The manufacturing industry has faced a shortage of skilled labor for the past few years. The significant factors that led to this shortage are a lack of qualified candidates and the experts reaching their retiring age. This has led manufacturers to use more FTEs to get around this problem.
A full-time equivalent (FTE) for a company is a unit of measurement used to express the workload of employees. As per a report in May 2019, an average American worked 34.4 hours per week, making it 1793 hours of work in a year. An employee should have worked this many hours to get the job done.
However, FTEs come with their own set of challenges. The FTEs do not account for holidays, sick leaves, lunch, washroom breaks, etc. Thus, the increased reliance on FTEs leads to higher costs and less flexibility for manufacturers who are looking for a workforce in other multiple regions or countries.
The number of holidays and leave policies varies from company to company and country to country. So different regions have their other company FTEs which makes project resourcing through FTEs more complicated.
Project resourcing through FTEs allocates the number of hours needed for a project to be completed by a specific date. It is important to consider three main factors affecting project resourcing: project size, time constraints, and available resources.
Let’s assume that you have a manufacturing plant with multiple production projects coming up in the coming month. Here, FTEs will help you calculate the number of workers you’ll need for each project. One of your projects requires 300 hours to be completed and needs to be done in a week. So, you will need 7.5 employees to work full time and one employee to work part-time to meet these requirements. You’ll have to increase your FTEs if the project scales up.
The formula for FTE would be the average of part-time hours worked per week/30 + number of full-time employees. So, for example, in January, your company operated during all working hours, i.e., 168 working hours, and the total shift hours of your employees are 6580 hours a month, then your FTE will be 39.
Let’s see the steps for calculating your FTEs.
Step 1: Calculate the number of part-time workers you’ve. (Part-time workers are the ones who work less than 130 hours a month or less than 30 hours a week)
Step 2: Calculate the average hours each part-time worker worked each week and then sum it up
Step 3: Divide the result by 30
Step 4: Round it up
Step 5: Add this number to your full-time employee count
That’s it, you will get your company’s FTE.
Workload forecasting in manufacturing is difficult because the number of variables involved can make it difficult to predict accurately. These variables include the employee onboarding process, the type of production, and the overall industry nitty-gritty.
A variable within manufacturing that makes production schedules harder to forecast involves onboarding when you employ a worker. This means that when you hire an employee, you are not sure how much work they will be doing in their first month or even after a year.
The onboarding process includes training new employees on how to do their job, which takes time and resources away from other tasks within your company. These changes can make it difficult for managers to predict workloads accurately before they start hiring new employees.
Increasing the productivity of the existing FTEs is a fail-proof way to reduce the number of FTEs required for a project. Augmented reality can play a significant role in increasing the productivity of new employees with its training and remote assistance applications.
Augmented Reality (AR) has been used to increase productivity in the manufacturing, automotive, and telecom industry. 39% of large companies use immersive technologies like AR to train the workforce. According to Business Research Company, the current global market for AR in training in 2021 is 6.27 billion dollars.
AR is an excellent tool to use when trying to fill skill gaps in the job market. Manufacturers are increasingly using it to train their workforce and keep up with the latest trends in their field of expertise. It can also help reduce costs by reducing the time needed for training new employees or retraining current ones.
Using AR products, enterprises have reduced training time by up to 40%.
With AR, it’s possible to train workers to assemble, install, repair, and maintain products without having them physically touch them. This will allow manufacturers to avoid spending money on costly machinery required for training. Instead, those machines can be used for increasing production.
AR also lets manufacturers create training exercises that are more interactive and engaging for employees—receiving next-gen, interactive training results in better understanding of processes and a higher retention rate. When a workforce receives such training, their time to proficiency is more minor and production is higher. They are also less dependent on experts or supervisors for assistance during work.
Having said that, the use of AR in the industry can be broken down into two areas: meeting deadlines and increased training opportunities. In the first case, AR can be used as a tool to help meet deadlines by providing workers with more accurate information and instructions on how to complete tasks at the right time. In the second case, AR can offer an improved training experience for workers by making sure they have access to all of the necessary information for their job.
AR is a cost-effective way to improve employee engagement, efficiency, and retention. AR solutions like Plutomen Assist help manufacturers use animation and insight-based media like videos and illustrations to empower their workforce to gain knowledge seamlessly. Assist extends the workforce’s capability to visualize and immerse in their task’s situations. It expedites the performance of the onboarded force and upskills them with everchanging trends, leading to fewer errors, and increased overall productivity.
AR technology can tremendously impact the workforce’s productivity by providing remote assistance for complex tasks, such as maintenance and repair operations. For example, a technician could use AR to inspect a machine remotely, identify the problem, and provide instructions to the operator on fixing it without having to travel. Technicians can also connect with experts to get help remotely when it’s a complex issue. The workforce can collaborate without the field presence of experts for faster and more efficient troubleshooting of machine breakdowns. The annotations over equipment and parts like bolts, cables, part numbers, and instructions help reduce the time required for resolution. This also cuts down costs while increasing efficiency.
Enterprises using AR-based remote assistance have observed a success rate of 80%.
The other benefit of AR-based remote assistance is improved safety for the workers. For example, an engineer could use AR to inspect a machine remotely before it goes into production. During production, they can check if any parts are missing or require to be fixed before they cause any problems.
Enterprises can minimize downtime, improve first-time fix rates and conduct field tasks – MRO, Troubleshooting, Compliance & Audits checks remotely. With AR solutions like Plutomen Connect, employees can collaborate remotely on live videos to get expert help. It lets the workforce deliver quick incident response and expedite the field servicing process with one-click connect.
AR is transforming routine operations in manufacturing. We will continue to see the use cases for AR expanding beyond training and remote assistance to boost the productivity of manufacturing plants. Industrial enterprises also utilize AR products like Plutomen Workflow to provide digitalized workflows, SOPs, and checklists to their workforce. Such modules for work assistance further add to the productivity of their workforce.
An AR technology partner is your key to the leap towards digitalization. With an experienced partner, enterprises can optimize and streamline their overall manufacturing processes.