How Manufacturers Can Tackle The Skills Shortage

Contrary to what many people hear in the media, there are manufacturing jobs in North America – in fact, according to a piece in Canadian Manufacturing, there are over 300,000 open factory jobs in the United States. The problem in filling them is a lack of skills, especially STEM-based educations, required to fill today’s manufacturing jobs. There are number of factors at work that have brought about this acute skills shortage, including the decrease in the real wages of manufacturing workers making the sector less appealing to better educated workers and disinvestment in training from the companies themselves.

For many companies, the answer to solving the skills shortage is going to be reinvesting in training and part of that shift has to be reconsidering the ROI of skills training. Disinvestment has largely been the product of short-term thinking, and in that view, training is an expensive undertaking. In the long-term, a better skilled workforce will be a valuable asset, and today manufacturers are paying for short-sighted decisions made several decades ago.

According to IndustryWeek, only 1 percent of the workforce in manufacturing is actually receiving training in the form of an apprenticeship, with machinist, electrician, maintenance mechanic, tool and die maker, and sheet metal worker making up the 5 most common apprenticeships. Not all essential skills in the shop need to be learned through an apprenticeship, though, and you can cross-train employees in a number of skills with classroom and online courses. Metrology is one skill where knowledge among manufacturing workers is uneven, with most having picked up these skills along the way when their shop introduced coordinate measuring machines. However, having knowledgeable, skilled coordinate measuring machine operators is key to manufacturing high-quality parts. Coordinate measuring machines are becoming more common in shops of all kinds as their clients expect higher quality and better inspection tools from their suppliers. With increased adoption of coordinate measuring machines, shops should also be looking to invest in software training as well.

Metrology companies like Canadian Measurement Metrology (CMM) offer a variety of training courses in common coordinate measuring machine software programs like PC-DMIS. For example, PC-DMIS CAD++ Level 1 training teaches operators:

  • Probe calibration
  • Alignment theory
  • Dimensioning
  • DCC alignments
  • Programming with CAD offline
  • PC-DMIS user interface
  • and more

A PC-DMIS CAD++ Level 3 course goes onto more advanced knowledge, such as looping, variables, subroutines, hyper reporting, and file input/output management. Providing your employees with advanced training in metrology software will improve the efficiency and quality of your inspection department. Often shops have to bring in contract metrologists in order to perform advanced programming, which can delay the process and become expensive. As the industry makes its move toward a better trained, higher skilled workforce, metrology skills should be on your radar. If you can’t spare the personnel to send them to a course that’s outside of the shop, there are also e-courses for PC-DMIS available from Canadian Measurement Metrology. For manufacturers to rise to the challenge posed by more advanced technology in shops across North America, from increased automation and the introduction of IoT technology to better metrology, they have to invest in training.

If you’re committed to overcoming the skills shortage currently facing the manufacturing industry, learn about Canadian Measurement Metrology and their software training solutions. Metrology may only make up a part of the skills shortage in the industry, but it’s a crucial one to your business and innovative training solutions are making it easier for shops to train and cross-train employees at a lower cost.

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