The manufacturing sector’s contribution is crucial for any country’s economy. Innovative manufacturing practices are coming up due to emerging technology trends. Employees have to be trained on new technology in automated manufacturing facilities. They always won’t have the time for classroom training due to their regular work. So, you could try online training.
Frequent release of new products, compliance regulations, employee skill gaps are some of the major challenges I can think of. Let’s see how you can solve them with the help of eLearning.
1. Widening of Skills Gap
Challenge: The major issue in the manufacturing sector is that industries look for multi-skilled employees who can perform various tasks, while many workers in the manufacturing are unskilled and not so tech savvy or have only been trained to do a single job function. Skills gap is a gap between what employers need and what job seekers have.
How eLearning can help: E-learning can change the way workplace training programs are being conducted by offering easier, more affordable & flexible access to learning resources. Your workforce can take the training at their own pace in the specific skills they need to improve. Other employees can concentrate on their development areas through online learning.
E-learning courses combine visual elements such as videos, infographics, and animations with proven instructional design strategies to deliver knowledge effectively. They improve learner engagement and knowledge retention.
2. High Costs of Training
Challenge: Based on the skills that are needed, manufacturing training programs in classrooms can be very expensive. It can take a long time and the extensive involvement of trainers and supervisors to teach employees the necessary skills and processes for a manufacturing job. Your company has to spend a lot of man-hours for Instructor-led Training (ILT). Logistical costs will be higher in bringing employees from various places for training in a central location.
How eLearning can help: To keep training costs minimum, it is a good to provide some part of your employee training as eLearning courses. Online training provides a more cost-effective alternative to ILT/classroom training due to reduced travel, boarding, lodging, and trainer costs. This approach is also more flexible, enabling learning out of working hours and consistent updates to course content, based on new systems and industry guidelines.
You can teach difficult skills to some extent in the classroom and some parts though online training. In a way, blended learning works well for manufacturing training.
3. Training New Hires
Challenge: Experienced employees have high demand in the job market. So attrition rates are obviously more. New employees keep joining at different levels and in different locations. Training a handful of new hires whenever they join is a cumbersome process.
How eLearning can help: Online induction training has immense benefits as it is time saving, cost-effective, a robust process, easy for learners, and has high success rates. Once an online onboarding is in place, you can roll it out to new hires as and when they join – across locations, departments, and levels.
You can start the online induction training with a video/audio welcome message from your company’s CEO, introducing the board of directors and other senior employees, through online learning portal. Provide short bursts of microlearning and digestible modules to prevent new hires from getting lost in the ‘sea’ of information. Plan you training activities in such a way that senior employees share their expertise and experience with the new hires. This helps new employees gain the much-needed skills for their day-to-day tasks on the job.
4. Training Blue Collared Workers
Challenge: The majority of the employees in the manufacturing sector are blue collared workers. Getting work done through them is difficult as literacy levels are low. Understanding new concepts, principles, and learning new skills will take time for them. Training them on safety and regulatory compliance is a major challenge organizations face often.
How eLearning can help: There’s no doubt that classroom training works best for them. However, eLearning also works when you do it right. Its engaging nature, learner-friendly delivery formats, flexibility, self-pace, and other interesting features make it a hot favorite for blue collared workers. You can have a virtual instructor, online safety training videos, infographics, and other delivery formats with more visuals & less text to make it more appealing.
5. Wide Product Portfolio
Challenge: Companies and employees in the manufacturing industry are under constant pressure to release new products, update the existing products, conduct research & innovation for better products throughout the year. When lost in their regular work without training, your employees may not innovate and make better products or build a portfolio over time.
How eLearning can help: Explaining the steps of product development such as assessing the need, research, ideas, prototypes, final design, and testing in a classroom session can be overwhelming and increases cognitive load on your employees. You cannot expect them to perfect the various phases of product design in one go. Bite-sized online modules won’t rob your employees’ time and contribute to reinforcing the entire product development process by teaching one step at a time. This works as a refresher training in addition to what they had learned earlier.
6. Stringent Compliance Norms & Regulations
Challenge: Staying complaint is mandatory in manufacturing industries. Training employees on procedures, laws, and regulations is a daunting task. When government updates the existing norms, employees must be aware and up-to-date. Most employees don’t like compliance training because of its dos & don’ts and legal nature.
How eLearning can help: To make your compliance training more engaging, create online courses on the new regulations and how they impact your business. You can create eLearning courses on compliance, based on the employee roles.
For example, senior management may just need an overview while employees in the operations department might have to know the regulations in a greater depth. You can easily manage this without additional costs in online modules.
Your organization must also comply with environmental regulations. Employees at all levels of your organization must know the consequences of violations. Online compliance training uses visual media such as videos that have an appealing impact on your employees. For example, a video that shows the consequences of disposing manufacturing waste into rivers can create awareness on environmental concerns. Similarly, a bite-sized module on the best practices for managing waste can let your employees learn faster and better.
Though, you can’t replace the traditional classroom training completely, you can definitely consider online training to overcome the discussed challenges. Hope the available options in eLearning help you facilitate quick knowledge transfer to defeat the training challenges.