The Benefits of Creating A Manufacturing Training Plan

The Benefits of Creating A Manufacturing Training Plan

It’s summer time and time to head out on those fun family road trips. The promise of exploring a new destination awaits, and the car is packed with anticipation. It is hard to believe that anything could go wrong — until of course one misses a few too many turns, and has to ask for directions!

In the good ol’ days, one had to rely on a paper map to get them back on track and avoid the constant “are-we-there-yet?” from the back seat. These days, it’s hard to imagine driving to a new destination without the aid of a GPS device, be it built-in or on your phone.

The same innovations are true for training programs!

Why you need a training plan

Maybe you just purchased a new training program for your team, and you know the destination: a well trained employee, happy, working safely, efficiently. You’re excited, the employee is excited, what could possibly go wrong? That’s when you both realize — you don’t have a map to get you to that destination.

You don’t have a training plan.

At Simutech we believe the following:

  1. Training is essential to achieving corporate goals.
  2. Continuous training is more important than a one time training program.
  3. Without a training plan and clear expectations, you are unlikely to achieve your goals.

That is why we work with our clients in putting together a training plan that best suits their needs and why we publish our own training plan that has the following essential elements:

  1. Communicate the objectives with everyone.
  2. Have a committed team and assign a training leader to oversee the training.
  3. Make sure training is scheduled weekly.
  4. Schedule short and focused training sessions.
  5. Follow a set path.
  6. Monitor, measure, and recognize success.

It is essential that participants in the training feel accomplished. In a training plan we shared in a recent webinar, we divided our training into five levels that are intended to gradually move a trainee through the program in an effective way.

This map allows your trainees to become expert troubleshooters at a pace that fits their skills and abilities, following a schedule, and ensuing continuous training so that retention is optimized.

We would love to connect with you to see what training best suits your needs, contact us at [email protected]

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What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Code

What You Need To Know About The International Electrical Code

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 standardard. Europe follows the International Electrical Code (IEC) while North America follows 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 merretts when you were expecting a terminal block?

International Electrical Code (IEC) 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 the ability to learn in either NEC or IEC 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 International Electrical Code (IEC) and well as NEC. 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 Electrical Code (IEC) 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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How to Check Whether Your Browser Works With Our Training System

How to Check Whether Your Browser Works With Our Training System

Here at Simutech Multimedia, we’re always looking for new ways to help our customers get the most out of our training system. We recently shared an overview of our electrical safety training module built on the new 3D training system.

Many of our customers were excited about the new launch, and some asked us if there was a tool they could use to test whether their browsers would work with Simutech’s new 3D training system. So we decided to build a tool to do just that. We call it the browser test, and you can access it by visiting simutechmultimedia.com/browser.

How to use the browser test

Once you go to the browser test tool, you’ll notice that it’s split up into different sections: service test, browser details, internet connections, and graphics.

browser test

The service test section is a general status update showing whether or not our 3d training system is accessible. If everything’s working as it should, you’ll see a message saying, “Simutech API connection established.” And if our training system goes offline for some reason, you’ll get an error message with information about how to contact our support team for help.

The next section of the browser test tool is where you’ll see all the information related to the browser you’re using. We automatically detect your operating system and browser to show you whether or not it works with Simutech’s training system. At the bottom of that section, you’ll see the minimum browser requirements.

After you’ve verified that your browser and operating system are compatible with our training system, you can look at your connection speed and graphics details to determine whether or not you meet the minimum requirements. For internet connection, we recommend a minimum speed of 5 Mbps, and for graphics, we recommend that you use a computer with a resolution of at least 1366×768. Also, be sure to check that you have an Intel Core i5 with U620 Intel Graphics and 8GB of RAM. You can find this information by going to your computer’s settings.

If you’re still using our 2D product, we also have a secondary tool that will help you determine whether it will work on your computer. You can find it here: simutechmultimedia.com/browser/2d. For more information our training system, be sure to reach out to us at [email protected]

 

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