The Importance of Training and Assistance in Industrial Manufacturing

Mar 15, 2023 10:00:49 AM . Julia Walsh

Global manufacturing is going through a fundamental and transformational phase, with the inclusion of advanced automation, artificial intelligence, and Industry 4.0 IT applications completely changing the way things are done on the traditional shop floor. This large-scale change necessitates that manufacturing training and assistance must also transform as paper-based training manuals and work instructions become obsolete.

The new training era is more hands-on, experiential, real-life, and result oriented. Such training and assistance use Industry 4.0 technology to prepare the frontline and acquaint them with highly specific tasks and production standards using AR, VR, and video-based instructions. However, in order to successfully transform current training practices it is critical to choose the right implementation partners and have a clear vision of what the transformed training paradigm would look like!  

Understanding Training 4.0:

Without Training 4.0 it will be difficult, if not impossible, for companies to realize the full potential of Industry 4.0. Training 4.0 uses the same digital transformation technology gamut deployed for Industry 4.0 to better train the current and future frontline. The goal is to preserve organizational know-how and have a faster worker qualification turnaround for quicker deployment on the shop floor and fewer production-related errors.

Today, we endeavor to understand what this new advanced training system entails and how organizations can best implement new training modules and systems using a frontline workforce platform. Forbes recently published a post explaining what makes Training 4.0 different from existing training practices and how companies can go about implementing the new training paradigm. Let’s examine the key takeaways from this post.

  • As proclaimed by Taiichi Ohno, “Without standards, there can be no improvements.” Training in the Industry 4.0 era focuses on delivering standardized work instruction and process training through video, AI, and digital twin-based mediums for faster learning and 360-degree task coverage.
  • Standards should be clearly defined by cross-functional teams with the involvement of line supervisors, plant management, and frontline workers and include critical aspects of each activity and the best way to execute tasks.
  • Cross-functional training should be provided with the help of demonstrational videos that ideally feature the master of a particular process showing each and every step while actually executing the requisite series of tasks to perform a given activity.
  • An essential part of video-based training instructions is the ability to augment them with process information and data live streams as actions are performed. Without this integration, video-based training might lead to suboptimal understanding and execution.
  • Furthermore, a constant feedback and interaction loop during training ensures that trainees are able to gain the maximum value out of each session and that real-time training is much more than simple video-based instructions. It allows for sessions to be interactive and for deep insight to be gained on what works and what doesn’t.
  • Cross-training and the development of skill matrices through an evolved and highly focused training program is the deliverable of Training 4.0.

In addition to video-based interactive training sessions, Training 4.0 would use AR-based technologies for on-the-job type training and simulation and digital twins for training personnel on critical tasks. All of this, together with the existing knowledge of an organization’s present frontline and supervisory staff, can truly help companies retain, retrain, and attract new talent through the use of digital tech.

Training With Webalo:

The Webalo Platform provides the ideal Training 4.0 implementation tools by leveraging features built into the platform and modifying them to provide better training. Let’s look at how various platform features come together to create a comprehensive training and assistance module that will help manufacturers implement the new training paradigm.

During induction, the Webalo Platform allows workers to view and participate in interactive training programs that focus on acquainting new personnel with the requisite standard operating procedures and job-specific work instructions. When workers receive clear video-based training and are able to clarify doubts and concerns in an interactive manner, the results are evident. When these workers hit the floor, they will make fewer errors and require less supervision. Another benefit of these video-based sessions is the automatic transfer of health and safety instructions from the trainer to the viewers as part of the execution process. 

Although tribal knowledge is valuable information accumulated through years, there are major limitations other than only being undocumented and dependent on a few employees. In the future, the Webalo Platform will allow new hires to take complete and immersive 3D tours of their job sites and learn how to operate and interact with process equipment, automation, and robotics. This real-life 3D virtual tour will help employees understand what the operational floor looks like and what their future job entails, both in terms of their tasks and possible interactions with equipment.

Furthermore, when the new or retrained workers are deployed on the floor, the platform allows them to seek virtual and remote assistance for faster troubleshooting and the immediate resolution of production issues. Operational sessions can also be recorded, which allows supervisors to evaluate the skill set of a given operator or worker while allowing them to review their own performance and mark out areas for improvement.

The platform and its applications allow new users to access all job-related literature, from decision paths to workflow diagrams and work instructions, with the added ability to interact within the apps to resolve any doubts in real time. This allows knowledge to flow freely within a plant and through all plants connected by the Webalo Platform.

Training 4.0 can be a real lifesaver for companies struggling with manpower because it allows for faster skill building and the fully documented and digitally supervised execution of actual tasks. However, the choice of frontline platform will make all the difference to successfully transforming paper-based and limited-audience training programs, so choose wisely!