Author Archives: Mangesh Wagh

Top training challenges of the manufacturing industry

Are Indian manufacturing companies ready to embrace the fourth industrial revolution aka Industry 4.0? One would say absolutely yes, right? The industry is ripe for new technology adoption, India is a fast-growing technology hub, and there is tremendous support from the government. But with this revolution comes the need for new types of training programs – training programs that can equip the workforce to work in the new environment.

A business is comprised of the people who work to make it function, and if the people lack the know-how to apply the latest in innovation and technology, it directly affects production and as a result, turnover and business. So what are the difficulties and barriers faced by manufacturing companies when it comes to training their employees? Let’s explore that –

Widening skill gaps

The Top Captain of Deloitte, Touche Tohmatsu, says, “India doesn’t have a labour shortage, it has a skilled labour shortage“.

India is the world’s second most populated country that has brought forth a number of issues – one of them is the challenges with Indian labour. One of the main problems to be addressed in a country with an ever-growing population is that an influx of new jobs must be created. In an attempt to avert a large-scale unemployment crisis, the government launched the “Make In India” initiative to encourage and foster local manufacturing and create new job opportunities. However, what is happening is that the sudden burst of jobs and investment are not in synch with the skill level of the Indian workforce, and a lot of efforts must be taken to upskill millions of workers. An India-based employability assessment firm, Aspiring Minds, stated that more than 80% of engineers in India are unemployable. Since there are not too many specialized courses, and since employees cannot be expected to pick up the skills themselves, manufacturing companies, who hire a lot of fresh graduates, need to take the responsibility of training the Graduate Engineering Trainees (GETs).

High costs of training

History has taught us that Indian organisations have always been hesitant in indulging in long-term investments such as R&D or training. Add to this the high employee turnover of around 20% across industries, and there are extremely high training investments that must be endured by employers. Traditionally, manufacturing companies have relied on classroom trainings which are very time-consuming and costly. Especially in a manufacturing set up, where people work from different locations, training costs involve the costs of travel, stay, and not to mention, the factory downtime during the training time. This is why training within the business becomes an added cost and a high one at that.

The proliferation of new technologies

From additive manufacturing machines to IoT applications which optimize production, advancements and innovation in the Indian manufacturing sector are growing by leaps and bounds, and the current education systems in India are far from ready to keep pace with the ever-growing advancements in technology. The emergence of the smart factory aims at making the manufacturing process smarter through technologies such as automation, IoT, advanced planning and scheduling systems, connected machines, real-time and predictive analysis to name a few. These trends are extremely recent and most of the Indian workforce is not fully ready to embrace any of these innovations. This means that the manufacturers need to invest in training programs which can train their workforce on these new skills and roles.

Wide product and service portfolio

When a workforce isn’t ready, a broad product portfolio could spell out doomsday for a business. Most manufacturing companies have a wide range of products, and keeping up to the individual needs and requirements of said products poses as an upward challenge. A wide product portfolio equates to complexity in terms of manufacturing, sourcing raw materials, managing assembly, and sales and marketing – this can be an uphill task if one is not prepared. That being said, it is possible and even lucrative to have a wide product portfolio, the only prerequisite must be that your workforce should be trained and ready to take on these complex challenges.

Different training needs at different levels

From training graduate engineering trainees to training blue collared workers, addressing the needs of multiple levels becomes a herculean task. And it’s not just innovation, skillsets and technology that need to be addressed, training must also be imparted from a compliance standpoint. A large workforce needs to be trained on topics like safety and compliance apart from the technical know-how. The training needs at each level are fundamentally different from the other and applying the same training approach to train the entire workforce can prove to be extremely ineffective. For example, one category of the workforce might just need preliminary introduction training on a subject while another category might need a more in-depth, hands-on training on the same topic. In such cases, eLearning might be a good option for the introductory training but the in-depth training will need a combination of eLearning and classroom training along with on-going mentorship.

Strict compliance and regulations

One of the most important and overlooked aspects of manufacturing is to be complaint. Compliance includes keeping employees up to speed with the latest on laws, regulations, procedures, quality checks and more. The government keeps tweaking and revising these norms and it is up to the company to make sure that the knowledge transfer happens. Keeping up with these laws by itself can be burdensome and time-consuming.

Expertise of the training partner

In order to deliver proper training and a learning experience that sticks, the training solution must be well designed and delivered considering the specific needs of the industry. Only the subject matter experts who have worked in the industry can understand the nuances of the manufacturing operations and their training needs. It is, therefore, extremely important for manufacturing companies to select a training partner who has subject matter expertise. The training partner must have a unique blend of technical know-how, industry experience, academic experience, and experience in educating. A culmination of these skills results in an immersive learning experience.

The trouble with training providers of today is that they tend to segregate and silo ‘classroom’ and ‘eLearning’, when the best learning solutions consist of a blend of these two. It’s important to remember that learning in adulthood is far more challenging, and one must make the material interesting in order to impart learning that’s long-lasting. Traditional training formats can get boring and hence, difficult for the learner to understand. However, when you introduce formats such as video-based content, interactivity, and micro-nuggets of information that are easy to consume, the learning process itself becomes a joy for the learner.

While there are several challenges faced with regard to training in the manufacturing industry in India, there are solutions as well. At Enggenious, we help manufacturing companies grow their business by enabling them to successfully navigate through their training requirements without a hitch. Our training solutions make learning accessible, inexpensive, and effective so that businesses can thrive, irrespective of the changing landscapes in the industry.

Manufacturers – kick start your training initiatives with off-the-shelf courses

The growing gap between talent and skill sets which are required and the talent and skill sets which are actually available has posed as a big problem for the ever-growing manufacturing industry. With the rapid progress of innovation and technology, and with the embracing of industry 4.0, or the fourth industrial revolution, experts expect this skill gap to increase over time.

One of the key requirements for manufacturing companies is having a dynamic team who possess a range of skills and tasks, as compared to a resource that is trained to perform one single task. Such dynamic and multi-faceted talent is very hard to come by in the domain of manufacturing, and in India, due to archaic curriculum in the education system, it is close to impossible to churn out a workforce that is ready for the new challenges of the manufacturing industry. So what is the possible solution to this?

As someone responsible for the learning and training initiatives, it is important for you to provide your workforce with the training and skills that they need so that they can foster their own growth and also help the company grow in the process. By providing the required training, manufacturers can boost the productivity of the factory, decrease employee turnover, and solve the problem of skill gap efficiently. However, training can be an arduous and expensive task! Not to mention time-consuming. From the hassle of gathering a panel of experts to the financial burden of compensating them and the added headache and extra costs of logistics such as renting a venue, etc. all add up. So how does one impart training by sound professionals and experts, without burning through company funds? The answer lies in off-the-shelf online courses.

Here are a few ways in which these courses can give business a boost.

Keep the costs down

Unlike the traditional training programs which are primarily classroom-based, off-the-shelf courses are a one-time expense for your company. The costs of renting out a training venue, organizing catering, booking a venue and hiring a panel of subject matter experts and trainers are all eliminated, thereby bringing the company spending down. What’s more is that these the online training courses can be taken by your learners from anywhere, anytime, as per their convenience. Studies have found that adult learners are far less attentive and require material that is engaging, immersive, and captivating. With the use of audio, videos, games, and simulations, online training courses are found to be more engaging.

Facilitate better knowledge transfer

One of the most important, yet, overlooked parts in an organization is knowledge transfer. Let’s suppose one of your key employees has decided to call it quits. No matter how long the notice period is, it is not impossible to hand over the knowledge acquired in multiple years in a matter of a month or two. This is where things go wrong. If one key player leaves, everything else falls out of alignment. In the absence of right training programs, it is not possible to effectively share the knowledge with the new employees. With readymade off-the-shelf courses, this brain drain issue can be effectively handled. The new employees coming on board can refer to the material whenever they need and ensure that they are effective on the job. This also means the elimination of specifically organized training sessions every time you get a new recruit.

Impart long-term learning

Learning is long-term only if it’s made interesting. Learning can become a bore if the learner is expected to go through boring presentations. Presenting the same information in micro-nuggets using tactics such as gamification and video-based learning makes training fun and exciting. Learners also need the flexibility to learn at their own pace. Such learning is the only kind of learning that sticks. With off-the-shelf courses, you can get started with online training in a matter of a few days.

Retain your sharpest minds

An important benefit of these courses is the power to offer CPD (continuing professional development) for key employees. This is an excellent incentive to retain your best talent as they want to invest in themselves and garner better skills. It is a great way to foster a symbiotic relationship between you and your employees so that you can both foster and fuel growth together. When you keep offering newer courses to your employees, they appreciate the continuous learning.

Curated expertise

Off-the-shelf courses are typically prepared by experts who have a deep understanding of the industry, domain, and subject matter. These individuals exactly understand the industry issues and are, therefore, able to include solutions to those issues in the courses. Think of these subject matter experts as mentors, who are always there to guide your employees through difficult domains, so that your employees have no questions left unanswered, and there is absolute clarity. With off-the-shelf courses, this expertise is always available for your employees.


Manufacturing and engineering companies need to follow strict compliance and regulation guidelines. They have to impart certain compliance training to all these employees mandatorily. Since the manufacturing and engineering companies hire employees in large quantities, conducting these compliance training programs in classroom training can become a herculean task for the training managers. With off-the-shelf courses, these training programs can be made available literally at the click of a button!

Off-the-shelf courses check all the boxes when it comes to the delivery of high-quality training for your employees – they are prepared by the subject matter experts, are engaging and involving, can be taken by your learners anytime, anywhere, and extremely cost effective.

At Enggenious, with the help of our subject matter experts, who have an average of 30+ years of industry experience in manufacturing and engineering domains, we have developed high-quality online courses which you can start using today! Get in touch with us to know more.

Various flavours of training in manufacturing – when to pick what?

The manufacturing sector in India is booming, and it has emerged as one of the high growth sectors in India.  According to the Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index published by Deloitte, by the year 2020, India will be the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world. Under its Make in India initiative, by 2022, the Government of India wants the manufacturing sector to contribute up to 25 percent to the GDP.

To compete for its global ranking, the Indian manufacturing industry needs to address a few key challenges. For instance, the retirement of the experienced class has resulted in the loss of expertise and fewer opportunities for the young generation. This gap is widening, to say the least. The young generation of workers needs to be effectively trained on not only the age-old manufacturing best practices but also on the latest tools and technologies and paradigm shifts which are coming because of Smart Manufacturing.

The training needs of manufacturing

The manufacturing industry is one of the strongest and largest enterprises of the globe. CEO, Jay Timmons of the National Association of Manufacturers, believes that a skilled workforce is the cornerstone of manufacturing industries and the success factor of the economy. In India, even the government is trying to mitigate the skills shortage by offering incentives and subsidies for an upgrade in the technological subsector.

The Indian manufacturing industry has traditionally relied on classroom training for their workforce. With the proliferation of Internet and mobile and the fact that the young workforce is entering the industry, it is also warming up to the adoption of eLearning. However, there always confusion about which training mode is best suited for the company. Obviously, there cannot be a one-size-fits-all approach. The type of training depends a lot on the training needs and learning objectives.

Let us take a look –

For awareness and knowledge creation

For manufacturing firms, companies often need to train the large workforce and GETs on concepts like safety, compliance, accounts, or new concepts like Industry 4.0. Conducting these types of training programs in a classroom environment can be incredibly time-consuming and costly. eLearning works very well in these situations. With eLearning, a large workforce can be quickly trained – without causing any significant downtime and as per the convenience of the workforce. That apart, all the courses can be thoroughly tracked. Studies show that manufacturing companies have witnessed a rise of 25-60% in employee retention with the use of eLearning.

Skill Development

The manufacturing industry employs multi-skilled employees who need to perform a wide variety of tasks. Many of these tasks require basic as well as highly specialized training. The employees also need to be updated about the latest happenings on an ongoing basis. For these training objectives, companies need to go with a combination of eLearning and classroom training. eLearning courses can offer the basic training and classroom trainings can be leveraged for more hands-on and advanced training courses. For the ongoing training needs, again eLearning can be adopted.

Expertise Development

A small but important portion of the workforce needs to be trained to become experts at the job. For this type of training, one classroom session or a series of eLearning courses may not be enough. The workforce might need on-going mentorship wherein the mentor is available on an on-going basis to clarify doubts, brainstorm on ideas, or seek opinions. Such on-going engagement with the mentors ensures concept reinforcement leading to an increase in productivity.

What should manufacturing companies look for in their training partner?

In 2017, the US manufacturing corporations spent nearly $161 Billion on corporate training, indeed a massive amount of investment! Manufacturing companies are leaving no stone unturned in training their workforce.

It is quite evident that because of the unique peculiarities of the industry, to effectively address the training needs of this industry, the training partner needs to possess specific capabilities, skills, and qualities. These include –

  1. Subject matter expertise – It is essential for the training partner to have a pool of subject matter experts who come with strong industry background and are well-versed with the practical aspects of the manufacturing operations
  2. Learning solutions expertise -The training partner should have expertise in all types of training methods – be it eLearning, classroom training, or blended learning
  3. Industry domain expertise – The training company should have industry domain expertise
  4. Process expertise – The training company should have experience of working with other manufacturing companies – only then the company can understand the intricacies of working in the unique set up

Are you looking to increase the RoI of your training initiatives? At Enggenious, we have worked with several manufacturing and engineering companies and helped them successfully design, develop, and deliver their training programs. Our large team of Subject Matter Experts with an average work experience of 30+ years and training experts will be happy to discuss your specific training needs and offer the right solution.

Manufacturing companies – look for these things in your training and development partner

The manufacturing industry is in the midst of change. Widespread technology adoption, increased automation and the drive towards digital transformation and the subsequent dawn of the age of Industry 4.0 are propelling us into a new age of manufacturing…one where productivity is optimal and waste is minimal.

This shiny new age is definitely giving the manufacturing industry the facelift it needs. Traditionally associated with large number of blue collar workers, this era of manufacturing with all its technology implementations and use of gadgets and sensors is moving away from the dim image of the factory that we have so far been used to.

However, as this exciting time comes upon us, manufacturers have to address the conundrum of the growing skills gap. According to Deloitte’s Skills Gap Report, over the next decade, there will be over 3.5 million manufacturing jobs. Owing to the skills gap, almost 2 million of these jobs will remain unfilled. India too is feeling this talent shortage. While the Indian Government is giving the Indian manufacturing ecosystem a push with its Make In India initiative, we still need to equip 15 million people by 2020 to realize this dream.

The thing is, manufacturing now doesn’t just need skilled people. They need multi-skilled people who can thrive in this new technology-driven environment. So while government initiatives to upskill people will lead to a certain decrease in the skills gap, manufacturing companies themselves have to upgrade their learning, development and training initiatives to create a workforce ready for the Factory of the Future.

But what should manufacturing companies be looking for in their training and development partners? Here’s a ready laundry list

Experience – it has to be relevant

Not all manufacturing companies are the same. And not all training companies are created equal. Manufacturing companies have a unique environment. They have unique requirements owing to the change being brought about by technology and automation adoption. Manufacturing companies also have a diverse workforce with diverse needs and learning demands.

The scale of training and development initiatives is also much larger because to the huge numbers being recruited each year. Additionally, there is the challenge of a distributed workforce to mitigate as well – these organizations have a large number of field workers and often manufacturing units are located in different geographies. Manufacturers have to navigate all these challenges and ensure that all the training needs of their workforce are adequately addressed without impacting employee productivity. How can they achieve this if their training and development partner does not understand this unique environment that they work in?

Manufacturing companies need to thus look for training and development partners who have experience in addressing these unique training needs and then delivering industry standard training specific to this industry.

Knowledge – it has to be current

“The times they are a changing”…Bob Dylan’s iconic lyrics seem to resonate eloquently in the changing manufacturing landscape. With the kind of change manufacturing is experiencing with the use of technologies such as IoT, data analytics, AI and Machine Learning, 3D printing, robotics amongst others, the training and development partners of such companies also have to be on top of all the current trends this industry is experiencing. How can you provide training on the supply chain, for example, if your training company doesn’t know the workings of the new and IoT optimized supply chain? Having industry domain expertise to have a complete understanding of the all-round learning needs of the different manufacturing and engineering domains also becomes critical.

Along with having a keen eye on all the latest trends, the training and development company also has to have a sound knowledge repository – their trainers. This repository has to consist of skilled resources and subject matter experts who come from brilliant academic backgrounds and have extended work experience to deliver relevant and impactful training programs.

Training delivery model – it has to be optimized

Learning and training initiatives in the manufacturing environment of today not only have to be comprehensive but also have to be delivered in an optimized manner. Depending solely on classroom training can impede the scale at which knowledge can be delivered owing to the multiple constraints in the manufacturing ecosystem – logistics, training a large workforce together, getting the right trainers all available at the same time without a productivity impact can be an uphill battle.

Training and delivery partners for manufacturing companies thus have to have multiple training delivery models. They have to be proficient in delivering both online and classroom training. They have to know when to employ which training model. They have to have sound knowledge and experience of implementing blended learning programs, along with enabling microlearning, and mLearning. Experience in leveraging gamification, videos, animation, webinars etc. to ensure better knowledge retention also impacts training outcomes and hence, experience in these aspects is something to look out for.

Customization capability – it has to be adequate

The training needs of no two manufacturing companies are the same. Thus, the training and development partners of manufacturing companies have to possess extreme customization capabilities. Capabilities that include thorough need analysis by assessing the learning objectives, accounting for the capabilities of the target audience, understanding the learning subjects and then defining the delivery mode become important to have positive learning outcomes and also lower costs. The training partner also has to develop and deliver learning content based on the organizational objectives, and also ensure that international standards and process benchmarks are being followed at all times.

In this age of constant change, manufacturing companies have to adjust their learning and development objectives with the greater organizational goals and objectives. With the right training plans in place, not only will they be able to mitigate the challenge of the skills gap but also ensure a boost in productivity. However, a good training partner is critical to this success. Choose wisely.

The role of technology in training for Indian manufacturing industry

Category : eLearning , Microlearning

The Indian Manufacturing sector is estimated to have grown at a Compound Annual Growth rate (CAGR) 4.34 percent between FY12 and FY18. With the launch of the ‘Make in India’ initiative by the Government of India, the manufacturing sector is gradually emerging as one of the high growth sectors in the country.

Going by the plans for this segment, India is expected to become the fifth largest manufacturing country in the world by the end of 2020. As a part of this initiative, the Government also aims to increase the share of the manufacturing industry to the GDP to 25% by 2022 and create approximately 100 million jobs. The Labour Bureau’s Quarterly Report on Employment Scenario shows that this sector added an estimated 89,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2017-18. Given the changing landscape, India is on the road to becoming an attractive manufacturing destination and a hub for foreign investments.

The technology impact in manufacturing

It is great to see the upward trajectory that the manufacturing industry has taken. However, as the industry itself is caught amidst the winds of change. Large-scale automation and technology implementations are changing this sector completely. In order to increase efficiencies, eliminate waste, improve the productivity of processes and the employees, and increase cost efficiencies for profitability, this sector is heralding the age of Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 employs the use of advanced technologies such as IoT, cloud, big data and analytics, robotics, AI, and Machine Learning amongst others to reach these desired outcomes. To meet the goals designed for the manufacturing sector, the industry thus has to not only focus on its technology investments but also focus heavily on its human investments.

Clearly, with so much change, training had to climb up the priority list for manufacturers address the skills gap and also change perceptions regarding the blue collar work so prevalent in this industry.

Labor shortage or skilled labor shortage – which way does the cookie crumble?

A skilled labor shortage is one of the greatest challenges that the Indian manufacturing sector has to scale. Tom Captain global aerospace and defense industry leader at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu says, “India doesn’t have a labor shortage – it has a skilled labor shortage.” In the Indian context, most of the blue collar workers in this segment have lower education levels. The lack of specialized courses in the Indian education system also means that companies have to train their own people. Additionally, the quality of engineering graduates is also often not considered A Grade. The onus of training, therefore, falls on the manufacturing companies themselves.

As Indian manufacturing witnesses a mismatch between the skills that they have versus the skills that they need, this industry has to leverage technology to aid learning. The present mode of training and learning and development initiatives has been that of the classroom style. With a large number of recruits joining the workforce every year, this style of training becomes hard to execute, is expensive, and has a heavy cost and resource impact. Manufacturers additionally have to manage the logistics when it comes to training employees in geographically distant locations. Training, which is an essential activity, suddenly becomes tedious and complicated.

It’s technology to the rescue

In the age where technology is eating the world, manufacturing has to look at technology in training as well.

  • Just as all the manufacturing processes are getting improved with technology, training too can improve a great deal. Leveraging technology in training by using technology elements such as video, gamification etc. that fit in beautifully in the eLearning model, manufacturing companies can give their training methodologies a much-needed facelift.
  • Technology-aided learning can be leveraged greatly to build virtual worlds where the employees can learn skills in a safe environment. AR and VR simulations, gamification etc. are great elements that can be used to help employees learn the cause of the effect of different operations and help in better knowledge retention without a safety compromise.
  • Technology also helps with personalization. When everything in our world is getting personalized why should training and development initiatives be any different? In the age of the mobile, online learning gives training teams access online content anywhere, anytime. Knowledge is also disseminated in bite-sized, easily consumable chunks that ensures better knowledge retention. Microlearning is serving as the most effective method to deliver trainings on subjects like standard operating procedures and even conceptual stuff.
  • Technology also makes sure that these training programs can be further customized to meet the learning styles of the user. Progress is monitored easily, feedback is proactive and hence knowledge gain is better.
  • Training departments also need to consider the mature age workers who are just about learning to adapt to the evolution of manufacturing. Many of these mature workers have low literacy levels. Training them on new processes using dreary text or long classroom sessions is often counterproductive. Leveraging eLearning, training departments can create courses that are task-related and visually attractive. By replacing text heavy training with this visual form of training, manufacturers enable better knowledge gain and absorption by reducing the cognitive load of this demographic. eLearning also helps the mature workers become more receptive to learning as they are more likely to ask questions in a virtual forum than in a classroom setting.
  • One of the most important aspects of training using technology is the kind of reach that manufacturers can get. Manufacturing employs a large workforce and often, a large number of these employees are in different locations and/or plants. It can be a logistical nightmare organizing training programs together for such a large and distributed workforce. Using eLearning and mLearning, manufacturers can easily navigate this logistical minefield and ensure that all the members of the workforce receive comprehensive and yet timely training.

The manufacturing industry has an extremely diverse workforce. You have blue collared workers and white-collar workers working in peaceful coexistence. However, with changing times, and with the new age of manufacturing, this industry needs to mitigate the challenge of skilled talent fast. Only then, this industry can live up to the demands of new innovations and advancements – and the kind of scaling that training needs to do can only be achieved leveraging technology.

Learning the ropes – eLearning doesn’t have to be an ‘all or nothing’ proposition

Category : eLearning , Microlearning

With the dawn of the new age of manufacturing with Industry 4.0, this sector needs to focus on the human capital now more than ever before. With a growing millennial population ready to get into the workforce and the baby boomers gearing up for retirement, this sector is expecting almost 2.7 million jobs to open up globally. As baby boomer retirement coincides with industry expansion, the manufacturing industry will have to navigate this talent shortage by proactively enhancing their learning and development initiatives to create a skilled workforce for themselves. According to research conducted by the U. S. Bureau of Labor, “new employees in the manufacturing industry are only going to stay in one particular job for an average of 4.6 years”.  Clearly, training has to be a continuous process in the manufacturing segment now.

While classroom training has been a mainstay in this sector for the past couple of decades, eLearning is making its presence felt owing to the enormous benefits of cost and time that it brings to the table. However, manufacturing companies can be reticent in jumping on to the eLearning bandwagon thinking it to be an all or nothing proposition.

It also has to be taken into consideration that some aspects of training in the manufacturing ecosystem are best conducted in the classroom in a more hands-on manner. However, there is a wide chunk that can be conveniently be accomplished with eLearning. Here’s a look at how manufacturing companies contemplating eLearning should move forward.

So, where should you begin? Start small

To identify where to begin companies need to first evaluate the entire training universe. The idea is to take a phased out approach so that eLearning can fit into the Learning and Development canvas with ease. The first step, therefore, would be to identify which trainings to conduct with eLearning and create an adoption timeframe with quantified milestones.

Once the evaluation of the suitable eLearning courses has been done, companies can move to the next step. In this stage, companies can have a small user base subscribing to the available eLearning courses. These users go through the course, evaluate and assess its outcomes. The Learning and Development team also evaluates the development process and the outcomes. Organizations can actually evaluate Microlearning at this stage as these courses are easier to develop and deploy. The good part about starting small is that there are no CAPEX, infrastructure or other overhead costs involved.

Pilot testing

At the end of a set period, say three months, organizations can validate the usefulness and suitability of eLearning modules and Microlearning programs. Analyzing user feedback here is essential as it highlights the gaps in the module, what could be done better and if knowledge retention has been adequate using these modules. Evaluating the eLearning data is also a good way of identifying areas for improvement. Once this is done, organizations can plan for a larger but still a more controlled deployment, for example, in one department or with a certain audience with specific years of experience. Once this is identified, the eLearning development activity kicks off.

Controlled deployment

The timeframe for a controlled deployment exercise could be set at six months. At the end of the timeline, the deployment has to be complete, and the feedback collected, analyzed and evaluated. Any changes to the learning models and content, and tweaking of the target audience to have more impactful outcomes are done and executed in this stage. Once this is complete, the company can look at an eLearning development and deployment plan that is ready for organization-wide adoption. In this stage, it helps to decide on priority levels by evaluating the top priority needs and kick off the development for the highest priority.

High priority deployment

In this stage, the development and deployment of eLearning solutions for top priority needs have to be completed within the specified timeframe. Once this is completed, the organization needs to start planning for the development of the courses for the next priority level and start the development work for the same.

The feedback analysis of the first priority deployment also has to be completed within this timeframe, changes have to be made, priority 2 deployment has to be completed and the feedback from the same accumulated, analyzed and evaluated. The priority 1 and 2 development and deployment can be completed within a timeframe of 18 months from inception.

Once these steps have been taken and the organization has familiarized itself with the flavors of eLearning, this practice can be rolled out organization-wide and ensure adoption by all stakeholders. By taking this systematic approach to eLearning adoption, manufacturing companies will have accounted for the needs of their users, have the right number of modules, and have identified the right priorities for learning and development initiatives.

This phased out approach also ensures that there is a scope for proactive corrections even mid-way which ultimately ensures a robust program that helps the employees learn and train better. Since this approach marks all the ticks in the checkboxes, getting organizational buy-in becomes easier, and provides a clear indication of how much to invest and when to do so.  Taking such a systematic and organized approach consequently translates to easier adoption, better learning outcomes, and a better RoI.

New age training strategies for the millennial manufacturing workforce

The face of manufacturing is changing. The rise of new technology, increasing global pressure, and the coming of Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing have been responsible for ushering in this change. In this changing environment, hiring and retaining a qualified workforce that can adapt to this new environment is a challenge that manufacturers have to address. A survey conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) shows that 30% of the survey respondents feel that the lack of qualified labor contributes to lost opportunities. 64.5% of those surveyed also believe that creating and expanding internal training programs can help in addressing the labor problem plaguing this industry.

However, what this industry also needs to consider is the rapidly growing number of millennials. These millennials are people who grew up in the age of evolving technology. In the United States, millennials constitute a significant part of the population, 8.1 million. Pew Research Centre reports that one in three workers is a millennial. This new workforce, owing to their comfort with technology, is already changing the manufacturing and supply chain for the better. Luigi De Bernardini, CEO of Autoware, an Austin, Texas-based Schneider Electric partner, “The expectations of the new generation when they enter the work environment will be totally different. They are used to apps, they’re used to different ways of communicating, and this is in some way … something we need to manage.

While organizations focus on making the industry and the shop floor attractive for the millennials, adopt technologies such as IoT, AI, Robotics, and as concepts like Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing cement their place in the manufacturing landscape, they also have to revisit their training strategies to make it relevant for this workforce.

So what new age training strategies do these companies need to adopt? Millennials are driven towards finding alternatives to do a job faster. When it comes to learning and development, it is no different. Relying solely on classroom training and static lectures will not lead to the knowledge gain that is expected of them. Learning and development departments thus have to ensure that their training strategies become more engaging, inspiring and easy to consume. Here’s a look at a few considerations that go into training this workforce.

Contextual relevance

Relevance drives the millennial generation. They want a rationale behind everything that they do. They seek ‘value’ in everything that they engage with. The same feeling extends to training as well. In the manufacturing sector, training has to adapt to this change and evaluate methods to make the training content more engaging. The content has to be synthesized to help them understand the rationale behind the same. From onboarding to job-specific training, context holds primary importance and has to facilitate knowledge discovery. The training courses, thus, have to be revamped and training providers have to leverage all assets at their disposal such as mobile learning, gamification, augmented reality, etc. to ensure maximum knowledge dissemination and absorption.


The millennial generation is the largest smartphone user. As mobile is an integral part of their lives, training strategies have to leverage mLearning. mLearning also becomes a useful tool since knowledge here is disseminated in small, bite-sized and easily consumable modules. Mobile also facilitates anywhere-anytime learning, giving these people opportunities to learn on the go, irrespective of their location. For manufacturing companies, this can be a huge boon especially to train teams who are in geographically disparate locations and for field workers who are constantly on move.


Gamification in eLearning has proved its effectiveness. It helps in mixing work and play and, hence, appeals to this generation who believes that nothing, even the most boring concepts, should not be ‘boring’. In the age of digitization, learning has to adopt a creative approach to ensure greater knowledge absorption. Using elements such as storytelling, including challenges, establishing rules and goals in a game format make learning far more engaging. And with the millennials, engagement rules the roost. Gamification also gives learners immediate feedback. This helps in taking proactive corrective action during the training process and ensures better training results.

The social connect

Being the most active users of social media, social networking becomes a tool to develop better training modules for this workforce. As a socially plugged-in generation, these workers are not only comfortable communicating with friends over social media but also are comfortable leveraging it for business. By integrating social media with the learning strategy, manufacturers can facilitate collaboration to drive learning experiences. Social media can be used to collaborate on projects, solve problems, complete assignments, and also get quick and proactive feedback.


Video is replacing text everywhere. Training and learning and development initiatives are no different. Rich and informative video content that is contextual, to-the-point, and precise help a great deal in capturing the millennial generation’s attention. With video, content can be easily broken down into small segments. Training teams also get the flexibility to introduce short summaries of the content to establish relevance. It is also an established fact that highly visual formats lead to better knowledge retention. A video learning strategy fulfills all these criteria and, hence, it becomes a formidable weapon for training departments. As with mobile, video too can help disseminate learning to geographically distant teams and frontline workers and gives them the option to feel more involved with the training process.

Blended learning

In the manufacturing segment, while online learning can help in increasing awareness and knowledge, classroom training can be used in conjunction with eLearning for more targeted skilling. Such blended learning approach helps training departments to develop a new training strategy that is targeted and scalable to address the changing needs and demands of the millennial workforce. A focus on aspects such as personalization, greater customization can be motivating for the millennials and a blended learning approach enables that. Training and development need to adopt these engaging elements to make learning more effective. At the same time, training departments have to ensure that the trainers employed in classroom training are highly skilled, have industry experience, and are committed to understanding the new learning graph of this generation to make sure that classroom training is not a snooze fest.

On a parting note, it helps to state that while these new-age training strategies might have been developed with the millennial generation in mind, the ultimate objective is to make learning and training fun and more engaging. This is a kind of makeover that shouldn’t just be restricted to just one generation, should it?

India – this is what could derail your Industry 4.0 initiatives

Category : Industry 4.0

Globally, the manufacturing industry is witnessing a shift towards Industry 4.0, a concept that employs multiple digital technologies to enhance and improve the complex touchpoints of this industry. Industry 4.0 also has come to the forefront as we become a consumer-centric economy where improving customer experience trumps cost cutting to accelerate business growth.

India, too, cannot remain alien to this revolutionary concept. Presently the manufacturing sector contributes 17% of the GDP. With impetus from the government to increase this number to 25% to push economic growth, manufacturing companies are being compelled to look at technologies such as automation, big data analytics, cloud computing, robotics and sensors and AI to boost the manufacturing process.  As Industry 4.0 establishes itself as an industry best practice, manufacturing companies have to look at strategies to bind the digital and manufacturing worlds. While the transition to Industry 4.0 will need a significant “economic and social transformation and political and institutional framework”, organizations adopting this standard have to be wise while embarking on this journey and ensure that they escape the traps of narrow vision.

In this context, what are these potential minefields that can derail India’s Industry 4.0 initiatives? Being one of the sixth-largest manufacturing nation and the biggest recipient of foreign direct investments (FDIs), Indian manufacturing companies have to ensure that they don’t make these epic mistakes.

Poor strategic business direction

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there”….or maybe not. In the case of Industry 4.0, organizations need to have a definitive digital strategy that is aligned with business goals and initiatives. These strategies have to be focused on maximum ‘value’ generation. This value generation can range from increasing product efficiency to increasing sales growth. Creating a clear business opportunities roadmap which accounts for productivity, product resilience and performance, sales growth, internal processes, product innovation, customer focus and consequent sales growth become essential. Not taking such an approach leads to haphazard and confusing implementations that impede, rather than improve, efficiencies.

Focus on technology alone

Yes, Industry 4.0 is the ground where technology meets manufacturing. But Industry 4.0 is not about the technology alone. It is about all the touchpoints that impact the production process and then some. Going gung-ho and making technology decisions without understanding how these choices will change processes, not having a plan on how to manage that change, evaluating the downtime, infrastructure needs and the costs associated with that can severely hamper the initiatives. The shift to Industry 4.0 has to be organic and must evaluate which processes need to be changed first and why.

If organizations just get excited about the technology, do not make quantitative estimates, do not set up a business case that takes into consideration complete costs from acquisition to operations and do not measure the impact of the change, these initiatives will most likely fail. Industry 4.0 cannot be approached from a technological perspective alone while pushing its impact on the business to the background.

Lack of a skilled workforce

The Economist’s Intelligence Unit survey cited skill issues to be one of the major barriers to the adoption of Industry 4.0 across the globe. “More than a third of survey respondents acknowledge that they are struggling with recruiting and retaining talent.” The survey also states that 42% of the respondents “worry that over the next three years they will not be able to recruit new workers with the necessary prerequisites for on-the-job training.”

The National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a public-private partnership set up by the Planning Commission estimated the rising skills gap to be more than 250 million workers across various sectors by 2022. An article in the Wall Street Journal shows that while India does not have the labor shortage, it has a shortage of skilled labor. Despite having numerous engineering and vocational schools, “The quality of the manpower when they come out of engineering colleges is not A-grade,” according to Bharat Salhotra, managing director for Alstom India & South Asia.

These numbers are not consoling as the level of technical dexterity needed in the Industry 4.0 era will increase incrementally. Identifying right training and upskilling opportunities will be contributors to Industry 4.0 success. If India wants to become a manufacturing hub, then along with government initiatives such as Skill India, manufacturing companies have to themselves take the initiative to identify where the skill gaps in their workforce lie and take measurable steps to resolve that with the right learning and development initiatives. Unless this happens, implementing Industry 4.0 in India will not bring in the promised benefits.

Industry 4.0, while being a superlative concept, can seem like a complex web woven by technology. The manufacturing industry, especially the Indian manufacturing companies, have been accustomed to certain manual processes and methods of operation. The shift to Industry 4.0 signals a change in times and change is never easy to accommodate and can often be a hard challenge to mitigate. While adopting any new revolutionary concept has some teething problems, it is essential to ensure that the concept does not become that white elephant – one that is hard to obtain and maintain.

How manufacturing companies can prepare their entire workforce for Industry 4.0

Automation, IoT, Machine Learning, advanced analytics, cognitive technologies and others are geared to create an enterprise that is more interconnected and data-driven. The end objective is to enable better decision-making and improve business outcomes. The impact of these technologies is felt in all industries, and manufacturing is no different. The rapid adoption of technology has paved the way for disruptive development in this sector and has brought to us the Fourth Industrial Revolution, commonly known as Industry 4.0 that brings with it the promise of changing the manufacturing industry as we know it.

Industry 4.0 – a primer

Industry 4.0 employs the use of technologies such as Big Data, Industrial Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and others to get solutions to complex problems and make the assembly line more efficient. According to a PWC report called ‘Industry 4.0: Building the Digital Enterprise’, we are already in the front and center of this revolution with over 72% manufacturing companies using data analytics to improve customer intelligence and customer service. 35% of companies adopting Industry 4.0 expect 20% higher returns over the next five years, and 86% of manufacturers expect lower costs and higher revenues.

Countries such as Germany and Japan have been the pioneers of Industry 4.0 and have shown that its adoption has improved their business outcomes. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that Industry 4.0 has brought about a paradigm shift in manufacturing by replacing rigid value chains and transforming them into highly flexible networks.

Why is manufacturing moving towards Industry 4.0?

Since Industry 4.0 is built on the concept of end-to-end visibility, efficiency, and agility across every touch point in the value chain, it gives manufacturers the capability to assess how they can reduce overhead costs while remaining flexible to respond to unforeseen changes in production programs.

Industry 4.0 is more than just production. It is all about how smart and connected technologies can change the way products are designed, built, used and maintained. Apart from transforming the production cycle, Industry 4.0 also transforms the organization itself by presenting new ways to consume and interpret information and achieve operational excellence by improving decision making. Deutsche Bank Research, in their report the ‘New Industrial Revolution’ states that the smart manufacturing initiatives show a productivity jump of almost 30%.

Clearly, Industry 4.0 is not just about the shop floor but about the entire organization and how technology can be used to harness growth. We are seeing increased use of sensors and wearables, machine learning, advanced computer numerical control, and robotics to enable product improvements, and rapid prototyping to consequently enable innovation in new offerings. The impact of Industry 4.0 can be felt across the organization operates but how its ecosystem of customers, regulatory compliance, third-party experts, suppliers, etc. function and interact. It focuses on improvements that lead to enhancements to productivity, better risk reduction, incremental revenue growth, and generating new revenue sources.

Industry 4.0 also signals a shift in workforce dynamics and training needs

At the same time, Industry 4.0 means a significant shift in the manner in which employees in manufacturing work today and how they are expected to do so. The rise of automation and connected systems also signals workforce transformation. And this is where the manufacturers’ dilemma begins. Manufacturers not only have to lure tech-savvy talent but also have to reskill or upskill existing resources to harness the power of the new disruptive manufacturing technologies. A highly technologically advanced environment means more employee contributions revolving around technology, digital and intelligence roles. The isolated, optimized units need to together as completely integrated automated units with optimized production flows. These developments change the traditional production relationships.

Given the complete change in the manufacturing ecosystem, it becomes imperative to prepare the workforce and conduct strategic workforce planning.

  • For this, manufacturing companies have to look at hiring skilled resources for new job roles, adapting existing roles to the new methodologies, and upgrading IT skill of all resources.
  • Industry 4.0 also means a greater focus on compliance, regulatory and security aspects and demands all invested to be thoroughly updated on all new developments in these areas.
  • Since Industry 4.0 is a paradigm shift in itself, manufacturers have to ensure that all resources are suitably skilled to handle their new roles and responsibilities and are capable of managing the change in work patterns and in processes.

Training and development, thus, becomes a key area to concentrate on to enable this workforce evolution.

In the age of Industry 4.0, manufacturers need to prepare their entire workforce to harness the power of technology. This means frequent training and updated learning and development initiatives that address the pain points and learning gaps of the existing workforce. It also means accelerated onboarding and skill upgrades for the new hires to make them multi-skilled as with Industry 4.0.

The way ahead

In order to be prepared for this revolution, manufacturers have to ensure that all their resources are up to step to face the new order. Learning and development initiatives have to be more inclusive and take into consideration the varying needs of the resources. To achieve great training outcomes and to ensure that training costs are controlled, manufacturing companies need a new age training program…one that is complementary to the new age manufacturing unit.

Given the large resource pool that needs training, the diverse training needs of the workers, a large and often distributed workforce, manufacturing industries need a new training model that can proactively improve resource knowledge base. Training programs have to be more scalable, personalized, and flexible to adjust to the dynamic needs of Industry 4.0.

Taking a Blended Learning approach that combines classroom learning with eLearning emerges as a recipe for training success. With this approach, all awareness and knowledge sessions can be conducted leveraging eLearning while classroom training can be used for skill and expertise development.

Blended Learning takes the pain out of existing learning and development initiatives and gives manufacturing companies access to a huge knowledge repository, a talented resource pool of industry experts who can aid training, the flexibility to scale training programs in short time frame, and the ability to disseminate content in easily retainable bite-sized chunks in a device agnostic manner.

It is now clear that Industry 4.0 is going to be the silver bullet that helps manufacturers stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive and complex market. However, in order to deliver on its promise, manufacturers have to make sure that they arm their workforce with the right tools to do their jobs better. And in this case, there is no tool that is greater than knowledge.

How manufacturing companies can address the employee onboarding challenge

Onboarding is the process of integrating and acculturating new employees into the organization and providing them with the tools, resources, and knowledge to become successful and productive.” – Booz Allen Hamilton in a report for the Partnership for Public Service

In the age of digital transformation and growing technology adoption to improve organizational efficiencies, employee onboarding cannot be treated as a stepchild. Onboarding processes are more than orientation programs that introduce new hires to their work surroundings. In the manufacturing sector, especially, given the vast scale of operations and hiring, robust employee onboarding processes become contributors to help them become experts fast and hit the ground running. It also helps in establishing the first threads of employee engagement, a factor that is critical to employee productivity. However, as more digital natives begin entering the workforce, manufacturing companies are being compelled to take a relook at their onboarding processes.

The challenges of employee onboarding in manufacturing

With the new age of manufacturing and the changing needs of new age manufacturing employees, it is important to acknowledge that the onboarding programs need to be personalized, relevant, comprehensive and should help in forging a strong connection with the employee.

The Millennial Workforce – With an increasing number of Generation Y-ers comprising the workforce, onboarding is the time to establish the company’s employment brand for better employee retention. Why? Simply because they and the Millennials want clarity on their career development path from Day-1. Robust onboarding processes drive employee engagement and help them become productive and engaged in innovation faster.

Unique Needs – The challenges of employee onboarding are unique in the manufacturing sector. You have a large workforce with varying degrees of knowledge. You have the blue collar worker who has certain special needs to look into. You have a workforce that is often distributed, located in off-site plans, and manufacturing sites while the main office is located elsewhere. Added to that is the rapid adoption of technology that is changing processes, and there are also rapidly evolving compliance norms to manage.

Logistical Challenges – Learning and Development and Training departments in manufacturing companies also have to take into consideration the vast number of employees who need onboarding at the same time. Considering that the hiring happens in large numbers collectively, it can be a huge challenge to provide optimized onboarding experiences to all of the new hires especially if we depend solely on classroom training. This not only becomes a resource complex initiative as you need to get the right trainers on board and also juggle the schedules of those attending the training. Additionally, there is the logistical challenge of getting the new hires from different locations to the training location. This can not only be a logistical nightmare but can also drive up training costs significantly.

So how can manufacturers address these growing employee challenges? Clearly, when it comes to employee onboarding, this industry cannot, and ideally should not, look at one mode of information communication. There has been a growing realization about the importance of valuing your workforce and creating a positive work culture. Having a strong onboarding process can help drive home this point – especially to establish the change that has come in the manufacturing sector with the use of automation, tools, robots and Industry 4.0.

The Solution

The solution to scale the employee onboarding challenges can be achieved by leveraging Blended Learning. Blended Learning employs a right combination of eLearning and classroom training programs to yield the best results. Onboarding for the people working in this industry is not just about familiarization but is also about coming up to speed in the shortest possible timeframe. A combination of eLearning and classroom training or practical exposure ensures that the onboarding process is comprehensive, relevant and personalized.

For example, for blue-collar workers, onboarding has to have agenda of making them productive on the shop floor. So, they have to be trained in working on machinery and heavy equipment. This part of the training can be done employing eLearning where videos, tutorials, simulations, and mobile can be leveraged to provide a working knowledge of how things work. This can be then supplemented with practical supervision to ensure proficiency.

Thorough process knowledge is essential for employees in manufacturing. However, with the rapid adoption of technology, there has been a sea of change and processes and workflows have undergone tectonic shifts. Complex processes, concepts, and workflows can be easily explained to the employees using eLearning. Tables, diagrams, simulations, animations, gamification, storytelling etc. are few things that can be easily used in the eLearning format to explain several complex process stages and provide a clear understanding of them. These avenues can also be leveraged to assess the level of mastery the employee has gained and determine the need for future training.

When it comes to the supervisor or manager, the onboarding experience can be customized further using the blended learning approach. eLearning can be used to demonstrate how things work and product usage, impart knowledge regarding processes and workflows, introduce them to the how and what of new technologies being implemented, train them on compliance and regulatory norms etc. With eLearning, organizations get the capability to not just manage the training but also measure the amount of knowledge gained. This ensures that by the time the onboarding process is complete there is a complete and organic knowledge transfer to the employee. This can be followed up with classroom and practical training on product or other shop floor operations to ensure that the team is competent to expertly perform in real-life work scenarios. This helps the employee become proactively productive.

Blended learning also gives the opportunity to optimize time spent in classroom training. Employees can first understand processes leveraging eLearning and then can undergo classroom training to achieve greater proficiency. This also helps training teams and individual departments utilize employee time better as employees are not away from their factory for extended periods.

It has been established that if you want your employees to be a part of your growth story you have to give them a good start. Established manufacturing companies such as Michelin, Arcelor Mittal and the like have gone on record to state that. In order to close the skills gap that is fast emerging in this sector, it, therefore, becomes inevitable to look at creating a positive impact from their first interaction with the company. It is imperative to have onboarding processes that help the employee get on-board as efficiently, quickly, thoroughly and as positively as possible. And this can be achieved easily using the Blended Learning approach.