Posts Tagged ‘training skills’

As Factory Orders Increase, So Should Manufacturing Safety Training Initiatives

Friday, July 6th, 2012

On Tuesday the U.S. Commerce Department reported a 0.7 percent increase in factory orders from April to May.  Meaning recently, more companies have placed orders with U.S. factories for machinery, computers and other industrial equipment which might hint at the chance of expansion.

After two consecutive months of declining factory orders and recent reports of slowing manufacturing production in June, the increase in orders was welcomed with open arms. However, factory orders remain lower than where they began the 2012 year at and manufacturing activity is still at a three year low.

Factory orders overall rose to $469 billion. With core capital goods, including machinery and computers, rising at the rate of 2.1 percent.

While it may seem the manufacturing industry has lost some of its spunk due to a variety of factors, including Europe’s debt crisis, manufacturing managers still have the opportunity to enhance internal performance. In order to promote good business great safety practices must be upheld, especially in the manufacturing environment. By implementing safety standards to protect the workers on your plant floor as well as modern safety automation technology, manufacturers can boost both productivity and their bottom line.

Besides the obvious benefits of manufacturing safety training, such as the well-being of your workforce, protection of your equipment and avoidance of hazardous situations, industrial safety training provided in-house also allows for greater retention, consistency of delivery and reduced learning time.

Above all, in a time of slowed manufacturing activity, plant managers should take advantage of the opportunity to develop their staff’s industrial skills without effecting output. Whether they put into place process training, boiler training, hydraulic training, safety training or any other form of manufacturing training courseware, the return on investment will not go unnoticed. ITC Learning offers a variety of industrial training program options, contact them today to learn more.

Manufacturing Index Report Offers a Dim Outlook

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

On Monday, the Institute for Supply Management reported that the manufacturing index dropped to 49.7. May’s index came in at 53.5, naming June’s 49.7 reading the lowest since July of 2009, a month after the recession was said to have officially ended. The Institute for Supply Management also notes any readings below 50 mark shrinkage.

While the manufacturing industry has helped the economy promote growth ever since the Great Recession came to a close, its job market has started to weaken along with global expansion. As a result of Americans limiting their spending, the demand for manufactured goods has lowered. U.S. exports have also been negatively affected by the European recession. The slow manufacturing growth in China has put a damper on the U.S. manufacturing index as well.

The Institute for Supply Management’s estimate for new orders also shrank from 60.1 to 47.8, the first time it has dropped beneath 50 since April of 2009. These reports may offer a projection of the next few months as well, with the manufacturing sector expected to continue to weaken. Production also reportedly slowed to a three year low along with factories reporting less demand overseas. However, this is most likely due to the dismal state of Europe’s economy.

Employment, on the other hand, decreased but lingered at a positive level of 56.6, suggesting manufacturers are still hiring. Amidst such a dim outlook, the fact that factories may continue to add jobs offers a light at the end of the tunnel. So, perhaps now is the best time then to make the most of the staff you have and enhance their industrial skill sets. With industrial skills training your workforce is able to advance their current manufacturing skills sets while on the job. ITC Learning offers industrial training in a variety of formats to ensure each adult learner is able to fully comprehend the modules and further their careers. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more about how your plant can benefit from industrial skills training.

Time to Tackle the Skilled Worker Shortage

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

On Thursday the United States Commerce Department reported there was little to no change in their final estimate for growth during the January to March quarter. With the economy only having expanded at the annual rate of 1.9 percent, economists project a dim outlook for the remainder of the year. Most say the economy will either stay the same or weaken somewhat due to the slowing job market and the waning confidence of consumers and businesses alike.

With the economy slowly crawling towards recovery, the skilled labor shortage remains a pressing issue. Many analysts say in order to solve the problem manufacturers must change their hiring approach and how the value their production employees. A survey by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, “Boiling Point?”, backs this idea up and suggests a couple next steps to take.

First, the survey defines the difference in unskilled production workers, skilled production workers and the two types of engineers. The survey also concluded the greatest shortage is found in the skilled production segment of the manufacturing workforce.

Another point made in the survey is the fact that manufacturing practices are constantly evolving. Perhaps greatly due to the advancement of technology, as a result many workers find it harder to keep up with today’s standards. On the other hand, plant owners and hiring managers are equally at fault as a lot of their approaches to seeking out and hiring the right people for open positions are outdated.

As we ready ourselves for the inevitable mass exodus of baby boomers as they reach retirement age, something must be done now. While many agencies have taken the opportunity to present the manufacturing industry in a more positive light to today’s youth in an effort to pique their interest and ultimately increase the pool of skilled production workers, more needs to be done immediately. Manufacturing training is becoming a popular option within plants as a means of developing the industrial skills of current employees and new hires. With multiple delivery options, such as online courseware, full motion video courseware and even traditional classroom learning, manufacturing training helps to enhance the skill sets of your skilled labor workforce. With industrial training you are not only investing in the future of your employees but also in your plant.

Math is a Must in Today’s Industrial Skills Training

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

The industrial skills necessary to be successful in today’s manufacturing industry have change drastically over time. However, basic industrial skills still include:

  • Applied math
  • Reading
  • Application of information
  • Technical skills in production, machining, quality assurance, logistics, technology safety and maintenance.

As technology progresses so must the industrial skill level of plant workers. And, math is perhaps the area that needs the most focus. Miles Free, the director of research and technology at the Precision Machined Products Association, agrees and expressed the importance of developing math skills in manufacturing employees in his statement comparing older technology with today’s CNC machines. Free said, “In the old days, the adjustments were all manual, mostly by feel, and involved loosening screws, tapping with hammers and retightening. Today’s CNC multi-axis machines require knowledge of Cartesian coordinate systems, trigonometry to calculate offsets, sophisticated math for linear interpolation of thread forms, as well as G code and block logic programming to operate and adjust the machines and its operations — plus, tolerances are now at the fifth decimal places in some cases.”

For that very reason, industrial skills training is critical to the development of today’s manufacturing workforce. Ideally, workers would be hired with these industrial skills sets already in their possession but the reality is that many plant owners and managers must take manufacturing training into their own hands. There are benefits to this though, by implementing industrial skills training in-house employees will receive proper training tailored to your specific business. Plus, they can take advantage of hands on training with the equipment and processes they will actually deal with once their industrial skills training is complete. Manufacturing managers are no longer solely looking for manual labor, they need qualified human capital that can deliver their desired results efficiently and effectively. To do so, advanced math skills are a must. Contact ITC Learning today, to learn how your plant can benefit from our comprehensive industrial skills training courseware.

Manufacturing Training: The Perfect Solution for the Talent Shortage

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

The search for skilled laborers has become a great scavenger hunt. Recently, ManpowerGroup released their seventh annual talent shortage survey which proved skilled trades are still among the hardest positions to fill in 2012, a first place spot it claimed last year as well. Machine operators and machinists moved from tenth to the ninth most difficult jobs to fill while skilled trades remained at number one, engineers took the number two spot and IT staff took three.

Bosch Rexroth, a worldwide leader in producing drive, motion and control technologies for manufacturing equipment, announced their plan to expand their Fountain Inn, South Carolina plant some time ago. The new facility, which has amounted to a whopping $80 million investment, will be the biggest hydraulics manufacturing plant in North America once completed. In an effort to fill open positions for machinists and maintenance technicians, the hydraulics manufacturer held numerous job fairs in multiple cities, only to find they faced the same issues as many other manufacturers seeking skilled laborers.

The ManpowerGroup’s survey noted that 55 percent of their respondents said there was indeed a lack of talent available or no applicants at all. More than half, about 54 percent, of the survey’s respondents also said another major issue with filling positions was due partly to the fact that many prospective employees were looking for more pay than what they had to offer. 44 percent of those surveyed noted the third leading cause of problems filling available positions was a lack of experience or industrial training. Overall the survey showed that 49 percent of U.S. employers have had a hard time filling jobs, compared to 34 percent worldwide.

With the talent shortage becoming an issue across the globe, many employers may be forced to develop their own talent through the use of industrial training. The benefits of manufacturing training are endless, but perhaps one of the greatest payoffs is the ability to train your own workforce in house, hands on and in multiple formats. For more information on industrial training programs that can help you avoid the trials of searching for the talent your manufacturing plant requires, contact ITC Learning today.

How Others Have Tackled the Need for Industrial Training

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Over and over again we stress the importance of manufacturing training, as it is critical to the development of industrial skill sets within any workforce. Some manufacturers choose to search for skilled laborers while others opt to implement industrial training programs to further the skills of their current employees. Manufacturer Blum Inc. is one that has chosen to train in house in an entirely different way.

The North Carolina based manufacturer employs approximately 350 people and manufactures drawer hinges and runner systems for cabinetry as well as lift systems. Instead of searching high and low for the most qualified candidates, Blum Inc. chose to create the skilled workforce they desired right under their own roof. With the help of a comprehensive apprenticeship program, Blum Inc. guarantees trainees a job once they complete the program, called Apprenticeship 2000.

It’s no secret Blum Inc. must employ an extensively trained workforce with well-rounded industrial skill sets. Their 450,000 square foot factory is heavily automated with a large part of its components produced on site. Blum Inc. employees operate, maintain and repair most of the equipment.

The Apprentice 2000 program offers 8,000 hours of manufacturing training, which includes traditional classroom training as well as hands on experience. Graduates of the program receive an associate’s degree in manufacturing technology as well as a journeyman certification from the North Carolina Department of Labor. Trainees even earn a paycheck during their manufacturing training courses. Of course graduates are also offered a job at Blum Inc. with a starting salary of $34,000 and are not required to sign a contract. Despite the fact signing a contract is not mandatory, last year Blum reported that nearly 80% of its graduates remain with the company.

As the Apprenticeship 2000 program nears its 20th anniversary in the next few years, Blum executives admit the endeavor is a costly one. Over the course of the four year program, the average cost per trainee is about $100,000. However, the return on investment is priceless.

While some manufacturers may take such an idea and run with it, others looking for a more economical way to train their industrial employees should turn to programs such as ITC Learning. With full motion video courseware, CD and DVD training as well as online courseware, ITC Learning offers the manufacturing training necessary to develop a highly skilled workforce in an easy to deliver format. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more about their quality industrial training programs.

Surveys Point to Industrial Training as a Solution

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

The recent 2012 Executive Employer Survey was released by Littler Mendelson, P.C. and interviewed an array of corporate executives who are generally in charge of hiring and management of human capital. The survey found that most respondents, approximately 71 percent, plan to continue hiring in the coming year, while only 8 percent plan to lay off full time employees. Respondents to the survey also noted that some leading challenges they face include the demands for their workforce to do more with less resources and underemployment. Although, employee retention seemed to be the most difficult issue to handle among those surveyed.

Respondents to the Littler Mendelson survey also believe the upcoming presidential election will greatly impact job creation. 85 percent of respondents said they think Mitt Romney will make job creation a high priority compared to 70 percent that said President Barak Obama would assign high priority to job creation during his next term. Either way, respondents think the nearing election will have a great focus on creating jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Multiple factors affect the current status quo of the manufacturing industry ultimately limiting the labor force from maximizing output. However, during a time of sitting and waiting there is a glimmer of hope. Investing in industrial training can help offer manufacturers and their workforce a boost in their industrial skills as well as in their morale.

Industrial training can be applied to any given plant and is sure to further the education of its current manufacturing workforce. Selecting the proper industrial training courseware is perhaps one of the most critical steps in implementing effective training. Manufacturers what to ensure their industrial training program is interactive and offers the highest quality courseware available. With the right industrial training program, your current staff can increase productivity and boost your bottom line. And, with the future of hiring still up in the air, now is the time to ensure your existing employees’ industrial skills levels are the highest they could possibly be. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more about how your plant can benefit from our quality industrial training programs.

While Economic Optimism Among Manufacturers Grows So Should Industrial Training Efforts

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Every business strategy works best when a plan has been put in place first. Manufacturing training is no different. In order to implement a successful manufacturing training program you must first focus in on the management approach you will use and then work from there. There are a few training and management options that coincide with industrial training efforts, they include, Lean Manufacturing, Sig Sigma and TQM. While optimism grows among industrial manufacturers concerning the U.S. economy, this may be the perfect time to train. In fact, the PwC Manufacturing Barometer reported a rise to 68 percent in optimism during the first quarter of 2012, a 40 point increase from the mere 28 percent reported in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Lean manufacturing is by no means a new concept. The practice of lean manufacturing focuses on preserving the value of a product through less work. The lean production practice is a variation of efficiency and seeks to optimize work flow by reducing waste. While the strategy emerged in the 1950’s it was not until the 1980’s that is was considered a practical business approach. And in recent years, as the economic downturn threatened many manufacturing businesses, the idea of lean production really took root in the industry.

Sig Sigma, as you may already know, is a data-driven approach which also seeks to improve the output process by eliminating wasteful tasks that may cause defects and ultimately aims to minimize inconsistencies within the manufacturing process.

Finally, TQM or Total Quality Management is an older concept of Sig Sigma. TQM strives to attain long term success through customer satisfaction by training employees to continuously improve the quality of their products by consistently refining the quality of their process.

Once you’ve selected an approach that will work best for your business, the next step is to actually implement the industrial training courseware that directly relates to your goals. Below are some tips that will help your organization get the most from your industrial training.

  1. Consistency. Consistency needs to be carried out through each and every one of your manufacturing training efforts. This mean ensuring both new hires and existing employees receive the same process training.
  2. Quality. This tip stems from the quality of your industrial training program. Quality courseware must be implemented in order to see the desired results. Quality must not only be trained but also maintained.
  3. Rewarding. Rewarding your adult learners for performing tasks properly, excelling in their industrial training program or identifying an issue will help boost employee morale, ultimately enhancing overall performance.

With these tips and a defined approach, industrial training should be a breeze. Organizations like ITC Learning also help manufacturing plants achieve their goals through the use of quality industrial training courseware. To learn more, contact ITC Learning today!

While Unemployment Falls Industrial Training Should Increase

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

The Labor Department reported earlier this month that during the month of April the unemployment rates in two thirds of U.S. states fell, suggesting continued economic growth as this year progresses. In most states the unemployment rate dropped below the national average of 8.1percent, recorded during the previous month.  In April of 2012 the unemployment rates in 22 of the U.S. states came in below 7 percent, compared to just 13 states below 7 percent in April of last year.

Reports concluded the unemployment rate in 37 states dropped during last month. Rates rose in only five states while they remained unchanged in eight.

The consistent decline of unemployment rates in the U.S. offers a sigh of relief and perhaps a sense of hope for the months to come. As hiring also seems to have increased among many manufacturers, owners and managers are now looking to improve productivity and ensure each and every plant employee is properly prepared to take on their tasks with in their given factory.

One guaranteed way in which to be sure your workforce is performing to their full potential is through the use of an industrial training program. Industrial training courseware helps manufacturing managers know they can rely on a productive staff to attain the plant’s desired output.

By utilizing an industrial skills training program, workers are able to learn the skill sets necessary to meet the standards and qualifications set by the manufacturing industry. Hands on learning in the industrial field helps trainees develop their skills in a productive way for both the manufacturer and the adult learner. Industrial training programs help us address the skills shortage crisis in the U.S. And, while more jobs positions may be opening in the industrial field, manufacturers have had a hard time finding qualified employees. With industrial skills training this doesn’t have to be an issue. Each employee, new and existing, is given the opportunity to expand their knowledge within their trade and work more productively. Ultimately industrial training programs help improve safety, reduce turnover, boost employee morale and allow your plant to operate more effectively. Contact ITC Learning today to learn more about the benefits of industrial training courseware.

The Importance of Industrial Maintenance Training

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Time and time again we have stressed the importance of maintenance training. Industrial maintenance training is so critical to any given manufacturers success because it ensures all of your factory equipment, new and old, is functioning both efficiently and effectively for maximum production output.

Industrial maintenance training, though goes way beyond simply educating your workforce on the ins and outs of your plant’s machinery. Proper maintenance training teaches trainees how to recognize an issue before it occurs and how to prevent mechanical problems from happening in the future. In addition to quality maintenance training, a well thought out maintenance management plan should be incorporate into your plants practices. With both extensive maintenance training and a comprehensive maintenance plan, your factory equipment should run smoothly. Below are some tips for putting together an industrial maintenance management plan.

  • Ensure your frontline approach is practical, structured and most of all simplified so issues can be identified easily.
  • Utilize training programs to develop problem solving skills, from identification to carrying out the solution.
  • A maintenance management plan helps look at how your plant currently operates and at its production potential. With an in depth maintenance plan you will be able to determine what practices were successful in the past and figure out ways in which to repeat them. You will also be able to note what has been unsuccessful so you can avoid those processes.
  • Having an organized maintenance storage room and spare parts management also allows for routine maintenance to run smoothly.

Ultimately you want to be able to rely on your equipment to run well without any problems, and with adequate maintenance training and a maintenance management plan that is all inclusive you can easily achieve those goals. After all, a well-run machine helps produce quality goods effectively, ultimately allowing you to provide the highest quality products and services while also boosting your bottom line.