6

Skills assessment for introduction of new technology-Ability Testing

Lesley

| 5 Posts

Chartered Member

23 Aug, 2014 12:59

We are bringing in new automated technology to an environment which has previously been a manual process.   We need to assess the skills of our current workforce against the new technology.

Skills will include things such as machine set up and ongoing problem solving if equipment stops/breaks down, changeovers of parts/material, monitoring etc.

Has anyone any experience of having introduced new technology in the past into areas where technology has never been used and successfully assessing skills and the workforce against these requirements prior to bringing in the technology.

 I am interested in any advice on items such as mechanical aptitude tests and any other tests that may be useful.  Alternatively, if these have been found to be unhelpful. 


  • David Perry

    | 4607 Posts

    Chartered Member

    23 Aug, 2014 16:46

    Find some operators who are willing to take on the new kit, look at issues, problems and how to help ease some of the other staff into the new technology. 

    These will be the ones I'd train up first.  Once they've been trained they'll have a good idea what practical problems others may or may not face. If necessary these could pass on their skills to the others.  If so end of problem.

    No aptitude test is going to replicate exactly what machinery is going to be used and testing someone and discovering they've no aptitude will only prove they are no good at the test.  I've personal experience of failing an aptitiude and within a short period of time I overtook almost all my own work mates  at the job. 

    And even if the test does prove accurate you've still got the staff to train up one way or another. 

  • Lesley

    | 5 Posts

    Chartered Member

    24 Aug, 2014 15:12

    Thanks David

    That is really useful advice.  It is helpful to have your experience of aptitude tests as these are always very difficult to validate.



  • Looks like very good advice from Dave, and I wonder if you might supplement that with training from the supplier of the equipment and/or get in touch with other users of the same products. I realise they might be rivals, but if you can glean anything from them you'd be better placed. 

    I would expect any significant technology to come with training support. Did the management think about that?

    Nick 

  • David

    | 19102 Posts

    Chartered Member

    24 Aug, 2014 20:11

    Indeed - have seen it happen far too many times - new technology gets costed and adopted on the price of the kit only, yet the training implications of staff to operate it effectively and the associated learning curve towards full effectiveness get ignored. The new kit is worse than useless without fully trained and fully willing people effectively to operate it - but how many UK companies factor-in this truism? - not many, I'm afraid
  • Lesley

    | 5 Posts

    Chartered Member

    26 Aug, 2014 11:58

    Thanks for the advice everyone.


    We will have some staff going to the factory acceptance testing to see the kit working before we bring it on site. The manufacturers will have training but this training usually is only superficial and is likely not to take account of problems that may occur during running.



    My main priority at the moment is identifying the staff who we think will be the best advocates to assist us introduce this equipment to all the staff. It is this area I am struggling with as we have nothing to assess them against not having used this type of equipment before. I wondered if anyone had any experience of having had to do this.

     Lesley

  • David Perry

    | 4607 Posts

    Chartered Member

    28 Aug, 2014 11:10

    Lesley

      

    The solution lies with the staff on the shop floor.  

    Ask for volunteers.  The ones who volunteer will be the ones who'll be the best advocates because they are willing to do so.  Use their willingness accordingly.


    Although the staff may well have been producing widgets or whatever, for sometime by hand, I'd be very, very surprised if not one of them  is either willing to have a go using machines, or be enthusiastic about using machines.  You don't need to assessment them against anything.  Not all of them will be willing luddites!  By using volunteers, or encouraging the members of staff who you guess are going to be better advocates you'll be off to a much better start.

    Just as an aside  there are still a few elderly, now retired farmers around here who literally gave up the horse for the tractor!!  They didn't have to retire the old horse men.  They simply gave up the horse when they found the tractor a better proposition.

More Content