Overcoming the Skills Gap

Organizations all over the world are suffering from the skills gap, which is one of the major causes of their performance loss. Here’s what can be done to help surmount the problem...

We have entered a new decade, but a key challenge for industrial companies still persists: a looming skills gap and worker shortage. For many, a culture change and adoption of new learning methods will be required. Empowering workers with new technologies will improve training and knowledge transfer, as well as increase key operational KPIs.

This article is a round-up on industry’s top stories curated to shed light on critical issues facing the manufacturing industry.

1. Skills for the Future of Manufacturing

Synopsis: The World Manufacturing Forum (WMF) published its 2019 report discussing critical issues facing workforce
skill development in the manufacturing industry. Technological skills will represent the greatest increase in hourly work duties by 2030 as technology literacy becomes critical in manufacturing environments. While still having major economic implications, the skills gap will have less of an impact in the United States (0.4% of GDP), compared to globally (1.1% of GDP).

Key Takeaway: Among the many recommendations, WMF suggests the use of digital technologies to innovate in the delivery of education and training.

2. Harnessing Augmented Reality to Deliver Training More Effectively

Synopsis: Even with industrial companies facing the skills gap, the method by which they educate and correspondingly how their workers learn has not changed. Our research shows information that is delivered on-demand and in-context improves knowledge retention, skills development, and key production metrics for organizations. This ‘Just-In-Time’ learning method delivered through innovative technologies including augmented reality is poised to greatly benefit the 2.7 billion global deskless workers.

Key Takeaway: Organizations need to look within themselves to reskill and upskill their workforce to meet new and emerging demands. Leveraging new training delivery options is essential.

3. The Work of the Future: Shaping Technology and Institutions

Synopsis: Technology advancements have generated significant promise, as well as skepticism as it will have major implications on the future of work and consequently, our role within it. Automation will undoubtedly change human work but its input into existing processes will vary and be either a substitution (for human work), complementary, or new task creation.

Key Takeaway: This MIT report presents a strong case that the future of work will ride on investing in job quality, not job quantity.

4. The State of Human Factory Analytics

Synopsis: Manufacturers striving for ‘loT sizes of one’, to satisfy shifting customer demands for customization, are making human advantages over machines for logical reasoning, adaptability, and dexterity more important than ever. This current state of human and machines in factories still favors the worker, with 72 percent of factory tasks performed by humans. However, tasks that are repetitive require strenuous lifting or precision are unfavorable to humans; 68 percent of defects and
73 percent of variability are caused by humans.

Key Takeaway: Moving forward, an optimized division of labor means orchestrating workers and their tasks in factories and other industrial environments. Recognizing the advantages of both humans and machines and adjusting accordingly is essential to meet future demands of customers.

5. New Frontiers in Re-skilling and Upskilling

Synopsis: There is massive economic and business incentive for re-skilling and up-skilling the workforce, yet traditional training styles are costly and out-of-context. Developing skills for the ‘human’ element (empathy, listening, judgement, etc.) is increasingly important as automation takes over monotonous tasks. Upskilling using technologies including AR/VR is alleviating this training challenge.

Key Takeaway: AR is also being used as a knowledge transfer solution to ‘leverage the wisdom of age’ to harness organization’s experienced personnel’s deep tacit knowledge and lessen the forthcoming skills gap.

6. Improving Operational Efficiency with Workforce Productivity

Synopsis: Industry-wide issues including the worker shortage are forcing industrial organizations to turn to digital transformation to lessen its effects while driving critical business value. Improving operational efficiency is a key outcome of digital transformation with workforce productivity as a key metric within these initiatives.

Key Takeaway: Enterprises taking a ‘people-first approach’ (Volvo Group) by identifying better ways to equip workers and complete tasks are driving critical operational and performance metrics.



Industry-wide issues including the worker shortage are forcing industrial organizations to turn to digital transformation to lessen its effects while driving critical business value.


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