This is the first in a 4-part series of articles. It gives a broad overview of the key stakeholders in the heavy equipment industry, their training needs, and the need to explore online training options. In the subsequent articles, I will try and address the training requirements of individual stakeholders and suggest online solutions that can help.
Three disruptive forces will shape the future of the heavy equipment industry according to Al Cervero, VP, Construction, Mining and Utility, Association for Equipment Manufacturers. They are:
- The heavy equipment being developed is getting sophisticated, performing not just the tasks it is supposed to do, but also providing data essential to accomplish the tasks at hand.
- Technology is moving at the speed of light. Equipment is getting more sophisticated, autonomous, and integrated to perform multiple functions.
- The aging workforce is not motivated to train the next generation to support site work, machine repair, or general maintenance.
(Source: AEM Blog)
Al Cervero is right when he urges heavy equipment manufacturers to be proactive and “train on what you need now, train on what you need tomorrow”. It is because companies are finding it hard to fill job openings in the industry.
According to a recent article by Linda Longton in Equipment World, contractors are finding it hard to fill job openings such as Equipment operators. There are a lot of jobs, but no skilled people to fill them. Employing unskilled workers is risky and could lead to avoidable accidents and downtimes.
One way out is to invest in new methods of training to engage with the extended stakeholders, dealers, distributors, and customers and support them to train their workforce. This would prove to be a win-win endeavor for all. Primarily, three stakeholders are involved here.
If heavy equipment manufacturers have to be proactive as suggested by Al Cervero, they need to:
1. Have specific programs to support OEMs/Distributors across the globe
Manufacturers have to ensure training is a continuous process, seamless along the supply chain and up to date as per the changing technologies and sophisticated products.
2. Actively engage with contractors and end-users globally
Engage more often with contractors by providing resources, training support, and knowledge transfer to ensure safety, proper maintenance, and reduce breakdowns.
3. Attract new talent into the industry in their home country
Ensure there is a healthy supply of talent today and in the future, based on the required knowledge, skills, and abilities that the industry requires.
Training needs to step up and rise to match the sophistication of equipment being used today in the heavy equipment industry. So, while on-the-job and classroom trainings have their place, they need to be supplemented with online and technology-enabled learning. This will ensure all key stakeholders in the supply chain are able to carry out their responsibilities efficiently.
Here are some advantages of why you need to supplement the traditional training methods you may be adopting now with online training.
- Most of the times, you need to reinforce knowledge such as the correct way to start the engine, routine maintenance checks, identifying problems, troubleshooting, and so on. Over time, individuals tend to get complacent and skip steps compromising on safety. Regular reinforcements would be helpful. Online training can make this possible.
- Media such as videos, animations can be employed easily to explain safety procedures, equipment maintenance, operator training, tips and how-to guides that may be ideal for individuals who may not be very proficient in handling computers.
- Reuse benefits –The most important benefit of online training is that it can be visited over and over without additional costs. Once developed, it can be re-used multiple times – until the content gets outdated or irrelevant. It also means more people can be trained for less. So, your end-users or contractors working in a remote region in Latin America or Asia can benefit from your videos.
In my subsequent blogs, I will explore in detail how online training methods can benefit each of the target segments mentioned above – OEMs/Distributors, end-users of heavy machinery, and future employees. Do check out or best still, subscribe to our blogs.