacturing is a critical, essential factor. Training programs teach employees how to maintain consistent product quality through accurate measurements, inspections, and adherence to quality standards.
  • Operational Efficiency: Training helps employees become more efficient in their tasks, reducing downtime, minimizing waste, and optimizing manufacturing processes.
  • Technology: Manufacturing is becoming increasingly technology-driven. Training equips employees with the skills to operate and maintain advanced machinery and systems.
  • Productivity: Engaged workers tend to be more productive, contributing to increased output and profitability for the manufacturing company.
  • Compliance: Manufacturing is subject to various regulations and industry standards. Training ensures that employees understand and comply with these requirements, avoiding legal and regulatory issues.

Effective training programs are designed to align with the organization’s goals and objectives, ensuring that the workforce is well-prepared and capable of contributing to the success of the manufacturing operations.

In summary, training in manufacturing is a subset of skills development, with a narrower and more specific focus on teaching job-related skills and knowledge. Skills development, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive and ongoing process that aims to develop a well-rounded and adaptable workforce capable of meeting the evolving challenges of the manufacturing industry. Both training and skills development are important for the success of a manufacturing organization, and they often complement each other in the development of a skilled and competent workforce.

How Can Technology Improve Manufacturing Skills Development and Training

Technology can significantly enhance manufacturing skills development and training by making the process more efficient, effective, and accessible. Incorporating these technological advancements into manufacturing skills development and training can lead to a more skilled and adaptable workforce, increased safety, reduced training costs, and improved overall manufacturing efficiency.

For example, technology enables experts to remotely assist and guide trainees through complex tasks. Workers can wear smart glasses or use mobile devices to share live video streams and receive real-time instructions. AI-driven connected worker solutions can assist in creating personalized learning paths for trainees based on the work they do, their progress, and their learning style.

Smart connected worker platforms, Learning Management Systems (LMS), and mobile apps can provide access to a wide range of training materials, including video tutorials, interactive modules, and assessments. These platforms allow workers to learn at their own pace and on their schedule, reducing the need for expensive and time-consuming in-person training.

Augmentir is the world’s leading, smart, connected worker solution using the foundational AI technologies underpinning ChatGPT to enhance manufacturing training, onboarding, and skills development. Leading manufacturing organizations are using our smart, connected worker suit and AI-driven insights to foster environments of continuous learning, and make skills development and training processes more personalized, accessible, and effective.

Schedule a live demo to learn why manufacturing leaders are choosing us to improve the training lifecycle with digital skills management tools, real-time insights, and more.

 

See Augmentir in Action
Get in Touch for a Personalized Demo

Learn how manufacturers combat the manufacturing skilled labor shortage and close skills gaps with an Augmented Connected Workforce (ACWF).

An Augmented Connected Workforce (ACWF) offers manufacturing and other industrial organizations a powerful solution to combat the ever-worsening skilled labor shortage and skills gap. According to a report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, an estimated 2.1 million manufacturing jobs could go unfilled by 2030 and the cost of those missing jobs could potentially total $1 trillion in 2030 alone.

augmented connected workforce acwf manufacturing

By integrating advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), connected worker platforms, and other emerging solutions manufacturers can enhance the capabilities of their existing workforce and bridge skill gaps. Connected worker tools offer real-time monitoring of your frontline workforce, ensuring seamless operations. Moreover, connectivity enables remote collaboration, allowing experts to assist frontline workers from anywhere in the world. This interconnected ecosystem empowers workers with the tools they need to succeed and attracts new talent by showcasing a commitment to innovation and technology-driven growth.

Through an ACWF, manufacturers can effectively combat the manufacturing skilled labor shortage and close the skills gap while driving productivity, innovation, and remaining competitive. Read more about ACWF in manufacturing below:

Implementing an ACWF in Manufacturing

A critical element of transitioning from a traditional workforce to an Augmented Connected Workforce (ACWF) is implementing and adopting new technologies and processes. Here are a few steps that can help with the adoption of ACWF technologies and smooth transitions in industrial settings:

  • Step 1: Assess Current Processes – Organizations must understand existing workflows and identify areas where AI, connected worker platforms, and other ACWF technology can replace paper-based and manual processes to enhance efficiency and productivity.
  • Step 2: Invest in Technology – Procure  AI-driven analytics platforms, mobile technology, and wearable technology to enable real-time data collection and remote collaboration.
  • Step 3: Training and Onboarding – Provide comprehensive training programs to familiarize workers with new technologies and workflows. Emphasize the importance of safety protocols and data privacy.
  • Step 4: Pilot Programs – Start with small-scale pilot programs to test the effectiveness of the implemented technologies in real-world manufacturing environments. Target high-value use cases that can benefit from a transition from paper to digital.
  • Step 5: Continuous Improvement – Gather feedback from workers and supervisors during pilot programs and adapt implementation initiatives based on their input. Continuously optimize processes and technologies for maximum effectiveness.

By following these steps, manufacturers can smooth the transition from a traditional manufacturing workforce to an ACWF, empowering their frontline workers with improved capabilities, skills, and overall operational excellence.

Supporting Learning in the Flow of Work

Augmented Connected Workforce (ACWF) technologies allow for increased frontline support and for new processes around learning and training to strategically upskill and reskill, reduce time to competency for new workers, and to combat the skilled labor shortage in manufacturing and more. Connected worker tools, such as wearable devices and IoT sensors, enable real-time monitoring of worker performance and environmental conditions, ensuring safety and efficiency on the factory floor.

pyramid of learning

An ACWF also allows for improved workflow learning capabilities giving frontline workers access to expert guidance, remote assistance and collaboration, microlearning, and other learning in the flow of work options regardless of the worker’s location.

ACWF tools further enhance frontline activities through:

  • Digital work instructions and guidance: Smart, connected worker platforms provide digital work instructions, procedures, and visual guidance easily accessible to workers on mobile devices.
  • Digital mentors and training: Some ACWFs incorporate “digital mentors” – GenAI-powered industrial assistants that can provide step-by-step guidance to workers, especially new hires.
  • Knowledge capture and sharing: Connected frontline worker applications capture data and insights from frontline workers, which can then be analyzed by AI software and used to improve processes, update work instructions, and share knowledge across the organization
  • Performance monitoring and feedback: ACWF solutions provide visibility into worker performance, allowing managers to identify areas where additional training or support is needed.

augmented connected workforce in manufacturing

In summary, ACWF initiatives empower frontline workers with the digital tools, knowledge, and support they need to learn and improve their skills directly within their daily workflows, rather than relying solely on formal training programs. This helps close skills gaps and drive continuous improvement.

Future-proofing Manufacturing Operations with an ACWF

Adopting an Augmented Connected Workforce (ACWF) approach centered around augmenting frontline workers with mobile technology, immersive training, collaborative decision-making, and continuous improvement, allows manufacturers to future-proof their operations and gain a sustainable competitive advantage. This concept empowers employees with powerful tools that augment and enhance their capabilities, productivity, and overall business processes by accessing critical information and fostering collaboration

AI-powered software can analyze vast amounts of data to optimize production processes and predict workforce development needs. At the same time, connected frontline worker solutions enable the integration of mobile and wearable technologies and provide real-time data insights, aiding in optimizing factory operations and adapting to evolving industry trends.

For an Augmented Connected Workforce, integrating AI and connected worker technologies serves as a vital strategy for manufacturers navigating the skilled labor crisis. Augmentir encourages organizations to embrace ACWF transformations and expedites adoption through a comprehensive connected worker platform leveraging the combined benefits of connected worker and AI technologies.

With Augmentir, frontline workers can access critical information, real-time data and insights, and expert advice and guidance all in the flow of work preventing lost time and improving both efficiency and productivity. Schedule a live demo to learn more about how an Augmented Connected Workforce future-proofs manufacturing operations and enhances frontline activities.

 

See Augmentir in Action
Get in Touch for a Personalized Demo

Learn how skills tracking enhances work allocation and workforce utilization to improve productivity in manufacturing.

Employee skills tracking is an excellent way to stay ahead of the curve in today’s ever-changing manufacturing landscape. Leaders can use this talent management strategy to close worker competency gaps, increase effective training, and hire qualified prospects.

Putting an emphasis on employee skills can also help manufacturers prioritize work allocation and workforce utilization. But what exactly do these two terms mean and how do they relate to tracking skills in manufacturing?

Work allocation is the process of assigning resources and roles to meet the objectives of a given task or production facility. Workforce utilization, meanwhile, refers to how a company or organization effectively utilizes its workforce to meet its operational goals and objectives.

skills tracking and workforce utilization in manufacturing

To keep up with competition, manufacturers should not only try to recruit the best possible hires, but also allocate work in an effective way to retain staff, satisfy customers, and boost profits.

Ultimately, keeping track of skills is a beneficial way to organize a company’s resources to attain sustainable business goals. Implementing a connected worker solution and digitizing skills management processes through smart manufacturing technologies is an effective way for organizations to instantly visualize the skills gaps in teams as well as track workforce skills and quickly assess both team and individual readiness.

Learn more about digital skills tracking and how it improves work allocation and workforce utilization below:

Skills tracking defined

Skills tracking helps ensure that all workers have the necessary expertise to complete tasks to their fullest potential. Basically, it closes the gap between the competencies employees already have and ones they need to further develop.

Every manufacturing firm has a unique set of job requirements and expectations. Tracking worker skills on a regular basis helps a company identify training needs and build workers’ knowledge so that they can meet expected targets. Skills management and tracking software help manufacturers identify and track employee expertise. You can map skills from a centralized library to individual workers, analyze the performance of your teams, and fill any skill gaps that exist.

skills tracking software

In a nutshell, measuring employee proficiencies can boost retention, decrease the amount of time spent on tasks, and improve overall productivity.

Benefits of tracking skills to improve work allocation

Through digitization and effective skills tracking, manufacturing firms can best allocate work to team members based on expertise, credentials, and actual ability. For example, an operator who has more than 10 years of experience using computer-controlled equipment may be a better fit to handle complex machinery than an entry-level worker who lacks that training.

Additionally, with a centralized digital repository managers have a better idea of each employee’s current skills level and potential areas of improvement. Then they can close any skill gaps through training opportunities. In return, workers who receive the necessary training are more likely to thrive in their roles and be productive.

In summary, measuring worker skills can help improve work allocation by:

  • Hiring or assigning current employees to the correct jobs and tasks
  • Facilitating worker development through mentorship and training
  • Retaining high-quality employees

How tracking skills boosts workforce utilization

Workforce utilization refers to how much of an employee’s time is devoted to billable work. Tracking skills can improve this, in turn boosting productivity and profits.

When you measure how efficiently employees are doing their jobs and how well a business manages its resources, you can assure that tasks are done well and see continuous increase in revenue. Think about how many hours of each staff member’s workweek need to be billable to remain profitable and whether they are on track. With a digitized tracking system, manufacturers are able to automate and streamline this process reducing errors, improving productivity, and ensuring success.

Pro Tip

Through the use of smart, connected worker solutions and AI-based workforce insights organizations can deliver continuous, on-the-job learning based on skill tracking and real job performance, promoting reskilling and upskilling efforts enterprise wide.

To summarize, tracking skills can help enhance workforce utilization by:

  • Setting profitable rates for services based on worker output and time billed
  • Compensating employees fairly
  • Gauging whether staff is being overworked or underutilized

By digitizing these tracking processes and implementing AI-driven support, organizations can also visualize, track and offset employee burnout. By taking highly granular connected worker data and using AI to filter out the unnecessary portions, industrial operations are able to not only improve tasks and productivity but better support and empower frontline workers.

Ways to track workforce skills

Tracking employee skills is a great way to improve worker performance and productivity by matching the right person with the right assignment.

One way to track an employee’s skills is through a skills matrix, which is a grid that maps staff credentials and qualifications. A skills matrix helps managers strategize and oversee current and wanted skills for a team, position, department, and more. A skills matrix is usually managed using a spreadsheet, but there are alternatives to skill matrices. For example, cloud-based skills management software can help identify and track employee competence and correlate it with actual job performance. The software can also help managers filter employee databases by skills to assemble teams or assign work based on specific qualifications.

skills matrix

Leadership can also track competencies through a skills taxonomy. Taxonomies help classify and organize skills into groups to better understand which skills employees have and which they should learn. Essentially, these structured lists help management identify and track skills to better allocate resources and worker training opportunities.

Lastly, a skills-tracking application can include AI-based software to identify and measure worker expertise and actual job performance. This is an excellent method for intelligently assigning work through skills mapping, optimizing training programs, and more. With AI-based insights and connected worker technology, organizations can bridge the gap between the training room and the shop floor, integrating training into the flow of work and creating an environment of continuous learning.

Skills management with Augmentir

Augmentir offers top-notch solutions to easily track and manage your frontline’s skillset. Our connected worker solution provides customized dashboards to streamline processes to improve workforce management, skills management, and deliver in-line training and support at the point of work, closing skills gaps at the moment of need.

If you are interested in learning how Augmentir can help improve your skills management, skills tracking, and workforce development – request a live demo.

 

See Augmentir in Action
Get in Touch for a Personalized Demo

 

Learn how to track employee skills in manufacturing and discover modern approaches to effective skills tracking.

In today’s manufacturing environment, it is daunting and time-consuming to keep track of employee skill levels across the many different job tasks. With the constantly accelerating rate of turnover in the workforce, Excel or paper-based skills tracking in manufacturing has become obsolete.

Leading manufacturers are now turning to smart digital technology to streamline skills tracking and connect it with frontline operations, giving them a competitive edge and boosting workplace safety productivity. Skills tracking software can be a great help to identify workers’ current skills and find any gaps. In a nutshell, such a tool helps automate, organize and simplify the process of evaluating employees’ skills and better understanding your workforce.

track employee skills in manufacturing

Learn more about how skills tracking is changing and the importance of integrating skills management into the flow of work by exploring the following topics:

Five approaches to effective skills tracking in manufacturing

According to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company, companies reported that tracking and validating skills and competencies was their top talent challenge.

Effective skills tracking can improve safety, productivity, and worker performance by helping match the right people with the right tasks. For any organization, there are multiple methods and tools that can be used to track the skills of your workforce:

1. Direct assessment

This approach focuses on one employee directly assessing another. This may be done as a form of peer review between employees or by a manager.

2. Self-assessment

This approach consists of employees conducting self-assessments of their skills and qualifications through surveys every few months.

3. Anonymous peer assessment

This approach involves coworkers anonymously assessing each other’s performance on projects or other tasks.

4. Skill assessment using HR or learning systems

This type of assessment can be done using an HR system (or a Learning Management System) to assess and update employee profiles based on training completed. For example, workers can report any courses finished, track their training data or report new certificates.

5. AI-based skills tracking software

Any of the above 4 methods are commonly used, however, the increasing workforce variability, absenteeism, and turnover is forcing new requirements. Increasingly, manufacturers are turning to AI-based software solutions to help digitally track and manage skills, and connect them with work execution.

HR/Learning systems or standalone skills tracking software solutions that attempt to automate skills tracking fall short of meeting the needs of today’s manufacturers because they do not connect the “skills that workers know” with the “work being done”. These standalone solutions may have been ideal for the stable, unchanging workforce of the past, but they are not suited for today’s era of high workforce variability.

skills and work

An integrated, closed-loop skills management system is the solution for this era of high workforce turnover and absenteeism. Skills management solutions that combine skills tracking capabilities with AI-based connected worker technology and on-the-job digital guidance can deliver significant additional value. Data from actual work performance can inform workforce development investments allowing you to target you training, reskilling, and upskilling efforts where they have the largest impact.

Benefits of skills tracking in manufacturing

Tracking skills in manufacturing can help identify the skills your employees already hold and those they still need to learn to properly do their jobs. Furthermore, using AI-based connected worker solutions, organizations can digitize and easily manage skills tracking and training programs and connect them with frontline operations.

Some benefits of tracking your employees’ skills using this approach include:

1. Boosts productivity on the shop floor

An organization’s commitment to cultivating its team’s skills can influence their attitudes toward the job. A worker is likelier to perform better when valued and appreciated. Skills tracking also ensures that workers are qualified to perform their job.

2. Ensure safety

Solutions that close the loop between training/skills and the work being done allow organizations to validate at the time of work assignment who has the skill level to safely perform a specific task. This helps to mitigate risk and ensure safety.

3. Intelligently assigning work

Ensure the right person is assigned to the right job. Manage work assignments based on skill level, endorsements, and actual job performance.

4. Closes the skills gap

Tracking skills is a great way to identify gaps between the skills employees already have and the skills they need. With this information, the company can arrange for additional training or other ways to invest in their employees. Keep in mind that as your manufacturing organization evolves and grows, so should your employee skillset.

5. Boosts internal communications

Employers who actively develop their employees’ skill levels are likelier to retain them. Tracking skills can also motivate and spur connections with team members.

6. Identify upskilling or reskilling opportunities

Use data from actual work performance, combined with an employee’s current skills and endorsements to inform your reskilling and upskilling decisions.

7. Enhances competitive edge

Although the purpose of effective skills tracking is to aid in worker growth and development, a byproduct is a stronger, more competitive organization as a whole. Knowing where improvements need to be made can close any learning gaps and boost the overall success of a company. Optimizing your workforce can help improve productivity in every department, giving your company a competitive edge in today’s market.

Features to look for in skills tracking software

Having the right features for skills tracking in manufacturing can help a company be more productive and efficient. This type of software should help manufacturing facilities no only identify, assess, track and cultivate employee skills, but also improve operational safety and performance.

It’s important to look for the following features when deciding which software is right for you:

Training management
This feature helps businesses see how their teams are progressing and evaluate whether training opportunities are making an impact. It helps store employee training records for real-time access and evaluation, and measure training effectiveness based on actual job performance.

Certifications management
This feature helps employers manage employee certifications. If a worker’s certification is expiring, the software’s tracking functions should easily notify the parties involved.

Skills tracking integrated into the flow of work
Skill levels and current endorsements ensure that workers can perform tasks safely and correctly and, therefore need to be considered at the moment of work assignment and again at the moment of work execution.

Live dashboard
Skills tracking software with customizable dashboards offer a real-time view of employee skills, qualifications, and any skill gaps that may exist. Managers will have a better idea of where to allocate resources to train employees and who is a better fit for a role.

intelligently assign jobs

 

Learn how Smart Skills Management software is helping manufacturers bridge the gap between training, skills, and work to build a more resilient and agile workforce.

Download our latest eBook – The Future of Work: Connecting Skills Management with Standard Work.