This Month in SMT007 Magazine: The Skilled Worker

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“Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes.” —Peter Drucker

Why do we train and educate our employees? Here, I will share my perspective based on what is happening in facilities trying to outsource their products, as I see that many companies are losing the tribal knowledge of how things are manufactured and the basic skills necessary to physically build a product.

The ability to make good decisions is crucial for your employees making your products. They must use decisions in knowing which tool to use, how to use that particular tool, how to read the print to remove and replace a component, and how to make necessary changes so your product works. Regardless of where you are working, there are many decisions to be made and each employee should have enough knowledge about their job to make those decisions—no matter how minor the task may seem.

In this article, I will explore some fundamental ideas underlying the overarching question, “Why do we train our employees?” Clarifying these key strategies will lead to more effective training and a proper focus on the actual training needs.

What Resources Do You Need to Make This Happen?
Skill training will require learning new technologies and skills to manufacture new products. Companies need to be aware of what is coming so they can prepare the tools to manufacture the product. There may be some new techniques or equipment which may be necessary to learn as well as provide the ability to make these new products with minimal rework or rejects.

Who Are the Skilled Workers?
Skilled workers know what they are doing and have the skills to do the job. Don’t forget the formula “Ability = Knowledge + Skills.” The skilled worker needs to know what to do and what their responsibilities are. Skilled workers must be trained to certain proficiency levels. In manufacturing, they apply their skills to the respective products, as they are the last line of defense before the product goes to the customer. It’s necessary to have someone who is capable, has the incentive, and is happy doing the work. This makes a skilled worker. Therefore, companies must pay attention to their employees who physically make the products. When they are proficient, have the proper tools to manufacture the product, and are noted as major contributors to the end product, their value increases.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the January 2021 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.




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