Addressing the Skills Gap and Improving the Bottom Line
The skills gap in the manufacturing workforce continues to be a challenge. Employers constantly bemoan their inability to get qualified workers, educators convene employers to better understand what they are looking for and develop new programs, and job seekers experience frustration when they are not selected due to lack of skills. It is time to start looking more closely at potential solutions, the role that employers can play, and the value to employers.
Recently reports of successful strategies are starting to emerge. The lessons learned from these successes should be explored for replication and duplication. How do you define and measure success in a way that resonates with all the stakeholders? Typically successful placement in vacant positions is one clear measure. Another is assessing the Economic Impact of the placement on the company and measures that affect its bottom line.
One example of a project that did both is a training program managed by MAGNET in 2011. The project was designed to determine if the attainment of skill certifications matched to employer requirements would result in a pool of candidates to fill current or projected vacancies in entrylevel positions. Four Ohio sites were selected. The local team was headed by an educational provider and partnered with the local One-Stop that assisted with recruitment of participants. Selected employers were involved from the beginning. They committed to providing input in the content and delivery of the program as well as hiring completers to fill vacancies. Employer involvement includedplant tours, classroom presentations, delivering some of the training, and conducting mock interviews. Program outcomes includedattainment of a National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician credential.
Participating employers expressed their satisfaction with the project and the majority of completers were placed followed training. Follow up was conducted with the employers to gather not only their perception of the project but also the Economic Impact on key factors affecting their bottom line. Preliminary data provided by six of the companies, indicated over $2M in retained sales, $ 250,000 in increased sales, and over $ 6M in investment in plant or equipment as a result of hiring skilled workers. Additionally ten jobs were created. Factors included: reduced OJT (On-the-Job-Training) time, improved retention, and increased production due to more quickly promoting incumbent workers as their positions were filled with the new hires.
Although a small project and a small employer feedback sample, this model holds promise as a way to help companies quantify the value of this approach. If employers are able to clearly identify the required skills and if the training providers can match those with certifications that validate the skills, job seekers can more successfully be prepared, placed and retained. Employers have to be part of the solution and training providers have to be willing to adapt their delivery content and strategies to meet both employer and job seeker needs.
Measuring the economic impact on the company provides a quantifiable way for employers to determine the ROI of their time and effort at the beginning of the job preparation process.
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910). It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or email@example.com
Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.
The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for