Tooling U-SME's blog focuses on best practices, tools and tips for workforce training and development.

Rebecca Lake, from Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, joins us to discuss the role of community colleges as sponsors of apprenticeship programs to help fill the manufacturing skills gap.
This week, more than 115,000 manufacturers will gather in Chicago for IMTS to get ideas and find answers to their manufacturing challenges. They will see new technology demonstrated, talk to technical experts and find inspiration.

There’s a lot of talk about ways to cut costs, boost quality and productivity, keep up with new technology, improve plant operations and find new business. But when you dig deeper, it really comes down to building a skilled workforce. Manufacturing’s greatest challenge continues to be the skills gap.
Productivity losses due to unplanned equipment shutdowns are detrimental to all manufacturers.

While downtime is most often associated with equipment breakdowns, it also encompasses any unplanned event that causes your manufacturing process to stop -- machine repair, poor operator setup, operator errors, inadequate production planning, or a shortage of qualified operators.
Product quality is a critical competitive issue and a never-ending challenge for manufacturers. But just how big of a challenge is it expected to be in the next three years?

According to Tooling U-SME’s Industry Pulse 2018: Manufacturing Workforce Study, 80 percent of respondents indicated that quality improvements will be at least somewhat challenging over the several years.
One of the biggest reasons for production slowdowns is workplace injuries. And one of the biggest reasons for workplace injuries is lack of employee training.

Picture the following scenario, which is happening with increasing regularity as aging Baby Boomers leave the manufacturing workforce. One of your best workers, who’s been with your company for years and knows your operation inside and out, retires. Replacing that worker will require screening, HR time, onboarding and training — including safety training.
Scrap and rework costs are a reality for manufacturers across all industries. Wasted prototypes, parts that don't fit properly, and changes in materials are just some of the many things that cause scrap and rework costs. But their impact on a manufacturing organization is the same — wasted time and money. Although it is near-impossible to eliminate scrap and rework completely, you can reduce the amount in your organization by upskilling your workforce with training that addresses issues such as quality, inspection, and lean.