Why Gamification is Important

Why Gamification is Important

Gamification is coming extremely important in training. Millennials now make up 35% of the US labor force. Manufacturing training programs need to be designed for them. And, since the Baby Boomers are retiring in droves, this number is only going to grow. Millennials are expected to be 75% of the workforce by 2025. 

This infographic shares key information about profile gamers and the most relevant findings from the Talent LMS 2019 Survey.

 

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Industry Panel on Labor Challenges Webinar

Industry Panel on Labor Challenges Webinar

The reality that the manufacturing industry lives in is now one of complexity, uncertainty and many challenges. At the same time that the Covid-19 crisis stretches out, the manufacturing industry still faces the skills gap, recruiting and retention challenges that have not gone away.

On Thursday, July 16, Simutech partnered up with three knowledgeable Industry Leaders to bring insights to help you navigate the manufacturing industry challenges.

Key insights:

  • Covid-19 has disrupted how the industry works, organizations have to rapidly adjust to keep the industry at speed.
  • Training in times of crisis: the crisis hasn’t changed companies’ training plans much; however, how you train and expectations have to be managed.
  • Skills gap:
    • Formal education does not fully prepare the workforce for the industry needs, hands-on training tools bring the practical side of it.
    • Maintenance Skills are developed in house, as not many people come to the organizations with the necessary knowledge.
  • Training:
    • Training must be fun and interactive to keep trainees engaged, this way they will enjoy gaining or enhancing their maintenance skills.
    • Focus on creating a solid foundation or a strong base of knowledge of the electrical troubleshooting to build the skills to the next level.
  • Skills retention: continuously training to retain and enhance skills.
  • Employee retention:
    • The biggest problem is still the retirement of the workforce.
    • Companies’ training programs will have to be enhanced to take the new people to the same skills level as the previous generation.

To get more insights from Charles Ballenger – Maintenance Manager at Tyson Foods, Michael Tippett – Equipment Maintenance Training Specialist at Polar Semiconductor and Lonnie Bailey – Director of Labor Management and Maintenance Training at Pilgrims, watch the full replay to the webinar below:

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What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Standards

What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Standards

Once upon a time, a potential trip to Europe from North America brought excitement and anticipation of a new experience. Along with the standard list of what to pack for this trip came an age old dilemma, will my electronics work in Europe? Do I need some sort of a converter to charge my iPhone?

Indeed, one quickly realizes when you get to Europe that the power plug sockets do not look the same as their North America counterparts, but that visual clue is the tip of the iceberg. Behind those sockets is an electrical standard that is quite different from its North American counterpart, not just in looks. According to an article written by ElectinicsPoint.com here are some of the main differences:

  1. Different electrical standard and Europe follows the International Electrical Code (IEC) while North America follows the National Electrical Code (NEC)
  2. Power distribution: A significantly different distribution, while in EU a 3-phase system is in use, in North American we use single phase
  3. Voltage: In Europe voltage is between 220 and 240V, in North America, it is 120 V

When working with industrial equipment, especially when troubleshooting, awareness of these differences is very important, and training using the right standards is key. Imagine taking a voltage reading and getting a 110V and you are expecting a 240 V? Or opening a receptacle to see that wires are attached using marrettes when you were expecting a terminal block?

International Standards In Simutech Multimedia

Simulation as a concept is intended to replicate real environments, that is why at Simutech our electrical troubleshooting training has always provided trainees with the ability to learn in either North American or International Standards. As we deploy our new web-based training, we are mindful of the two standards and are deploying the training as such.

In our new learning labs, we have implemented the training with the International Standards and well as North American. As a user, you can experience a realistic rendering of the receptacle, fuses, and components as well as the different way of displaying wiring diagrams and schematics, and of course, under the hood, all the science and engineering that comes with the International Standards.

For more information about our electrical training systems contact [email protected]

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The Impact of Robots and Automation In Manufacturing

The Impact of Robots and Automation In Manufacturing

Robots play an important role in manufacturing operations. From moving materials on the production line to packing, palletizing, and loading, they enable businesses to become more efficient while protecting employees from various industrial hazards.

Over the past ten years, the global sales volume of industrial robots has tripled, reaching about 400,000 units in 2018. This increased demand for industrial robots is largely driven by the automotive sector, where on average, there are 2,000 robot installations per 10,000 employees.

Types of robots

Manufacturing robots generally fall under three categories: welders, assemblers, and dispensers.

Welders

29% of the robots used in manufacturing are welders. They are popular among small manufacturers due to their cost-effectiveness, precision, repeatability, and output.

Assembly robots

Assembly robots are designed to pick up components from a conveyor to make a piece to make it fit with another piece. They are most commonly used by automotive manufacturers.

Dispensing robots

Dispensing robots are used for painting, gluing, applying adhesive, and spraying. Only 4% of the operational robots are dispensing robots.

The advantages of robots

Whether you’re in the automotive industry or elsewhere, material handling is the most common use case for industrial robots. Over 38% of robots are used for materials handling because it typically involves repetitive, predictable, and often unsafe tasks that could put workers at risk of injury.

Depending on who you ask, material handling can also have different meanings. It could refer to parts selection, packing, machine feeding, or any task that involves moving an item from one part of the manufacturing floor to another. Regardless of its context, though, the end goal of using robotics for materials handling is the same across all industries.

Besides material handling, robots also benefit manufacturers by increasing product quality. This is especially important in the automotive industry, where customers continually demand new features with each car model — robots allow manufacturers to keep up with these customer demands and reduce the costs of creating new products due to increased economies of scale.

The disadvantages of robots

Even though there are many upsides to using robots, one of the most significant disadvantages of a highly automated manufacturing process is that it increases the need for highly skilled labor, which can impact ROI in the long run. This phenomenon is known as the automation paradox, and we recently wrote a blog post explaining its effects on manufacturers.

One of the automation paradox’s effects is that workers need to understand the sophisticated operation and programming of robots to troubleshoot any issues effectively. The number of people with these skills is currently limited, which is why upskilling existing personnel is critical.

There are also ongoing costs that you have to factor in when considering industrial robots. These costs come from ongoing expenses such as maintenance and upgrades and secondary costs such as cybersecurity and support of other connected IoT devices.

Start training your maintenance staff today

If you would like to train your maintenance staff on best practices for troubleshooting electrical faults, please contact us at [email protected] to learn more about our 3D simulation training software.

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3 Criteria to Measure Manufacturing Training Effectiveness

3 Criteria to Measure Manufacturing Training Effectiveness

Manufacturing training programs are an investment in your employees. It makes sense that you should have a way of measuring their effectiveness. By regularly evaluating your staff against key training performance indicators, you’ll have a better understanding of your company’s overall capacity to handle any security incidents.

The three criteria that you should pay particular attention to include safety, accuracy, and efficiency. These metrics are included in Simutech Multimedia’s reporting module, which also shows other useful information about each maintenance professional’s performance. In this post, we’ll explain why these three criteria are essential and offer some insight into how to interpret your results.

Lagging vs. leading indicators 

The best way to understand performance indicators is to look at them through the lens of lagging and leading indicators. A lagging indicator is a metric that tells you about what has already happened. For example, profitability is a lagging indicator because it indicates earnings and expenses in the past. It doesn’t necessarily imply the same results will happen again in the future — that’s what leading indicators measure.

A leading indicator looks at future outcomes and events. Manufacturing KPIs such as safety, accuracy, and efficiency are all leading indicators because they can be used to predict future outcomes based on each maintenance professional’s performance in the training program.

Manufacturing Training Effectiveness

Image source: Intrafocus

Safety

When it comes to assessing training performance, safety is one of the easiest metrics to understand. In Simutech Multimedia’s training system, this metric refers to your worker’s ability to follow the right safety producers. That means using lockout tagout (LOTO) and applying the 5-step process to troubleshoot electrical faults.

We recently wrote an article about the importance of LOTO, so be sure to read that to find out why it’s important. Although safety is a leading indicator, it will also have a noticeable impact on lagging indicators such as injury frequency and severity, lost workdays, and workers’ compensation costs. A reduction in any of these lagging indicators could indicate that your team is following electrical safety best practices.

Accuracy

Accuracy is another important metric to look at when measuring manufacturing training effectiveness because it can be used as a predictor for future performance. For example, let’s say you have two maintenance professionals who complete one of Simutech’s training modules. One gets an accuracy rating of 51%, and another receives a 33% rating after completing the training in the first attempt.

If they complete several modules and get similar scores, then you could assume that the second troubleshooter would be less accurate on average when dealing with electrical faults. Looking at this metric in the context of the troubleshooter’s safety rating will give you a better idea of whether they should be tasked with fixing electrical equipment in an emergency situation.

Efficiency

Efficiency can also be used as a metric to determine how quickly your maintenance staff can fix an electrical fault. Similar to safety, efficiency is a leading indicator that can be measured by its impact on lagging indicators such as mean time to repair (MTTR) and profitability. In other words, efficient staff will lead to a lower MTTR and higher profitability from reduced downtime costs.

The opposite is also true — a higher MTTR and increased downtime costs could indicate that your staff is inefficient in one or more areas of electrical troubleshooting. If this is the case, then implementing a training program is your best option for finding out your most efficient maintenance workers.

Use Simutech Multimedia’s 3D training system to measure manufacturing training effectiveness 

Simutech’s new 3D training system comes with all the reporting features you need to measure your manufacturing training effectiveness . If you would like to get a free demo, please contact us at [email protected]

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How to Build an Effective Training Plan

How to Build an Effective Training Plan

Training plans are an essential part of any manufacturing environment. They prevent accidents from happening, reduce training costs, and ensure that your company remains compliant to a variety of regulations. Without a training plan, you not only put your employees at risk of injury but you also increase the likelihood of employee turnover, which can negatively impact your profitability in the long run.

So how do you go about creating a training plan that all benefits all your employees? You’ll find the answer to that question in this post. We’ll cover some of the steps you can take to build an effective training plan and also look at how you can use Simutech Multimedia’s training platform to maximize your return on training investment.

Elements of a training plan

Creating a training plan involves a lot more than creating a training manual and sharing it with everyone in your team. It’s an ongoing process that requires continuous input from your company’s management and employees. You’ll need to collect data to see how workers progress through your program, then determine what needs to be changed to improve learning outcomes.

The topic of creating a training plan is way beyond the scope of a single blog post, but there are a few key steps you should consider when creating a training plan for your company. Let’s explore some of them below.

Training Needs Assessment

The first step to creating an effective training plan is to perform a training needs assessment. The goal of this assessment is to identify the problems that you intend to solve with your training program. For example, the need to create a training program may arise from the addition of new manufacturing equipment or a decrease in efficiency from your workers.

Developing a training needs assessment typically involves the following steps:

  • Identifying business goals that your training supports
  • Listing the tasks your team needs to perform reach your goals
  • Identifying the learning characteristics needed to make the training more effective

After you’ve created a formal needs assessment document, you’ll be able to move on to the next step, which involves setting your learning goals.

Learning goals

Your learning goals reflect the key milestones you intend on achieving from your training program. What do you want your learners to be able to do after they complete their training? Is it troubleshooting faster, following safety standards, or something else?

In addition to setting goals, you’ll want to make sure you have a means of measuring everyone’s performance against your benchmarks. Some KPIs you could consider include training accuracy, safety rate, and efficiency. These metrics are all included in our training system, so you can easily see who’s doing well and who needs additional training.

Training delivery method

Besides creating your learning goals, you’ll also need to identify the training materials required for your training program. You could go the traditional route, using in-person training, powerpoint presentations and manuals, but those methods aren’t as effective as something like simulation training.

With simulation training, your staff will be able to learn everything they need to troubleshoot electrical equipment safely in an immersive 3D environment. The best part is that you don’t need any special equipment or additional floor space to deliver the training. All you need is a browser and a laptop.

Implementation plan

Once you’ve decided on your training delivery method, you should start implementing your training plan and collecting data about your users. For the best results, you should encourage your manufacturing staff to go through the training material on a regular schedule to increase knowledge retention.

Through Simutech Multimedia’s reporting module, you’ll be able to get a high-level view of how effective your staff is at solving a wide range of problems. From these results, you’ll be able to figure out what changes need to be  made to your training program moving forward.

training plan

Learn more about implementing a training plan

If you’re currently an admin using Simutech’s training system, we have an upcoming webinar where we’ll discuss setting up an effective training plan. Be sure to join Warren Rhude, Simutech Founder, on this Administrators only webinar to learn about:

  •     Recommended Learning Paths
  •     All pieces to integrate an Annual Learning Plan
  •     Main outcomes of each module
  •     Estimated time per level

And more!

Join us next Thursday, June 11th, 2020 @ 2pm EST / 11am PST

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