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.