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.
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.