Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation, was featured in a Quality Magazine article about the COVID-19 virus disrupting businesses worldwide and how training employees presents new challenges. Luce weighed in on the struggle within industry to find talent with soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
“What [applicants] need to bring to the table that is difficult to train for are soft skills: the ability to write concisely, think critically, [and] solve problems,” Luce says. “Those types of skills that are developed over their lifetime and can’t really be taught efficiently in a classroom setting.”
The article also discussed a new working environment where workers used remote tools and advanced cloud-based analytics tools that allow technical staff to monitor and diagnose equipment—and one another—remotely. Other benefits that manufacturers can take advantage remotely include bringing in experts for remote training sessions and connecting with vendors for troubleshooting or using technologies like augmented reality to link up with another work site. Luce hopes that remote training will outlive the pandemic.
“When manufacturers open their doors again, there needs to be a hard look at using technology not only in the manufacturing processes and systems but also in learning and developing of its people,” he says. “Embracing online training and online tools to educate their workforce as part of a blended approach is overdue. Both the industry and individual manufacturers will need to utilize their pre-disposed innovative thinking to also embrace different ways to learn. We’ve got to put technology to work in educating our workforce.”