How to Train Manufacturing Operators: 7 Effective Ways
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In today’s competitive world, having a highly skilled and efficient workforce is crucial for manufacturing industries to succeed. However, many manufacturing industries struggle with finding and retaining skilled operators, and even when they do, they often lack the proper training to maximize their potential.
Training is not only crucial to ensure the safe and effective operation of machinery and equipment but also to increase profitability, reduce downtime and improve productivity. In this blog, we’ll explore effective ways to train manufacturing operators that will assist you in building a competent and motivated team. In addition, we’ll also cover what manufacturing training programs are and why it is essential for employees. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
What Is a Manufacturing Training Program?
A manufacturing training program is specially designed to train employees in manufacturing companies. The program is intended to provide operators with a strong foundation in the concept of manufacturing processes, such as designing, testing, production, and quality control. Not only this, but these programs help new workers acquire necessary industry skills, boost productivity, and create a safe work environment in manufacturing.
In addition, the industrial sector is constantly changing and adopting new techniques and technology. Ongoing training is essential to keep up with the recent trends and improvements in the industry. A manufacturing training program may also give workers a chance to learn and grow professionally.
Benefits of Training Manufacturing Employees
Due to the changing dynamics in industry trends, many manufacturing companies recognize the need to embrace change to stay relevant in modern times. The recent report by Deloitte, highlights the trends such as:
Investing in advanced technologies to help mitigate risk
Implementing a broad range of talent management strategies to reduce voluntary exits
Taking a holistic approach to smart factory initiatives to unlock new horizons
To achieve these goals, systematic training is necessary. Professionally developed manufacturing training programs give the following benefits:
An engaging onboarding training program can help new operators get up to speed more quickly. They can handle their responsibilities effectively and accurately by providing them with the necessary tools and techniques. Also, the onboarding process becomes more sustainable by adopting best practices.
Keeps Operators Safe On-The-Job
Implementing effective manufacturing training strategies for new hires ensures employees know how to perform their tasks safely. This keeps them safe and prevents accidents that could harm them or their coworkers.
However, the manufacturing industry can use immersive learning technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) to enhance training’s effectiveness. With AR, operators can practice operating and repairing equipment without putting themselves at risk, and this helps them to perform their tasks safely and efficiently.
Enhances Employee and Production Efficiencies
Organizations can expect better workers and production efficiency with an effective training program. This makes employees less prone to making mistakes that negatively impact their efficiency and productivity.
Manufacturing workers are provided with the necessary information which is required to perform their tasks effectively. With a more efficient workforce, manufacturing organizations can meet the demands of their industry and stay competitive in the market.
Boost Employee Retention and Job Satisfaction
Employee turnover may be a serious issue for organizations, resulting in lost time, money, and productivity. In fact, studies have shown that up to 25% of new employees leave their jobs within the first year. However, providing effective manufacturing training strategies for new hires can help to address this issue and increases employee retention and job satisfaction.
When organizations invest in training programs that begin from an employee’s first day and continue throughout their career, they demonstrate a commitment to their development and growth. This type of support can create a sense of loyalty and attachment to the organization. By developing soft skills through manufacturing training programs, they are likely to feel more capable and confident in performing their roles.
A well-trained workforce equipped with the necessary tools & technology can significantly improve product quality. Every employee knows their role and how to perform their tasks effectively, improving product quality. Moreover, issues can be quickly identified and resolved with a well-trained workforce.
Looking at these benefits, we can say that investing in training programs is a win-win situation for organizations and employees.
Challenges of Training Manufacturing Operators
1. Bridging Vast Skill Gaps
The manufacturing industry is experiencing a significant shift in workforce requirements due to technological advancements and automation. This has created a demand for tech-savvy employees with diverse skill sets, rather than just specialized expertise. However, there is a severe shortage of such skilled workers, leading to unfilled job vacancies and widening skill gaps that hinder productivity and competitiveness.
2. Navigating Ever-changing Industry Regulations
Compliance with industry regulations is crucial for businesses, but it can be a complex and daunting task for the manufacturing sector. The laws are often stringent and subject to frequent updates, making it challenging to ensure that all staff members are adequately trained and informed. Non-compliance can lead to hefty fines, business disruption, loss of productivity, revenue decline, and damage to reputation.
3. Minimizing Loss of Productivity
Manufacturing operators face numerous interruptions throughout the day, averaging around 56 disruptions. Training sessions are one of the causes of these interruptions, forcing employees to disengage from their production tasks and allocate time for learning. This downtime disrupts workflow, hampers productivity, and affects overall output.
4. High Cost of Training
Manufacturing training comes with substantial expenses, as the industry requires specialized trainers, hands-on demonstrations, and training materials. Additionally, bringing employees from various locations to a central training venue adds to the costs. As a result, training each worker can be costly for manufacturing companies, making it the industry with the second-highest training expenditures in the U.S with spends of $1781 on training each worker.
5. Training and Retaining New Hires
The manufacturing industry faces a skill shortage, resulting in many open positions that need to be filled with new hires. Training and retaining these recruits become a top priority. Given the high demand for experienced employees in this specialized field, attrition rates can be high, necessitating fast-paced and effective training programs.
6. Extensive and Frequent Product Training
Manufacturers often maintain a diverse product portfolio and regularly release new products or updates. This constant innovation requires frequent product training for the production operators to stay informed about what they sell, to whom they sell, and why. Employees must also be involved in product development and decision-making processes.
7. Keeping Training Content Up-to-Date
The manufacturing industry must continuously update training content to comply with changing regulations, internal company policies, guidelines, and standard operating procedures (SOPs). Ensuring that employees are aware of the latest rules and guidelines is essential for their safety, legal compliance, and the company’s reputation.
8. Prioritizing Safety During Training
Training in the manufacturing industry often involves operating machinery and equipment, which can pose safety risks if not conducted correctly. Ensuring employee safety during training is crucial, as incorrect operation can lead to injuries and even fatalities. It is essential to provide proper training and protective gear to prevent accidents and ensure a safe learning environment for manufacturing operators.
How to Train Manufacturing Operators
Employee training is a crucial investment for any organization, as it not only improves productivity and efficiency but also boosts employee engagement and job satisfaction. Through training, employees gain new knowledge and skills that can help them perform their work more effectively and feel valued and supported by their organization. Here are a few steps that manufacturing companies should take to provide effective training to production operators.
1. Designing Manufacturing Operator Training Programs
To ensure a successful manufacturing operator training program, it’s important for companies to design a program that aligns with their specific operation and goals. A one-size-fits-all approach is not effective when it comes to employee training, as each company has its own needs and requirements.
To design a training program, the company needs to start with:
Identifying who needs to be trained and for what specific tasks and skills. This involves assessing the current skill level of the workforce and identifying any gaps that need to be addressed.
Next, the company should map out its goals and set clear training objectives that align with these goals. This will help ensure that the operator training program is focused and relevant to the needs of the organization.
It’s also essential to determine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will measure the success of the training program. By establishing measurable goals, the company can track the effectiveness of the training program and make necessary adjustments as needed.
It’s important to note that not every worker needs to have every skill. Companies should map out the workforce’s journeys so that they know which workers need which skills. This will help ensure that the training program is tailored to the specific needs of the workforce.
Finally, integrating lean manufacturing training principles into the learning program is essential for creating a culture of continuous improvement. By incorporating lean manufacturing principles into the training program, companies can create a workforce that is aligned with the company’s goals and committed to achieving success.
2. Develop the Method of Learning
Choosing a method of learning is an essential part of training manufacturing employees. To ensure the training program is successful, consider the following pro tips:
Keeping the training simple is crucial as full-time workers need small, digestible chunks of information that they can process on the go.
Incorporating technology into manufacturing operators training programs can help make learning more engaging and effective. Using emerging technology, like augmented reality, to simulate workflows can create a more immersive and engaging learning experience.
With the help of these pro tips, companies can develop a comprehensive and effective training program for their manufacturing employees.
3. Demonstrate How to Perform Each Task
Employees could feel burdened throughout the training process if they are given too much verbal or written material. Moreover, the task may appear daunting if they are unskilled or undertrained, which can have an impact on their confidence and productivity. As a result, in addition to verbal or written directions, it is crucial to provide them with visual work instructions.
Digital work instructions software can be a perfect choice for training manufacturing employees. Through this, businesses can create visual instructions that include text, images, and videos, making the learning process more accessible and understandable. In addition, companies can create step-by-step visual guides that demonstrate how to perform each task in a manufacturing process. Employees can access these guides anytime, anywhere, making it convenient for them to review the material and reinforce their learning.
4. Make Your Training Interactive (Hands-on Training)
Implementing interactive and engaging learning solutions for production operators training programs is highly effective. Traditional training methods, such as text and audio-based presentations, can be dull and forgettable, whereas interactive learning grabs an employee’s attention and leaves a long-lasting impression.
Instead of relying on simple PowerPoint presentations, manufacturing companies should provide hands-on and interactive training to ensure employees have the necessary skills to operate machinery and perform their job duties effectively. More importantly, hands-on and interactive training builds confidence in employees, allowing them to handle challenges more efficiently.
5. Present Clear Instructions
To ensure that manufacturing operators understand what is expected of them and how to carry out their responsibilities efficiently, it is crucial to provide them with precise instructions during training. Make sure that the instructions provided to the workers are concise and easy to understand, and you should provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete a particular task.
While presenting clear instructions, consider the following steps:
To present clear instructions, you can even break down complex steps into smaller, more manageable steps.
Use images or videos to illustrate instructions.
Use simple language that is easy for everyone to understand.
By providing clear instructions, manufacturing employees are more likely to feel confident in their abilities and perform their tasks more efficiently and accurately. This can lead to increased productivity and improved overall performance in the manufacturing process.
Staying Consistent with Training Factory Employees
Consistency is essential when training employees in a manufacturing company. This guarantees that the training procedure will bring skilled employees and even prevents safety incidents. Always remember that ineffective training can result in decreased productivity, unclear policies, and risk to employee safety. Regular training increases output, boosts performance and employee morale. In addition, effective ongoing training offers a high return on investment and helps businesses stay ahead in this competitive world.
6. Regularly Evaluate and Improve the Training Program
Training programs are an essential part of any organization’s operation. But they must be reviewed, evaluated, and improved on a regular basis to guarantee their continuous efficiency. This is also true for industrial firms, which are undergoing continuous change, primarily due to the advent of Industry 4.0 and new technologies.
Companies need to make sure that their training programs are revised and modified as necessary to keep up with these developments. By regularly improving and evaluating training programs, organizations can identify the areas where their workforce may need additional training.
Nowadays, Augmented Reality is becoming increasingly popular for training new employees in various industries. By providing a more immersive and interactive experience than traditional training methods, augmented reality can help employees learn more effectively and efficiently.
Real-Life Example: Boing Using AR For Training
Boeing, one of the leading aircraft manufacturers in the world, has been using AR to guide technicians in the installation and maintenance of electrical wiring in aircraft. Before implementing AR, technicians had to rely on 20ft-long 2D drawings. With AR, Boeing uses a precise 3D diagram of wiring that is superimposed onto actual aircraft. Through this, technicians were able to visualize the wiring in real time and in 3D.
According to Boeing, the use of AR has led to a 90% improvement in the quality of work done by newly hired technicians. This is because AR provides clear and precise work instructions which are easy to follow.
In addition to the improvement in work quality, using AR has also resulted in a 30% reduction in the time spent on the task. Hence, the use of AR technology in the aviation industry has proven highly effective and efficient.
Make your Manufacturing Training More Efficient with Plutomen
Training is an essential part of any manufacturing operation. Without proper training, workers would not have the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their tasks effectively and efficiently. Manufacturing processes can involve complex machinery, hazardous materials, and intricate procedures that require specialized training and expertise to operate safely and correctly. And this can be a challenging task for manufacturers to train operators.
However, utilizing AR can help simplify and streamline processes, allowing for increased productivity during onboarding and skills training. Here are some reasons why you should choose our AR-powered solutions for training manufacturing employees.
AR-powered Digital Work Instructions Are More Engaging for Workers
In today’s fast-paced world, employees are looking for more engaging and interactive ways to acquire new skills and carry out their tasks. And this can be achieved through our digital work instructions software. In this, manufacturing production can incorporate media elements that make the learning process more engaging and creative. Workers can watch videos that show processes or operations and see images of the equipment they are using. Moreover, it improves worker engagement, reduces errors, and enhances overall productivity.
Update Work Instructions Anytime
With Plutomen Workflow, you can update work instructions in real-time. This ensures that employees receive the most up-to-date information. This is especially important in industries where processes and equipment change frequently. Because outdated work instructions can result in mistakes, inefficiency, and safety hazards. In addition, digital work instructions can be accessed from anywhere, making it convenient for remote workers working in different locations.
Ease the On-boarding Training Processes
AR training can be made more efficient, accessible, and highly effective. AR training with 3D models provides a better understanding of the equipment and trains frontline workers without an actual machine. This reduces the onboarding time and resources to provide training.
Furthermore, each 3D model is highly detailed and provides an immersive learning experience that assists in better knowledge transfer and understanding. Ultimately, AR training with 3D modes is an effective way to ease the on-boarding and training processes for frontline workers in the manufacturing industry.
Schedule Training Programs Anywhere
With our AR-powered training software, i.e., Plutomen Assist, you can schedule highly engaging training programs from any location, irrespective of distance & connectivity. New workers can use smart glasses, laptops, tablets, and smartphones to access the training program. This allows the manufacturing industry to provide training to their employees without incurring travel costs.
Training programs can help factory workers by providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their tasks safely and efficiently. It improves their productivity, reduces errors, enhances product quality, and increases employee retention and job satisfaction.
Best practices for creating a successful factory operator training program include designing customized programs that align with the company's specific needs and goals, incorporating interactive and hands-on learning methods, providing clear and precise instructions, and regularly evaluating and updating the training content to stay relevant and effective.
The duration for manufacturing operators to finish their training and become completely competent in their roles can vary based on the complexity of the tasks and the training program's intensity. Typically, it may take several weeks to a few months for operators to gain the necessary skills and experience to perform their roles effectively.
With 10+ years' experience of Hiren Kanani has helped Plutomen ensure smooth communication between the company and the client for swift project delivery with fewer iterations. He is CTO & founder at Plutomen.
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