Recent articles like the one by Dan Sewell and Christopher S. Rugaber, titled “In US, factory jobs are high-tech, but the workers are not”  have pointed out a skills gap in American manufacturing. The gap, they say, is widening, because the industry has evolved and adopted more automation faster than the workforce can adapt.
Advances in Technology Have Changed Knowledge Transfer
In the past, the same technician made the same part at the same station for many years. That earned knowledge in that person’s head is why he could produce that part consistently like no one else could, but knowledge transfer – of many years of details and experiences – is extremely difficult. Longtime workers with all of that learned expertise are retiring, and most companies are now making a wider variety of parts.
Manufacturing Operations Management Bridges the Gap
A Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) system helps bridge the widening skills gap by guiding technicians step by step through the job, and allowing a more flexible workforce with basic skills to work anywhere in the plant. The system allows process planners or manufacturing engineers to author work instructions for the technicians like they are using a simple word processor with the additional capability to drag and drop illustrations, data collection controls and the required resources including parts and tools. These tools make it easy to capture expertise in formal work instructions, while linking to engineering systems to capture the latest 3D models, and keep up to date with engineering changes.
Bring the workforce up to speed with high tech and empower them to perform consistently anywhere in the plant with work instructions that step them through the process, reduce the learning curve, and guarantee consistent results with MOM.
Learn how BAE Systems implemented a system that puts its people first. Read the case study.
 “In US, factory jobs are high-tech, but the workers are not”, Dan Sewell and Christopher s. Rugaber, abcnews.com, 2017
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