Archive for the ‘Skills Testing’ Category

Manufacturing Activity Index Reaches 10 Month High

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

During the month of April, U.S. manufacturing rose at the fastest pace it has seen over the last 10 months. Hiring, production and the amount of new orders all increased in the past month. The boost in factories indicates a stronger economy than the recently released data had hinted at. The growth brings a sign of hope following last week’s report of slowed hiring in the early days of April.

A trade group of industrial purchasing managers known as the Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that the manufacturing index of activity rose to 54.8 last month. April’s index was the highest level reported since last June, and increased from 53.4 during the previous month. Any levels reported above 50 are considered to indicate expansion in the economy.

Clearly the report surpassed the expectations of many analysts. It also prompted investors to move money out of bonds and into stocks causing a boost in stock buying which ultimately helped the Dow Jones industrial average close at its highest in the past four years.

Now with a positive outlook on the months to come, hiring managers should consider industrial skills training and operations training as a hot commodity. With hiring and production on the rise, your production and maintenance staff should possess the proper skills to be an efficient problem solving workforce. With operations training your employees will receive the necessary training on the essential skills needed to ensure your equipment is operated and maintained effectively. In order to illustrate the ideal performance a plant operator must take three things into consideration at all times: safety, productivity and efficiency. These fundamentals are just part of the expanse of knowledge taught in operations training.

Ensure your plant equipment and employees operate to their full potential with operations training. Click here to learn more.

The Importance of Industrial Skills Training

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

The World Economic Forum and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. recently released a report which highlighted the two critical elements that could potentially threaten economic growth for manufacturers in the coming years. Those two factors include the lack of skilled manufacturers in today’s job market and the rising pressure for manufacturers to be innovative. The report states, approximately 10 million manufacturing jobs worldwide have gone unfilled simply because the skills gap continues to grow.

Craig Giffi, the vice Chairman of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd., said “In the race to future prosperity, nothing will matter more than talent.” This is perhaps the reason why industrial training is so pertinent to the future of manufacturing.

Manufacturers in economically developed countries have faced difficulties in filling job openings for highly skilled workers such as engineers, while businesses in still developing economies have had trouble filling basic skilled production jobs on plant floors. The report alluded to a 2011 Manpower survey that said nearly 34% of employers around the world have had a hard time filling jobs due to the talent shortage.

Those businesses that can rise up and overcome the shortage will remain global competitors, however many company’s wonder how they can do to stay a step ahead of the rest. The simple answer is through industrial skills training. Industrial skills training is a guaranteed way to not only enhance the performance of your current workforce but also boost employee morale and the potential of future employees.

According to the Deloitte report, many manufacturing business are collaborating with educators to help soften the future blow of the current talent shortage. Educators and manufacturers hope that by working together they can encourage interest in manufacturing among young scholars and ultimately boost the skill level in the industry.

Skills training is an effective program that can increase both production and your bottom line. ITC Learning offers industrial skills training in an array of areas. To find out more about how industrial skills training can benefit your business contact us today.

5 Industrial Training Myths

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Industrial training is perhaps one of the most important steps in workforce development. However, throughout the years many myths have come about as a result of both quality and poor manufacturing training. Some of these myths are listed below:

1. When the going gets tough, cut training.

This is statement is not only false but it’s absurd. It’s understandable that deciding on what budgets to cut is not a simple task to take on when times are tough. However, it’s during those tough times that you want your workforce to produce at their full potential, and in order to do so, often industrial training courses will need to be implemented.

2. Once industrial training is complete, manufacturing managers should not concern themselves with the issue again.

Following industrial training managers should consistently follow up to see whether their staff is applying those skills they learned. If they are, then plant managers as well as owners will be able to see the success of their work. If not, they’ll need to assess their mistakes and see how their industrial training program can be improved upon.

3. Putting a web-based industrial training program in place is the best route to go because it is the cheapest.

Although web based learning systems tend to be more cost effective, they are not always the most effective. Adult learners retain information in very different ways. Incorporating full motion video courseware as well as CD-ROM and DVD courses can help mix things up and ensure each of your staff members receives the proper industrial training for their learning style.

4. Implementing industrial training just once will solve all performance and development issues.

Wrong again. Industrial training courseware is a great opportunity to enhance employee performance and make sure proper protocol is utilized. However, it may take time and patience for your workforce to really improve upon their skills and boost output.

5. It will be obvious to industrial skills trainers what each trainee will need to learn from the get go.

Prior to organizing and employing industrial training courseware, plant managers should analyze their staff’s current industrial skill sets and, when training time comes, make it clear what it is their workforce is expected to take away from the program.

There are tons of myths pertaining to industrial training courseware and it is critical to become aware of them before actual training begins. To learn more about how to select the right manufacturing training program for your staff and how to ensure your program will be effective, contact ITC Learning.

The Importance of Making Manufacturing Training the Norm

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

When it comes to cost-cutting plans in many manufacturing plants, often the first of the budgets to be eliminated is that for workforce development. However, this is one of the most common errors made in manufacturing management when it comes to industrial skills training. Another common mistake is that managers do not take the time to step back and properly analyze the current skill level of their staff and the objectives they wish to reach. If manufacturing managers took the time to evaluate and prioritize the particular type of training they need to better benefit your workforce, then they might see in a time of nickel and diming that industrial training could actually be an opportunity to advance current skill sets and increase both production and your bottom line.

In order to put forth effective workforce development, industrial training programs and their optimization efforts must go along with an organizations specific outlooks. In 2009 Ron Kirscht, President of Donnelly Custom Manufacturing Co., noted a few factors which motivate his commitment to industrial training efforts. Those motivations include the following:

  • Nothing is static when it comes to manufacturing training. Your workforce’s skill level is either improving or becoming worse.
  • Profit directly relates to the quality and quantity of a given plant’s output.
  • Management’s most important task is to encourage the continuation of business.

Manufacturing training should be a part of every plant’s human resources norm. Air Products and Chemicals, an atmospheric gases and related equipment/materials manufacturer, aims to make manufacturing training a prominent part of their human resources. Vince Grassi, the firm’s director, said “As part of the HR function, workforce training and management is now one of the 13 standardized processes used across the corporation.” He adds, “The other advantage of standardizing processes lies in having a uniform, low cost model available throughout the global corporate presence.”

Consistent advances in manufacturing technology add another critical element to the training game. With manufacturing technology orders reaching a ten year high, manufacturing training becomes an important issue among plant managers. ITC Learning offers an array of industrial training courses to ensure your workforce is performing efficiently and effectively and ultimately aims to increase your bottom line and boost your return on investment. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more.

Safety and Maintenance Training Essential for Efficiency

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Industrial safety training is no joke. While accidents are inevitable, manufacturing managers should do all they can to prevent them. Aside from offering the safest work space possible, they can also provide industrial employees with the opportunity to take part in safety training. Manufacturing training which focuses on plant safety alone is critical to ensure safe practices during production. However, implementing quality maintenance training is equally as important. A workforce with a well-rounded industrial maintenance skill set will be able to properly repair, install and maintain the industrial equipment found on your plant floor. Tending to routine maintenance issues and performing preventative up keep will assure everything is running smoothly.

With U.S. technology orders continuing to rise as 2012 progresses, maintenance training is becoming all the more important. The Association of Manufacturing Technology reported that manufacturing technology orders in February totaled nearly $444 million. This number demonstrates a 9.3 percent increase since January and was up 35.2 percent when compared to the $328.44 million reported in February of last year. Douglas K. Woods, President of AMT noted, “Manufacturing technology orders are off to their best start since 1998…U.S. manufacturers continue to seek increases in productivity through automation and innovative technologies to increase their global competiveness.”

ITC Learning offers industrial maintenance training that can help your current as well as new employees acquire their maintenance training certification or simply enhance their existing skills with maintenance training programs. With industrial businesses investing more and more in new technologies, proper up keep is essential to make sure their machinery is running correctly and efficiently. With a well trained workforce, frequent inspections of both new and old technology as well as an in depth knowledge of new technology maintenance protocols your plant machinery will operate to its full potential and ultimately work effectively to increase your bottom line. To find out more about industrial maintenance training for your team, contact ITC Learning.

Industrial Training, The Right Way

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Time and time again we attempt to express the growing importance of industrial training. However, often industrial training is hoped to be the remedy that will fix all skill set related issues among your workforce. In reality, that’s not the case. Often the real troubled areas are overlooked and as a result the potential of successful industrial training diminishes. Manufacturers invest both time and money in selecting and implementing the right industrial training for their staff. But, without first assessing the skills gap in their current workforce, a lot of that time and money may be wasted.

While any training is probably better than none, putting useless industrial training into place is the main reason efforts fail to deliver the intended results. To ensure your industrial training tactics will be beneficial, consider your training to be an endless cycle: evaluate, train, apply, and repeat.

Evaluating your workforce’s current skill sets is perhaps the most important primary step of all. You want to be sure you focus your industrial training efforts on the skills gap that currently exists within your staff and avoid training them on skills they have already mastered.

Secondly, you should make sure your training courseware-whether it be online courseware or even full motion video courseware- is customizable. Once you’ve assessed your staff’s current skill sets you want to be sure the training content is tailored to fit both your organizational needs and their personal skill set needs.

During the course of training, application of the newly learned skills is critical to success. Text book learning is often effective for most adult learners, however by setting up mock work stations or assigning small internal tasks that encourage the application of the learned material in a controlled environment you can greatly enhance the probability of retention.

Finally, you’ll want to be sure you reevaluate your industrial staff’s job skills at a later date to ensure the initial training was effective and to see what other industrial skills sets need to be addressed. Ultimately, to increase output with an efficient and effective workforce they must utilize the proper skills on your plant floor. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more about implementing industrial training courseware which aims to maximize your return on investment.

Get the Most from your Industrial Skills Training

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

So we have convinced you that industrial skills training is the greatest way to enhance your employee performance and boost your bottom line. But, now it’s time to determine exactly how you’ll implement your industrial training courseware. How can you be sure your adult learners are grasping and understanding the content you are offering? How will you track their progress so you can be reassured they are participating and successfully completing your modules? By using some or all of the tips below putting your industrial training program into place should be a breeze.

Make sure your industrial training courseware is clear about what is to be accomplished. For example, will this course focus solely on air compressor training or control training? Or, do you plan to cover maintenance training? Determine what is it you want your trainees to get from the course and lay it out in a way that they’ll understand exactly what they are expected to come away with.

Incorporate hands on, real time industrial training into your program. This gives trainees the opportunity to see their education in action. By making your courseware interactive and engaging adult learners are more likely to stay interested in the material.

Perhaps include an award system for those that perform well once they are back on the plant floor. Positive reinforcement is critical to assure employees they are properly demonstrating their new industrial skills sets.

In an attempt to not let your industrial training courseware effect current production and output too much, try offering online courseware so employees can study and complete modules from home. Online industrial training is an effective way to allow trainees to complete lessons on their own time and at their own pace.

No matter what form of skills training you implement, plant supervisors and managers will need to be there every step of the way to serve as coaches and offer support as needed, especially once new employees or retrained staff return to the plant floor. Sometimes work efficiency and quality may drop after training as workers try to get the hang of applying their newly learned industrial skills. But, with trainers there to oversee their progress, production should pick back up very quickly.

Finally, a follow up is always necessary. Without going back to see how employee performance has improved you could potentially have wasted both time and money on training. To be sure your industrial training was properly received and applied, organize a post-course evaluation. Your evaluation should be done between 3 to 6 months after industrial training courseware has been completed.

Industrial training courseware can greatly enhance your employee performance and ultimately increase your output. Contact ITC Learning today to get started.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net & Suat Eman

Considering Adult Learners and Industrial Skills Training

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Training skills are not easy to come by. The most effective methods and the greatest intentions can all go unnoticed when it comes to implementing industrial training skills if the adult learner is not fully understood. Malcolm Knowles, who is credited with revolutionizing the adult learning field, identified key principals which are critical in understanding adult learning tendencies. These critical principles can ultimately help manufacturing managers not only put in place quality industrial training programs but also successfully reach and teach adult learners. Knowles’ principles include:

Adults are independent and often self-sufficient. They prefer to manage their time and study efforts themselves. Instructors must recognize and attempt to involve adult learners in lessons as much as possible.

Many adult learners have responsibilities beyond a training course they’re enrolled in. Not only must they be able to fit their industrial training into their busy day to day schedules but they also must be able to connect the content they’re learning with knowledge or experience they have already accumulated throughout life.

Adult learners aim for an end result.  Instructors must demonstrate what that end result will be, in an effort to give trainees something to work towards.

For adults new content learned, especially when it comes to on the job industrial skills training, must feel and be relevant to their actual tasks. If not, they’ll lose interest. Most of the time when adults seek out industrial skills training programs or are offered the opportunity through work, they are looking to obtain only knowledge that will help improve their industrial skills so anything extra or irrelevant may simply be disregarded. To help with this, instructors must be clear about how each piece of information taught will benefit their performance on the plant floor.

Finally, Knowles points out that adult learners mostly want to be treated with respect. They should have the opportunity to voice their opinions and share their own knowledge throughout the course, proving they are all equals and there only to expand their industrial skills not to be treated as if they are back in grade school.

Ultimately with adult learners, whatever the content they are learning, it must make a difference and they must have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned on a daily basis. Industrial skills training courseware, like ITC Learning’s, give adult learners each of these opportunities. ITC Learning even offers students the option to participate through online courseware. ITC Learning’s SCORM based online courseware allows students to log in from work or home and complete modules on their own time. SCORM also facilitates tracking and reporting for instructors. Additionally, ITC offers full motion video courseware, CD’s and DVD’s to make enhancing industrial skills easy from any place at any time. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net & David Castillo Dominici

Another Month of Growth Shows Promise for 2012 Manufacturing

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Thus far into the new year, the economy has seen promising growth. Factories have been fulfilling more orders, retailers have been making more sales and more jobs have been created as a result. On Wednesday morning, the Federal Reserve reported all 12 of the banking districts have seen growth all through January as well as during the first half of February.

Thanks to the positive economic growth the manufacturing industry has also seen a rise in output. Metal producers, auto manufacturers and steel makers have all reported progress since the beginning of 2012. While some manufacturers were concerned with the state of Europe’s economy, it seems that it has not greatly affect production. On average, employers have added nearly 200,000 jobs per month since November of last year which has resulted in a steady decrease in the unemployment rate over the past five consecutive months. In January the unemployment rate reached the low of 8.3 percent.

Economists and manufacturing managers alike predict another positive month for the economy and industrial production. More jobs result in more consumer spending which ultimately increases factory orders and output. On Wednesday, the Commerce Department reported that incomes across the nation increased in the second half of 2011 by much more than was originally expected.

Another month of continued economic growth and job development allows manufacturers to once again feel confident in hiring and training. Perhaps just as important as finding a qualified employee is the industrial skills training implemented to train those new hires as well as the existing workforce of any given plant. Technology is constantly evolving and in order for manufacturers to effectively and efficiently produce enough output to meet the growing consumer demand, employees must possess the proper industrial skills. ITC Learning provides industrial skills training to help improve your bottom line. With well-maintained equipment and a well-educated staff your plant floor is more likely to run smoothly. ITC Learning offers specifically designed courseware for process training, maintenance training, boiler training, hydraulic training and much more. All ITC Learning courseware has undergone a rigorous SME review to ensure content accuracy and guarantee your industrial training is the best available.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net & nokhoog_buchachon

Slowing in Productivity Could Mean an Increase in Hiring

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

This past Thursday the United Sates Labor Department stated that worker productivity in the final three months of 2011 rose relatively slowly. During the October to December quarter the annual rate reached only 0.7 percent. This rate was significantly lower than that of the previous quarter which reached nearly 1.9 percent. The recent slow in productivity could potentially mean increased hiring if the economy picks up.

Productivity is defined as the amount of output per hour within a given plant. While a slowdown in productivity is damaging to company profits, it can be beneficial for hiring if businesses see their current staff is meeting their full potential. This usually results in the need to take on new hires if the intention is to expand.

Growth accelerated to an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the final months of 2011. The increase spurred hiring and businesses added nearly 137,000 jobs each month. The number of jobs added was lower than the third quarter’s expected average however it was a spike from the April-June quarter which added only 97,000 jobs per month.

During the recession productivity jumped as employers found ways to boost output without hiring. In the short term, they were able to boost profits. But by 2011, productivity slowed as the workforce only slightly expanded and staff had to work longer hours. Increased plant productivity allows businesses to increase wages without having to bump the prices of their goods, which in turn can cause inflation.

The hope is that the slowed productivity seen on plant floors will encourage managers to continue hiring in an effort to meet the growing demands of an economy full of consumers who are once again regaining confidence in spending. With new hires comes the opportunity to train and even re train current company workforces. Industrial training skills are the essence of being able to increase productivity efficiently and effectively. Utilizing a well trained workforce through the use of industrial training courseware will only benefit businesses and boost their bottom line. Technology has even simplified the delivery methods of industrial training with online courseware and full motion video courseware. These platforms allow trainees to see industrial training skills where and when they’re comfortable learning. Learn more about the benefits of industrial training here.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net & Idea Go