👉 1st White Paper on the digitization of plant operational management 👈
September 11, 2023

Skills mapping: a comprehensive guide for industrial managers

Understanding the concept of competency mapping

Competency mapping is a systematic method for identifying, assessing and managing the competencies available within an organization. It goes beyond a simple inventory of technical skills; it can also encompass employees' behavioral competencies, know-how and interpersonal skills. The aim is to create an overview that will help to make informed decisions on human resources management, training and development.

skills mapping - Mercateam

Challenges for modern industry

In the industrial sector, agility and efficiency are paramount. The slightest mismatch between the skills available and those required can lead to costly disruptions. Competency mapping enables you to anticipate and bridge these gaps. It also helps align team skills with the company's strategic objectives, facilitating upskilling, reorganization and even digital transformation.

What is a skill in the industrial sector?

In the industrial context, a skill can be defined as a measurable ability/knowledge to carry out a specific task with a given level of performance. It enables a person to carry out a given task, whether related to production, maintenance or the management of an industrial process. Competencies encompass not only theoretical technical knowledge and practical skills, but also the interpersonal and management skills that contribute to quality, efficiency and harmony within an organization. Skills are the key to enabling companies to endure over time, and thus meet the challenges of quality, variability and operational excellence.

The different types of skills to map

  1. Technical skills: These are skills specific to a task, job or industry. For example, the ability to operate a CNC machine in a factory.
  2. Behavioral skills: These skills are often cross-cutting and can be applied in different contexts. For example, the ability to communicate effectively is crucial in almost any work environment.
  3. Strategic Skills: These skills are necessary for decision-making and company management. They include skills such as analytical thinking, planning and executing complex strategies.

By combining these different types of skills in your mapping, you'll get a complete, nuanced picture of your industrial organization's human resources.

The role of skills assessment

Competency assessment is the crucial preliminary step in the mapping process. It involves clearly defining what the company expects of its employees at different levels and positions. Use standardized assessments, interviews and even practical tests to measure not only technical skills but also behavioral competencies. This data then serves as the basis for the creation of your skills matrixto identify gaps between current skills and those needed to achieve the company's strategic objectives.

skills mapping

Tools and software for efficient mapping

Technology is very important in the implementation of successful competency mapping. Specialized software can automate skills analysis, data updating and individual performance monitoring. They offer dynamic dashboards that provide a clear visualization of strengths and weaknesses within your organization. Make sure you choose a tool that is not only robust but also easy to use to encourage adoption by employees and managers alike.

Starting Challenges

Located in Taden, Brittany, the Sagemcom plant specializes in the manufacture of electricity and gas meters for the residential and professional markets.

Faced with constant fluctuations in orders, the plant often has to adjust its production volumes, which means diversifying products and production quantities.

One of Sagemcom's main challenges was to increase the versatility of its operators through training and ongoing support. Prior to partnering with Mercateam, the company found it difficult to track and manage the skills of its employees. Tracking was done via Excel spreadsheets, and absence management via specific software, making any agile transformation almost impossible.

Strategies adopted and successes reported

Thanks to Mercateam, Sagemcom's skills and clearance mapping has been fully digitized.

  • 101 employees are now valued and can follow their professional development.
  • The management of schedules, authorizations and training has been digitized, centralizing all relevant information.
  • The platform also makes it possible to anticipate training needs, whether due to retirement or skills obsolescence.
  • Operator data is now unified and easily accessible, facilitating fast, efficient decision-making.
  • Production supervisors, managers and HR are alerted in real time when crucial skills or authorizations are about to expire.

In short, Sagemcom has succeeded in optimizing its production process by placing the right people, with the right skills, in the most appropriate positions.

Underestimating behavioral skills

Many companies make the mistake of focusing solely on technical skills when creating their skills map. However, behavioral skills such as communication, foreign languages, leadership, argumentation and conflict resolution also play a vital role. By neglecting them, you miss the opportunity to build a truly balanced, high-performance team. What's more, this can have an impact on company culture and employee satisfaction in the long term.

Ignoring training needs

Training doesn't stop after recruitment or initial integration. The market evolves, technologies change and your employees need to adapt accordingly. Effective skills mapping requires regular updating and ongoing training plans to ensure that your team is always in tune with your industry's current and future needs.

Essential KPIs to track

To measure the effectiveness of your skills mapping, a few key KPIs need to be tracked. These include employee retention rates, training costs per employee, and the time required to reach desired skill levels. These KPIs will help you not only to quantify the direct impact of skills mapping on the business, but also to adjust your strategy accordingly.

Case studies of positive ROI in industry

There are many examples of industrial companies achieving a positive ROI thanks to skills mapping. In one case, a factory managed to reduce workplace accidents by 25% by improving safety training. This plant saw a 20% increase in productivity by implementing a better distribution of skills within its team. These cases demonstrate that the return on investment can be rapid and substantial.

Summary of actions to be taken

To ensure the success of your skills mapping in an industrial environment, a few actions are essential:

  1. Existing skills assessment: Understand where you are today.
  2. Identify the behavioral and technical skills required: Don't neglect one for the benefit of the other.
  3. Using the right tools and software: The right tool can make all the difference.
  4. Ongoing training and regular mapping updates: As markets and technologies evolve, your mapping needs to keep pace.
  5. Measuring KPIs: Without tracking, it's impossible to measure success or identify areas for improvement.

The path to continuous optimization

Competency mapping is not a one-off exercise, but an ongoing process that evolves with your company and your employees. Plan regular reviews and adapt your strategy according to the results obtained and the feedback gathered. Don't forget that skills requirements will change as your company grows, and your skills map needs to be flexible enough to keep pace with these changes.

Only by investing in a well-structured skills map, and ensuring its ongoing evolution, can you fully exploit the potential of your workforce and maintain your competitiveness in a constantly changing industrial environment.