Skilled trades are faltering in today’s market and the numbers do not lie. Skilled labor is decreasing in manufacturing and industry as seasoned trades-personnel retire from the job market. In an article by Forbes, out of the 2.9 Million Skilled-Trade Jobs, the North American workforce is comprised of 52.9% of workers over the age of 45 and 20.6% of workers over the age of 55. With the Baby-Boomers reaching retirement age and the current workforce not having the proper skill sets needed in key positions, finding the right employee to fill the gaps is important and limited.

In a report, Deloitte Development LLC and The Manufacturing Institute stated that, “Finding people with the required skills is only part of the equation. Respondents are also looking to develop their current talent in order to close the skills gap and outperform the competition. While most of the respondents we surveyed indicated that they have performance management tools in place, they are still relying heavily on informal methods.” Fitting the current workforce into the right position is key, especially when you are relying on the employee to maintain key assets or operate vital equipment. Now ask yourself, how reliable is my current workforce? What is the knowledge and skill-base required for that position?

Both maintenance and production have independent requirements when it comes to daily functions within a facility. Having the right training plan and goals set are greatly needed to keep any facility reliable. And the passing of “Tribal Knowledge” should not be included as a “training” plan. For many, training is conducted in-house utilizing this knowledge with unwritten and undocumented information that is not commonly known except by a few. This type of effort contributes to the errors and loss of revenue due to improper techniques, incorrect troubleshooting steps, and/or improper equipment procedures. By determining where each employee’s knowledge and skill-base are located related to their positions, management can align the correct goals, key performance indicators (KPIs), and training requirements. By incorporating defined training, with known guidelines and proven skill building techniques, any company, including yours, can function more efficiently, effectively, and be more reliable. In order to achieve that element, an assessment of the current knowledge and skills of the craft employee and operator is required.

Moving forward is the hardest decision to make; assessments are not free. By completing them, a company is able to streamline the culture they intend to achieve. This culture change happens at the floor level when training gaps are identified and employees, on both the maintenance and production side, have the tools in place to perform their jobs more efficiently and with better precision. Conducting a skills assessment on both sides of the manufacturing spectrum is where to start. A skills assessment identifies employee proficiencies, deficiencies in their current position, and aids in the development of an individual training plan to close identified gaps. It all begins with leadership taking the reins and moving forward with a skills assessment designed to enhance performance and reliability.

Assessing your workforce to establish needs in skills and development is paramount to reach production and maintenance requirements in today’s competitive market. The first objective of an assessment is to determine which employees would benefit from an initial or core proficiency training course. This ensures each employee has the foundational skills necessary to obtain the best results. The assessment provides an overall view of the strengths and weaknesses for 26 categories to determine areas for continuous improvement opportunities.

As much of today’s skilled labor moves into the retirement bracket, having a skills assessment conducted starts the craft or operations employee down the right path of training for that position in the facility.

Take for example, the Maintenance and Knowledge Assessments. A Maintenance Assessment provides valuable insight into the essential craft skill levels needed to perform precision work necessary to increase asset reliably and strategic offset workforce issues (retirement, new hires, etc.) now facing most organizations.

On the production side of your business, a Knowledge Assessment provides valuable insight into the essential asset care knowledge and skill levels needed to trouble-shoot, perform effective inspection rounds, service, adjust and understand how systems fail in order to defend against loss of equipment functionality.

Both assessments become an accurate indicator of the organization’s ability to effectively achieve Reliable Manufacturing®. Armed with accurate skill levels, and an effective skills improvement plan, craft personnel and operators can learn the necessary skills to capture emerging market opportunities and add profitable results… a competitive advantage.

So, what are you waiting for? Contact Reliability Solutions to start the skills assessment process for both maintenance and production. This will assist in identifying the gaps in your current training. Partner with Reliability Solutions and move forward now with our Precision Maintenance® courses for craft employees and Process Excellence® courses for production employees. Having the correct skill-set in your facility reduces cost, reduces waste, improves morale, and provides a larger revenue stream. Let Reliability Solutions help with your change to profitable results®.

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