The factory floor is a busy place. There are literally thousands of moving parts and familiarity is one of the key attributes that can keep workers safe. For this reason, countless hours, days, and weeks are invested in properly training employees on the correct procedures for performing their jobs. But lately, more manufacturers are taking skilled workers out of their current positions, and offering cross training opportunities in different areas of the company. The aim is to expose workers to more than one type of job.
For example, a wire and assembly pro may be put in charge of training workers who normally work in packaging. If some of these employees show potential, they are encouraged to take special courses or credits that further establish their competence in the new arena.
Cross training does not undermine existing skills. It adds depth and variety to the talent’s portfolio allowing the company to better leverage capabilities possessed by the workforce. It also offers seasoned workers the chance to mentor newer employees and pass along their vast knowledgebase.
Why is Cross Training Valuable?
Cross training is not only a wise decision, it is also the need of the hour.
- From now until 2030, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers will retire every day. The US manufacturing sector boasts about 13,000,000 jobs out of which most of the positions are held by Boomers. Despite best efforts, companies are having a hard time bringing fresh talent onboard and the skills gap is widening. If the Millennials who are invested in manufacturing are equipped with a diverse skill set, they can plug the holes in production.
- Gallup’s engagement survey has forced companies to view job satisfaction in a different light. According to the numbers, 1 in 3 US employees is disengaged at work. And this lack of interest is what leads to poor performance as well as eventual churn. So how does disengagement set in? Mundane tasks and unvarying routine are two culprits. Cross training works wonder in such a setting. It can re-ignite the spark of passion in employees and give them stimulating challenges to meet. Cross training improves employee accountability and offers a sense of growth to the workers.
Cross training is being hailed by experts as a great substitute to hiring temporary employees. The workers may shuttle between departments but their sense of loyalty and understanding of company values continues to grow. This is a huge advantage that leads to greater productivity.
Liftomatic has already implemented a cross-training initiative that matches younger workers with experts in other departments to see who is interested and able to pick up a new skill. In 2017, we’ll continue the program and are taking into account worker preferences to craft programs that involve seasoned veterans as well as new talent for a balanced mix of experience and originality. The anticipated pay-offs include lower production costs, leaner production processes and better adherence to deadlines.