Manufacturing Training Programs: Simple Steps Toward Developing a Skilled Manufacturing Workforce

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Want to know how to design, create, and deliver effective manufacturing training programs at work? The kind of manufacturing training training that truly helps workers acquire new knowledge and develop new skills they can perform on the job? The kind that will have a real, measurable effect on key business KPIs such as average time to onboard a new employee and even production, revenue, and profit?

We’ve got a pretty simple, six-step formula for success for you to follow in this article. Just put these six steps into action at your manufacturing facility and you’ll have more skilled workers before you know it. The employees will thank you for it (after all, they want to know how to perform their jobs well) and so will your bosses.

This article explains each of the six steps in a good bit of detail below. But if you really want to take a deep-dive, know that we’ve provided links throughout the article so you can explain various aspects even more.

And as if that weren’t enough, we’ve got a free guide to Effective Manufacturing Training you can download right now, or a 30-minute on-demand webinar on Effective Manufacturing training that you can watch too.

And with that, let’s see what there is to know about effective manufacturing training at work.

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Industrial Maintenance Technician Job Description & Training

Whether you are a novice or have a great deal of experience, industrial maintenance technician training can help you in any stage of your career.

Convergence Training can provide you with a variety of eLearning videos on industrial maintenance topics so you can become a more productive, valuable worker. These videos can be used both to understand topics and demonstrate tasks to make sure you are performing your job correctly.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a few, explain their value and use, and show you some samples as well.

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Industrial Safety Topics and Solutions

Industrial safety topics are designed to make workers aware of policies and protections put in place to ensure safety for laborers and their work environment.

While manufacturing jobs can drastically differ from one another, there are some universal industrial safety topics and solutions that are helpful for any type of manufacturing.

We’ve included a few general tips for manufacturing safety below.

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5 Manufacturing Safety Topics for a Safer Workplace

No matter your occupation, workplace safety is vital. However, it is especially important in the manufacturing industry since you are dealing with heavy machinery. Therefore, taking safety precautions seriously and conducting safety training is extremely important for manufacturing jobs.

According to OSHA, companies that focus on worker’s safety have nearly 50 percent fewer lost workdays. To keep employees interested when conducting safety training and in safety meetings, make sure to show your concern about your employees being potentially injured. Also, praise employees who work safely and encourage reporting accidents and injuries.

We’ve got some tips for helping to keep people safe on the job below.

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Online Manufacturing Training: Using 3D Animation and Videos to Train Manufacturing Workers

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We create highly life-like, online manufacturing training courses that include 3D-animated training videos to teach manufacturing employees to perform their jobs.

In some ways, these animated training videos are very similar to the kind of video you’d record with a video camera: the video you watch is a very life-like, realistic representation of the work environment and machines employees work with every day.

But we can do some things with these animated manufacturing training videos that you can’t do with “normal” videos from a video camera. For example, you can zoom in really close–to microscopic levels. You can zoom out very far, beyond what a camera can do. You can quickly change the viewing perspective from one part of the work area to the other. You can add highlights and arrows to point out important things. You can create “special views” that show the inside of a machine that would ordinarily not be visible. You can create images of things that would be too dangerous to film with a normal camera, perhaps because of dangerous machine motion.

All these special capabilities of using animation allow us to make online manufacturing training courses that do things other courses, even video-based courses, can’t do.

In short, our online manufacturing training courses can visualize all sorts of amazing things, as you can see below.

To demonstrate this more fully, and show you some more detailed examples and our general work process, we’ve explained each of the steps of a recent project in more detail below.

The demonstration below is pretty similar to how we create a lot of projects. In it, we were making a 3D model of a tissue manufacturing machine (for those not in the know, this is a paper manufacturing machine specially designed to create tissue used for paper towel and toilet paper).  But while the example images are specific to work people perform around a tissue machine, the general process is one we repeat when we make custom online manufacturing training courses and programs for many manufacturing clients.  (more…)

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10 Daily Workplace Safety Tips in Manufacturing

No one wants to get hurt, but sometimes we neglect best safety practices because it takes extra time and effort, a little extra time is always worth it to avoid an injury.

Checking workplace safety throughout the day is an easy way to keep your working environment safe. If you are a supervisor, it shows your employees that you care about them and their well-being. Being safety oriented can help improve your employees’ morale, productivity, and even make a good impression on visitors.

If you are an employee, following safety protocols are in your and your coworkers’ best interests. We’ve got 10 good tips for keeping you and other people safe at work below. Give them a quick review and we hope they help to keep you safe and healthy.

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Lean Manufacturing Word Game


On the way to work today, I heard a story on NPR about manufacturing in America. During the story, a manager at a textiles plant mentioned that manufacturers are always trying to get “more lean.”

He may have meant “lean” generically, to mean more efficient. Or maybe he was specifically referring to lean manufacturing, the philosophy with roots based in Training Within Industry (TWI), Japanese manufacturing, and the Toyota Production System (TPS).

A lot of our customers have an interest in lean manufacturing (with this more specific meaning). In fact, not that long ago we ran a popular post about how to introduce your workers to lean manufacturing. And so we decided we’d use this story on NPR as an excuse to create a fun, interactive word game with some of the most common terms used in lean manufacturing.

This is meant as a quick (and fun) introduction to some terms in lean. Please use the comments section at the bottom if there are other terms you think we should add. We may at some point recreate this word game, including more terms, or possibly make additional lean-related word games.

Oh, and hey–please note you can play this word game for free from our blog anytime you want, or you can download your own free copy and put it into your SCORM-compliant learning management system (LMS). Read the additional notes below if you’re interested in that second option.

 

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Onboarding New Manufacturing Workers

Manufacturing-onboardingIf you’re a manager at a manufacturing company, you know it’s important to deliver training to new hires as part of their new emloyee onboarding. And that’s also true if an experienced worker is moving to a new site, work area, or into a new role as well.

But you also probably know that onboarding new hires comes with a number of challenges. It’s hard to have time available every time a new worker is hired, and that doesn’t even account for having time every time someone moves from Site A to Site B, or from Production to Warehouse, or from Forklift Operator to Machine Tender.

Plus you’ve got to create, buy, or otherwise collect all the training materials.

And of course you’ve got to actually KNOW that a new employee has been hired, or that someone has been transferred from the Tulsa site to your site in Wichita, or from Line One to Line Two. And let’s faced it–we may all like to say that communications where we work are perfect, and that we’re all informed of events like these, but I’m pretty sure you’d quickly agree that’s not always the case.

So, in a nutshell, there are lots of reasons why it’s difficult to provide onboarding training in a manufacturing environment.

That’s where an online system that includes a learning management system (LMS) can pay dividends. You can think of an LMS as an automated assistant that can coordinate all this stuff for you. Kind of a manufacturing onboarding auto-pilot system.

So if you’re in the market for an LMS, and want to be able to use it for onboarding new employees (plus your other training needs), we’ll give you an idea of some of the features you should be looking for.

NOTE: This article will focus on providing training as part of an onboarding process at a manufacturing company. For a fuller discussion of onboarding as a whole, please see our companion article Onboarding New Employees: Why and How to Do It.
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Helping Workers Develop Problem-Solving Skills: How to Do It Well and Do It Quickly

fishboneWork is easier when everything goes perfectly and there are no problems.

But as you probably know, “perfect” is a rare state. Problems pop up from time to time and workers need to solve them.

As a result, it’s important that workers be effective problem solvers. Having a workforce with well-developed problem-solving skills is a significant competitive advantage for a company.

Obviously, that’s true with your maintenance workers. But those aren’t the only workers who benefit from strong problem-solving skills. For example, we have a customer who led a training system upgrade for a major, multi-site manufacturing company in the United States (they make common household products and odds are very good you’ve used their products). He would often tell me that he wanted to “help his machine operators become machine engineers.” (Hello to you, Steve, if you happen to be reading this.)

What our customer Steve meant by that was, at least in part, that he wanted workers to have problem-solving skills so they could address problems on their own at work to decrease downtime, increase efficiency, and maximize production.

But those problem-solving skills don’t come “built-in” to every person. And even those with a natural knack for it can always get better, or learn to apply those skills more effectively in a given work circumstance. And as a result, it’s a good idea to provide resources to help workers develop and use problem-solving skills at work. That’s what this article will focus on.
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What Is Lean? Introducing Employees to Lean Manufacturing

leanSo you’re thinking of adopting lean manufacturing at your workplace, huh?

But what will you tell employees and managers? How will you explain lean to them?

In this article, we’ve got some ideas, suggestions, and tools for you to use. We think these can help you introduce lean to rank and file employees and managers. Then you can go on to get into these ideas in more detail and to introduce more ideas over time.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve got the perfect list. So if you’ve been through this before, feel free to share your own ideas and thoughts. That’s what the comments section is for at the bottom of this article.

You’ll also notice we included the names and links to a few classic lean books. Again, feel free to recommend some of your own faves in the comments section.

We hope this helps you with your manufacturing training program.

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Helping Workers Acquire Basic Job Skills and Perform Standard Procedures

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In every job, there’s a set of basic skills and simple procedures that a worker filling that job has to learn to perform.

For an organization to perform at peak efficiency, it’s important that the workers in each job role know how to perform each of these skills and procedures.

But how does a company go about teaching those basic skills and procedures? And how does the company know if the workers can perform those procedures? That’s what we’re going to look at in this article.
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Training that Helps Employees Learn Basic Job Knowledge

pyramidAs a producer of learning management systems (LMSs) that are designed to let you to use a variety of different training delivery methods in a blended learning solution, we give a lot of thought to how employers can create the “best” blend.

Actually, we don’t think there’s any one simple answer to that question that you can apply every time. There are various ways to look at it, and each make sense in different circumstances.

However, one idea that we’re big fans of when creating a blended learning solution is to select the training delivery method (example–e-learning, written, video, field-based OJT, instructor-led classroom training, etc.) by considering the type of training material (the information) that you’re trying to convey, and/or the employee’s need for practice and feedback during training.

We’ve introduced that method of creating a blended learning solution in an earlier article. In this article, we’re going to take a deeper look at one aspect of the blend–training that’s designed to help employees acquire base-level, foundational knowledge that doesn’t require a lot of practice or feedback.

In an earlier article, we looked at using scenario-based training during training to help workers develop advanced job skills that may require a lot of practice of feedback.
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