9 Tips for Effective Manufacturing Training

In manufacturing, having a skilled workforce is essential for maintaining a competitive edge. Comprehensive training may improve productivity, mitigate safety and compliance issues, and boost workplace morale. However, providing training in an ever-evolving field like manufacturing can feel like a lofty task, especially since the stakes are high.

While there are many elements to consider when creating a manufacturing training program, the right instructional tools and techniques can make all of the difference – and can end up saving your team time and expense in the long run!

This article will delve into the importance of training in manufacturing, the challenges facing companies in this rapidly changing industry, and tips that manufacturers can use to improve their employee training and stay ahead of the curve.

Why manufacturing training matters

According to Manufacturing Institute, about 1.4 million manufacturing jobs were lost during the COVID-19 pandemic and roughly 2.1 million jobs are projected to remain unfulfilled by 2030. This shift in the job market has been attributed to a growing skills gap in manufacturing, which is only exacerbated by continuous technological advancements and evolving customer demands.

Given the cost of hiring new employees, manufacturers are seeking training and upskilling solutions that can prepare their existing staff for the new realities of manufacturing. Continuous training encourages internal growth. It could also improve productivity, reinforce critical compliance and safety requirements, and potentially reduce employee turnover. In short, while training may be an expense for manufacturers, it’s also an investment that they can’t afford to ignore.

Meeting changing technological requirements in manufacturing

The infusion of automation, robotics, and advanced data analytics into manufacturing processes demands a workforce proficient in these technologies. Investing in manufacturing training equips employees with the necessary skills to operate and maintain these technologies, optimizing production efficiency and ensuring smooth operations.

Meeting rising customer expectations

Customer expectations are constantly shifting, and manufacturers must be agile enough to meet these evolving demands. Well-trained employees possess the knowledge and skills to understand customer needs and develop innovative solutions that exceed expectations. Training programs focused on customer-centricity and problem-solving empower employees to deliver exceptional products and services, fostering customer loyalty and driving business growth.

Improving manufacturing efficiency

A skilled manufacturing workforce contributes significantly to increased productivity and reduced costs. Employees who receive comprehensive training are more proficient in their roles, which may lead to fewer errors, improved efficiency, and streamlined processes. This translates into cost savings for the company, enhancing profitability and competitiveness in the market.

Building a culture of manufacturing compliance and safety

Manufacturing training plays a crucial role in reinforcing workplace safety standards for manufacturing. By providing employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to follow OSHA and Right-to-Know Laws and adhere to other workplace health and safety standards, manufacturing companies can help create a culture of compliance that may reduce the risk of accidents and injuries.

Leveraging training as a tool for manufacturing recruitment

Manufacturing training serves as a powerful talent magnet in today’s competitive job market. Job seekers expect their prospective employers to offer training as a perk. In a recent survey, 39% of employees said they would leave their roles within the year for a company that offers better professional development opportunities. Companies that offer robust training programs stand out as attractive employers. Investing in an LMS for manufacturing and a solid employee development strategy builds a loyal and highly motivated workforce, reducing employee turnover and fostering a positive work culture.

Challenges in manufacturing training (and how to overcome them)

There are several challenges that manufacturing companies may face when implementing training programs. One challenge is the rapid pace of technological change in the manufacturing industry. With new technologies emerging continuously, it can be difficult for companies to keep their employees up to date with the latest advancements.

Another challenge is the diverse skill sets required in manufacturing. Manufacturers need employees with skills in various areas, such as engineering, production, quality control, maintenance, and more. Providing comprehensive training that covers all of these areas can be complex and time-consuming.

One way to overcome the challenge of technological change is to adopt a just-in-time training approach. This means providing training materials to employees when they need it, rather than trying to teach them everything they might need to know in one go. Just-in-time training can be financially beneficial, especially for small L&D teams that don’t have time or resources to build long-form courses. Providing just-in-time learning can look different depending on the context, but some examples include: job aids that outline procedural tasks; infographics that help employees navigate new software; bite-sized microlearning modules that walk learners through a particular task that they need to complete.

Tips to improve your company’s manufacturing training program

In addition to the challenges mentioned above, manufacturing companies may also face budget-related hurdles, employee turnover, and resistance to change. To overcome these issues, it’s important for companies to have a well-defined training strategy that aligns with their business goals.

To equip manufacturing employees with the tools they need to succeed, follow these 9 steps to improve manufacturing training:

  1. Use a variety of training methods to meet learner needs
    Combining in-person and online learning modalities, and delivering training in multiple formats can help create a more cohesive and personalized learning experience.
  2. Incorporate interactive elements
    Interactive elements such as quizzes, games, and simulations can make training more engaging and help employees retain information.
  3. Offer opportunities for hands-on training and real-world application of skills
    Managers should use their LMS reporting tools to see which of their employees are ready to apply new skills to a relevant project or task.
  4. Provide ongoing support to employees who have completed training
    This may look like a mentorship program, one-to-one coaching, or reinforcing key learnings with spaced repetition tools like quizzes and microlearning modules.
  5. Encourage employees to share their knowledge and skills with others
    Forums and other social learning features are indispensable for creating camaraderie and skill-sharing opportunities across your company.
  6. Recognize and reward employees who demonstrate a commitment to continuous learning
    Gamification and badges not only give employees something to show for their learning achievements, but provide a little bit of healthy competition to keep everyone motivated.
  7. Leverage reporting to enhance training
    Reporting can help you track employee progress and identify areas where additional training is needed. This information can be used to improve the effectiveness of your training programs.
  8. Partner with industry experts
    Leveraging insights from industry experts can help you develop training programs that are aligned with the latest trends and best practices. Companies that us Litmos LMS can choose from thousands of pre-made courses that are crafted by subject matter experts.
  9. Measure the effectiveness of your training programs
    It’s important to measure the effectiveness of your training programs to ensure that they’re meeting your goals. This can be done through custom reporting, surveys, performance evaluations, and other methods.

The future of manufacturing training

No one can say for sure what the future holds for the manufacturing industry in the 21st century. However, a few elements will likely shape how the modern manufacturing workforce is trained. These elements include the evolution of advanced manufacturing technologies, the growing skills gap, and increasing demand from jobseekers for workplace professional development.

Technology will play an increasingly important role in manufacturing training. Manufacturing companies will need to provide continuous training for their employees to keep up with the pace of technological change. This training will need to be flexible and accessible, so that employees can learn at their own pace and on their own time.

As the demand for skilled workers continues to increase, companies may struggle to find workers with the necessary skills to meet these new technological requirements. By investing in training programs that for both new and existing employees, manufacturers can bridge the skills gap and develop a cohort of skilled employees who can be promoted to leadership positions from within. This approach can drive innovation and productivity, while potentially reducing the cost of recruiting and onboarding.

We know that candidates on the job market are seeking more professional development opportunities, and that organizations that neglect L&D often miss out on attracting and retaining the most competitive talent. Customized training programs can help companies find motivated and skilled employees, while giving existing employees the tools they need to grow into newer, more challenging roles. Tailoring manufacturing training to the specific needs of new and existing employees is therefore a necessity. Making it scalable is easier than you might think with the right LMS. Creating customized learning paths and keeping learners on track to complete necessary trainings can be done with Litmos’ built-in Content Authoring Tool, and with features that let admins easily automate notifications, tasks, and assignments.

Manufacturing training will become increasingly important in the years to come. By investing in training, manufacturers can ensure that they have the skilled workforce they need to compete in the global marketplace.

By offering a centralized solution that’s easy for everyone to use – from administrators, to factory floor workers, to customer-facing sales teams – Litmos empowers manufacturing companies to get the most out of their training programs. Request a Litmos demo today to see how we can transform your manufacturing training initiatives.