Transforming training from a procedure to a program

5 ways to effectively develop a comprehensive approach to improvement.

04/15/2015


As an increasing number of plant operators find success working with maintenance contractors to address staffing needs, one of the most critical differentiators is a partner’s ability to provide a highly trained workforce. At a base level, labor providers must be able to find a sufficient number of workers to staff the project effectively.

True partners don’t just look at the numbers; they focus on the quality of the workforce they’re providing. Finding and retaining the highest quality workers starts and ends with having a robust, flexible, and proven training program.

With a largely transient workforce, the only thing a plant manager can really know about a worker is what his resume says—unless the worker has worked with the manager before. This is why examining a staffing partner’s training program is so important. Training is the only way to truly influence a worker’s performance and meet the owner’s expectations.

Plant managers must collaborate with their labor providers to make sure they have a comprehensive training program that conforms to the plant’s needs. Below are a few key elements a quality training program should include.

1. Built to custom specs

Every plant has a unique culture and needs. Before even engaging with a partner, plant managers should examine their partner’s culture to see if it aligns with their own. Training programs are often as much about instilling a culture within a workforce as it is about preparing workers for the jobs and tasks they have to perform. If cultures don’t align, workers won’t fit as seamlessly into their new environment.

Additionally, plant managers must determine whether their partner can provide the specific types of certifications and training methods that conform to their needs and requirements. Whether a site is looking for Project Management Professional certifications, NCCER certifications, or some other type of certification, the training partner should have the resources available to provide this specialized training.

2. Engineered for learning

Effective training programs are engineered specifically to maximize adult learning and retention by combining hands-on training and real-life scenarios to test problem-solving skills. Plant managers will benefit from training partners who have maintenance experience and professional training and development staff with verifiable training credentials and educational background. An approach that goes beyond the classroom offers the best opportunity for retention and performance.

3. Integrated with project and outage timelines

Scheduling training is always a challenge, especially for plant managers that rely on a transient workforce. Plant managers must invest the time it takes to fully train their workforce. It’s important to schedule training time before the shutdown or outage to maximize human performance. Supplemental training can often be provided during the maintenance period through hands-on and online learning programs.

4. Tested for performance

Once the training is performed, plant owners expect results. Effective training programs use pre-training assessments to establish workers’ baseline knowledge level. Post-training assessments reveal whether the training program has been effective and may indicate needed changes or improvements to drive results.

Plant managers should solicit references from their training partner to determine the effectiveness of their programs and training personnel. Before the training begins, plant managers and their training partners should develop key performance metrics that can be assessed post-training.

5. Designed with frequent mental maintenance

Once workers pass initial training exercises, they need to be re-exposed to information on an ongoing basis. Plant managers need to work with partners to find ways to work educational information into everyday routines. That can mean sharing information during a daily morning meeting, coaching, or providing access to an online learning tool. This ongoing mental maintenance is as important as the regularly scheduled maintenance that happens throughout the plant.

With an influx of new talent at the beginning of every shutdown, turnaround, and outage, there’s a need for training and development programs that meet industry standards. Plant managers often lack qualified in-house staff to self-perform worker training programs, which is why they turn to outside partners.

Working with an experienced training partner to develop customized programs offers plant managers the best opportunity to secure a well-trained workforce.

Dr. Tiffani Worthy, PMP, is director of training and development for Day & Zimmermann.



Top Plant
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America.
Product of the Year
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
System Integrator of the Year
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering and Plant Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners in three categories.
June 2018
2018 Lubrication Guide, Motor and maintenance management, Control system migration
May 2018
Electrical standards, robots and Lean manufacturing, and how an aluminum packaging plant is helping community growth.
April 2018
2017 Product of the Year winners, retrofitting a press, IMTS and Hannover Messe preview, natural refrigerants, testing steam traps
June 2018
Machine learning, produced water benefits, programming cavity pumps
April 2018
ROVs, rigs, and the real time; wellsite valve manifolds; AI on a chip; analytics use for pipelines
February 2018
Focus on power systems, process safety, electrical and power systems, edge computing in the oil & gas industry
Spring 2018
Burners for heat-treating furnaces, CHP, dryers, gas humidification, and more
April 2018
Implementing a DCS, stepper motors, intelligent motion control, remote monitoring of irrigation systems
February 2018
Setting internal automation standards

Annual Salary Survey

After two years of economic concerns, manufacturing leaders once again have homed in on the single biggest issue facing their operations:

It's the workers—or more specifically, the lack of workers.

The 2017 Plant Engineering Salary Survey looks at not just what plant managers make, but what they think. As they look across their plants today, plant managers say they don’t have the operational depth to take on the new technologies and new challenges of global manufacturing.

Read more: 2017 Salary Survey

The Maintenance and Reliability Coach's blog
Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
One Voice for Manufacturing
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Maintenance and Reliability Professionals Blog
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Machine Safety
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
Research Analyst Blog
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Marshall on Maintenance
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
Lachance on CMMS
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.
Electrical Safety Update
This digital report explains how plant engineers need to take greater care when it comes to electrical safety incidents on the plant floor.
Maintenance & Safety
The maintenance journey has been a long, slow trek for most manufacturers and has gone from preventive maintenance to predictive maintenance.
IIoT: Machines, Equipment, & Asset Management
Articles in this digital report highlight technologies that enable Industrial Internet of Things, IIoT-related products and strategies.
Randy Steele
Maintenance Manager; California Oils Corp.
Matthew J. Woo, PE, RCDD, LEED AP BD+C
Associate, Electrical Engineering; Wood Harbinger
Randy Oliver
Control Systems Engineer; Robert Bosch Corp.
Data Centers: Impacts of Climate and Cooling Technology
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
Safety First: Arc Flash 101
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
Critical Power: Hospital Electrical Systems
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me