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How and Why You Should Be Prioritizing Upskilling If You’re In Manufacturing

November 20, 2020 - minute read

According to World Economic Forum, COVID-19 has impacted more than 75% of the world’s manufacturing outputs—and the year isn’t even over. If your business operates in the manufacturing sector, you’re still feeling the heavy impact of coronavirus daily.

Empowering your manufacturing workforce with ongoing education and digital tools is going to be essential for emerging from 2020 strongly. This practice, also known as “upskilling”, ensures your operation can adapt to ongoing changes—pandemic or not—while retaining the operational standards critical for the period ahead.

Let’s take a closer look at how and why upskilling your hourly workers should be among your operation’s top priorities in 2021.

Manufacturing and Upskilling in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic needs no introduction. However, it will be some time before we are truly able to see the impact of its disturbance on global industries and economies. What we do know is that manufacturers have needed to be flexible and work fast in order to adapt in such a short period of time.

In the face of constant disruptions and pressures created by regional supply chains, increased automation, and labor shortages, upskilling offers a solution. Upskilling helps prepare workers for shutdowns, line changes, and variations in product and volume like the kind plaguing manufacturers in 2020. It promotes both technical skills and “soft” skills, as well, to extend resiliency during this difficult time.

Benefits of Prioritizing Upskilling

Upskilling may sound, more or less, like ‘more training’ and not appear to be the most critical thing for your business to be worrying about right now. In reality, expanding your workers’ skillsets and education on new technologies being adopted are vital to the stability of your operation.

Consider the following benefits of prioritizing upskilling:

  • It helps workers adapt smoothly to new equipment and technology. Things like digital twins, augmented reality, remote machine monitoring, and digital dashboards are helping a lot of manufacturers keep up with demands, but require careful training to use successfully. Upskilling will help your employees feel more comfortable with these changes and taking on new challenges as change continues to occur.
  • It helps your business keep up with regional supply chain demands. The more your workers know about how to do their role (and perhaps those of coworkers), the better productivity will be overall. Educating your employees and expanding their training allows you to improve overall flexibility and power towards achieving your goals, satisfying quotas, and staying on top of fluctuating lines.
  • It puts your operation ahead of labor shortages. COVID-19 aside, labor shortages have been anticipated for the manufacturing industry for years. Between retiring baby boomers and industry growth, only 2 million of the 4.6 million manufacturing jobs being added by 2028 are anticipated to be filled. Upskilling helps to lower employee turnover and acts as a recruiting asset in a time when many employees are looking to grow their skillsets.

Tips for Successful Upskilling

Upskilling can amplify your operation’s potential during a time of extreme change. In today’s day and age, there is a variety of ways you can do it. Here are suggestions for how to upskill your workforce more effectively:

  • Identify the skills your recovery business model depends on (the skills, practices, and technologies) before creating training courses.
  • Build off employee skills critical to your updated operational models.
  • Tailor learning to close critical gaps and refrain from using the same general approaches to employees doing different jobs.
  • Focus on upskilling multiple competencies for all your roles, including technical skills (automation, IT, data science) and “soft” skills (things like communication, adaptiveness, ownership, collaboration, problem-solving).
  • Consider multiple ways of upskilling. This could mean using a Learning Management System (LMS), creating written and visual aids, hosting online seminars, or having employees cross train with each other.

Upskilling with a LMS

In order to upskill during the ongoing social distancing period, you need a Learning Management System (LMS) to limit the need for in-person training. EPAY Systems offers a robust learning platform, EPAY Learning, to make upskilling convenient, effective, and safe during this unprecedented time.

With over 10,000 ready-to-go courses plus the ability to create and upload your own, training your workforce has never been easier – all while elevating worker engagement and skill development. For more information on how EPAY Learning can benefit your manufacturing plants, download, “5 Ways to Use Your LMS to Keep Your Workers Safe.” Or, request a free, personalized demo of our HCM solution today.

Filed Under: Manufacturing Learning and Development