Company has solution for reviving manufacturing's economic impact on
by Desiree Schnoor
The US manufacturing industry is facing the unique challenges of an aging workforce and unfilled positions. Many skilled and knowledgeable workers have years of experience, but will be retiring soon. In fact, baby boomers make up about one third of the entire US workforce, and a staggering 10,000 are retiring every day.
In the healthiest annual gain since 1995, the manufacturing sector added 37,000 jobs in the 12 month period leading up to July 2018. Nevertheless, manufacturing “represented 11.6 percent of U.S. GDP in 2017, down from 12.3 percent in 2011 and 28.1 percent in 1953.” Indeed manufacturing is not represented as it once was in the US.
Dan, a manufacturing plant manager in a rural town in middle America, is facing a problem. His hiring and production are stagnant. The steady employment growth he had a decade ago has plateaued and he knows some of his senior technicians will be retiring soon. Having trouble finding the right applicants, and sometimes any applicants to fill positions that require just one year of manufacturing experience has left Dan searching for a way to fill his empty work stations. Facing the upcoming retirement of two of his best welders, he is trying to figure out how to prevent their knowledge and expertise from walking out the door with them. Dan knows there must be a way to get more people working better, faster and safer.
Virtual QE is a quality engineering company that has a solution for Dan and all companies following ISO Standards, including the automotive, aerospace, medical device, pharmaceutical and oil and gas industries: Video Work Instructions. Replacing traditional text instructions that are hard to read and understand, Video Work Instructions meet the direct needs of filling open positions and boosting production. Manufacturers who use Video Work Instructions to train employees are able to hire unskilled workers, who then perform like skilled technicians on day one- a solution that instantly reduces unemployment, drives productivity, and increases retention.
The Virtual QE process is as fast as it is practical. Wearing camera safety glasses, a company’s senior technician records first-person video while performing a complicated task or using a specific piece of machinery. This footage is sent to Virtual QE where it is reviewed and edited, into a step-by-step best practices training video. Within 72 hours, the video is delivered and ready to be used to train unskilled workers to complete high level tasks.
How well do Video Work Instructions work? Recently, at a plant demonstration, Virtual QE asked a technician, to watch a Video Work Instruction and then complete a novel task. He correctly completed the task, that usually takes 24-hours, in 1 hour. Results like these mean a lot of time and money saved for manufactures.
That's not all. The effects of Video Work Instructions reach as far as your state’s economy.
How? By providing a practical, fast and cost-effective way to remove the constraint of rising labor costs, Virtual QE challenges foreign based plants to move back to the US, and ultimately bring more manufacturing jobs to your state.
With no system overhaul, and instant implementation, Video Work Instructions are a fast and easy training tool. Virtual QE utilizes a unique combination of what they call “learning optimization” - a mix of brain science research and quality engineering experience, to create video learning tools that our brains prefer.
The September 2018 US unemployment rate was 3.7%, compared to a decade ago, when unemployment was 7.2%. This is an improvement, but Video Work Instructions could drive this number even lower. Video learning is second nature to millennials, the ones who will be filling many open manufacturing positions. Millennials, although less skilled, have many working years ahead of them. A recent study showed that millennials are driven by career development, which means they seek positions they like and can grow in, they are willing to change jobs often, and sometimes go back to school for specific skills training. Essentially, they want to grow and perform well. Video Work Instructions are designed to give millennials what they need to be successful because training with Video Work Instructions is 10 times faster than traditional work instructions, and almost immediately levels the playing field between new and seasoned workers.
Shawn Findlater, the creator of Virtual QE’s Video Work Instructions has this to say about the impacts of Video Work Instructions on employees: “With Video Work Instructions, what we are seeing is they (employees) are very confident, they can perform the operation, they see themselves giving value, which is very important to especially millennials. They want to see value coming in day one, and understand the path within which they can grow. If things are ambiguous and they are not sure if they can perform, they are going to get discouraged and they are going to leave the company.”
During the past few decades, many US companies moved their labor plants to other countries to maintain lower labor costs, however, Video Work Instructions boldly gives reason for companies to move their plants back to the US in two ways. First, moving plants back to the US would mobilize local work forces because companies could fill their positions with workers previously unqualified for skilled jobs in that area, those with no manufacturing skills or experience. Secondly, since companies can hire unskilled workers and pay them a lower wage than they pay their skilled workers, and still reap the same production levels, this keeps labor costs low, puts people to work and fuels local economies.
Let’s go back to Dan. His company implemented Video Work Instructions 6 months ago, and since day one, many technicians, both new and experienced, have been able to complete tasks they have never done before, correctly the first time, much faster than they would have using traditional work instructions. In fact, production time on certain tasks has gone from a day’s work to about an hour. Dan’s rural town is on its way to becoming a booming manufacturing city, with one new plant coming to the area soon. Dan has been able to hire people who were previously unemployable in manufacturing, and is now able to focus his efforts on other aspects of the company.
by Desiree Schnoor
Did you know that when you aren’t happy at work, other areas of your life suffer too? In fact, work and life satisfaction tend to go hand in hand, for better or for worse. Let's look on the bright side; we work more creatively, collaboratively and effectively when we are happy at work- gaining a 12% increase in productivity when people are happy. Our brains work better when we are feeling positive, and are actually able to problem solve better.
Video Work Instructions are an effective way to help employees do their job better, like it more, and feel good about it. Virtual QE focuses on the “quality” in quality engineering by providing products and services that help you feel better about your work and your life.
Video Work Instructions: Ergonomics for your brain
by Desiree Schnoor
When you think of ergonomics, you might think of the benefits a standing desk has on your back, or how good it feels when your fancy toothbrush fits perfectly in your hand. Ergonomics aims to help our bodies function as best as best they can in our environments. But what about our brains?
Virtual QE has revolutionized the manufacturing world with Video Work Instructions. Video work Instructions are to brain ergonomics as standing desks are to body ergonomics.
Shawn Findlater, the CEO of Virtual QE recognizes the ease and speed that video work instructions give manufacturing employees. “When we ask a manufacturing employee to complete a task they have never completed, sometimes even using parts they have never seen before, by watching a first-person video of an expert completing that task, they do it easily and correctly. They know that watching a video is easy and efficient. They like it and their managers like it.”
Apparently, their brains like it too. The traditional way of paper and picture work instructions are outdated not just because they are messy, revisions take forever, and they crowd the workstation, but because our brains actually work better- processing information easier, faster more accurately when viewing video; not text and still pictures.
When we are learning any task, if the information is perceived as words, our brains actually have to recognize letters, then words, then translate them into usable information. That information is stored and translated into a sequence of steps. While each piece of information is tiny and these processes take milliseconds, the time adds up, and when error or missteps happen along the way, the process must start over. Not only does this increase production time, it increases our cognitive load, causing us more mental strain and fatigue.
When creating video work instructions, Virtual QE takes all this science into consideration, as well as other factors like, first person view, quality inputs and other factors, to give manufacturers and employees a learning tool that our brains love.
Video Work Instructions are capturing tribal knowledge- forever
by Desiree Schnoor
Sometimes in a manufacturing plant there is an expert who gives face-to-face instruction to a new employee, teaching them how to complete a task, using their best practices. We call this the passing of tribal knowledge. While this one-on-one method of teaching and learning is effective, it’s not always efficient.
And at times, it might not even be possible. Michael Secord, the General Manager of Heroux Devtek, Aerostructure Division- Magtron, is worried about his welder retiring. “How do we capture all the tribal knowledge that Phil has in his head, to effectively pass onto the next welder? We think with the video instructions we can do just that; we can document how to weld without having to hire a new, specialized welder.”
One of the most powerful services that Virtual QE offers is recording a first-person perspective of that tribal knowledge. Their Video Work Instructions can be viewed by an unlimited number of workers, an unlimited amount of times, maintaining the learning benefits every time. The viewer can complete the mechanics of the task, from start to finish, even if they never have before. Now, managers like Michael never have to worry about losing an employee again.
Virtual QE has solution for Gallup’s Employee Engagement needs
by Desiree Schnoor
A recent Gallup poll surveyed over 1 million managers to see what employees needed for development, growth and performance, revealing 12 broad categories. The two findings on the “Basic Needs” level were, I know what is expected of me at work, and I have what I need to do my job right. Gallup reports that a staggering “half of workers are unclear about what they are supposed to do at work.” While clearly a widespread problem for many companies, those using Virtual QE’s video work instructions are not one of them.
A manufacturing engineer at UniTech can speak to the success of Video Work Instructions. “The video was very informative…from beginning to end it gave a good understanding of the process and the work that needed to be performed…from a training aspect, that’s an invaluable tool we can use.”
Video Work Instructions eliminate task ambiguity because an employee can see the exact mechanics of the task, from start to finish, every step of the way. They can pause, replay and go back in a video instruction quickly and easily.
Employees using Video Work Instructions have what they need to do their job right; as well as safer and faster than the older method of text or picture instructions afforded. Over 10 times faster, in fact. Shawn Findlater, Virtual QE’s CEO and quality mastermind says, “Seeing first hand the desire for workers to want to do their job well has driven us to offer Video Work Instructions as a solution. We know that improvements implemented at the employee level have far reaching positive effects for employers. They are empowered to complete their tasks, and feel confident in their work. It shows in production increases, it shows in a drop of absenteeism, and it shows in loyalty to their company.”
Mr. Findlater and Virtual QE are onto something. The theory behind the Gallup hierarchy is that the lower level must first be met before the next level can. In essence, you have to start at the bottom, and the growth builds on itself. Virtual QE is offering companies an effective solution for meeting its foundation needs. With those solutions in place there are endless opportunities for positive returns, both tangible and intangible, for both employees and their companies.
Who’s the Boss?– Video Work Instructions taking their place in an employee run marketplace
by Desiree Schnoor
The Work Institute has compiled insights from more than 234,000 exit interviews into their 2018 Retention Report- State of the Marketplace. The general finding? Employees get what employees want – or employees leave.
In fact, this year, more than 1 in 4 employees will voluntarily leave their jobs. Employers are challenged both in filling open positions and keeping the workers they have. The problem is many available workers are not job ready. There is a gap between available jobs needing to be filled and workers with the skills to fill them. How are companies to bridge the gap between available, skilled workers and the job that needs to get done? And why are workers quitting?
The single largest reason cited by the Work Institute for quitting was for career development (21%). Among those who quit for this reason, 18.5% of those left to return to school, to increase their skill set. Many workers believe they need to attain a larger skill set instead of entering the work force in the first place, or they need advanced degrees once they are there.
Traditionally, in a sector like manufacturing, you couldn’t just pull someone from one area of the shop floor and expect them to perform like your veteran technician in another. But all that is changing.
Video Work Instructions replace text and picture work instructions, that take longer to understand and are harder to use. Video is faster and easier and is leveling the skills playing field for workers of all abilities and experiences. They were developed to close the skills gap by giving everyone the ability to perform skilled tasks quickly and correctly. They get employees to work sooner and better. Plus, employers don’t have to pay a skilled laborer wage to get the same results from a new technician. This means filling more open positions quicker and more economically.
What about turnover? Employers are not the only ones affected by high voluntary turnover. Remaining employees are often left to pick up the slack for those open positions, taking on new tasks and responsibilities. The longer the positions are open, the more overworked and stressed employees can feel. However, if employees must take on new responsibilities, Video Work Instructions can help them learn new tasks easily and quickly, equating to greater productivity, and less training time and stress.
Shawn Findlater, CEO of Virtual QE, is familiar with employee retention, turnover and bridging the skills gap in the manufacturing industry, because of his years of consulting relationships with manufactures in the US. “In more ways than one”, he says, “we are literally putting the power in the hands of the employees. Video work instructions help them know how to do their jobs better and faster, giving them confidence and autonomy. We believe that companies who use Video Work Instructions are making the smart choice to address these crucial issues. They see benefits like more job satisfaction, less job turnover, the ability to employ more unskilled workers and train them better and faster. We are just excited for what this solution means for the manufacturing industry and all industries.”
Desiree Schnoor holds degrees in psychology and public health. Her interests lie broadly in health and well being. She spends the majority of her efforts and love on her husband and four children. She has used her communication skills in health education and promotion for a large wellness corporation, as well as starting a women's mentoring program. She is utilizing her skill set at Virtual QE to convey the "quality of life" aspects of quality engineering.