👉 1st White Paper on the digitization of plant operational management 👈
September 14, 2023

Plant skills management: 5 steps to a more effective team

The challenge of industrial competitiveness

Modern industry is a complex ecosystem, facing a variety of challenges such as globalization, automation and increasingly stringent quality standards. In this quest for excellence, an often overlooked but fundamental element is the competence of employees. They are the heart of any plant, and their expertise and commitment are essential to maintaining productivity and innovation. Ignoring skills management is like neglecting a key component in a complex mechanism, jeopardizing the plant's overall performance.

Plant skills management

Skills management as a solution

Contrary to popular belief, skills management is not just a matter for the human resources department. It is, in fact, a corporate strategy in its own right. By aligning your team's skills with your plant's strategic objectives, you optimize not only productivity, but also employee satisfaction and retention. This creates a working environment where each individual is in his or her place, where skills are continually developed and adapted to the changing needs of the industry.

Understand your team's current skill level

Before you can implement an effective skills management strategy, you need to know where you're starting from. From regular skills assessmentssupported by key performance indicators (KPIs ) and performance reviews, can provide you with invaluable data. Collecting this data is easy and straightforward, just by talking to your teams and listening to their feedback.

Identify critical skills for your plant

Once you've assessed your team's skill level, the next step is to determine which skills are essential to the smooth running of your plant. These skills can vary considerably depending on the industry, the equipment used, and even your company's strategic objectives. A detailed skills map is therefore essential for each position, in order to align your skills management strategy with the real needs of the plant.

Software and platforms for skills assessment

In the modern industrial world, digital tools play a crucial role in staying competitive. When it comes to skills management, choosing the right tool can be a real performance driver. A wide range of software and platforms are available to automate and streamline the skills assessment process. These solutions range from learning management systems (LMS) to integrated talent management platforms. Some of these tools come with advanced features, such as detailed analysis, 360-degree assessments, and even artificial intelligence to identify gaps and development opportunities for your employees.

plant skills management - Mercateam

How to choose the right tool for your needs

The choice of tool must be perfectly matched to your plant's needs and objectives. It's important to consider factors such as the software's scalability, ease of integration with your existing systems, and the specific features that are essential to your operation. Don't hesitate to carry out free trials, consult user reviews on use cases similar to yours, and solicit feedback from your teams before making a decision. This will ensure that the tool you choose is not only effective, but also adapted to your plant's specific needs and culture.

Drawing up a personalized training plan

Once the key skills and gaps have been identified, the next step is to set up a customized training plan for each member of your team. This plan needs to be both flexible and structured. It must be designed to adapt to the changing needs and specific challenges of your plant, while providing a clear and measurable trajectory for skills development. The aim is to create an environment where every employee can reach his or her full potential, while contributing to the company's overall objectives.

The best methods for in-plant training

Industrial training has evolved far beyond traditional classroom sessions. Today, it can include a variety of methods, from e-learning and interactive simulations, to mentoring and even the use of augmented reality for specific technical training. The choice of training method needs to be carefully considered to maximize employee engagement and training effectiveness. It is also important to measure the impact of these training courses using specific KPIs to ensure that they meet the plant's skill needs.

KPIs to monitor to measure effectiveness

Tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) is a fundamental element in assessing the success of your skills management. KPIs such as training completion rates, competency levels achieved, and even more sophisticated measures such as training return on investment (ROI), are essential. These indicators will provide you with valuable data to help you determine whether your investments in training and skills development are really paying off. They will also help you to identify areas requiring particular attention to improve your plant's overall efficiency.

How to adjust your strategy in real time

In a constantly changing industrial environment, flexibility is key. If KPIs reveal that certain training courses or methods are not as effective as expected, it's imperative to reassess them and adjust your strategy accordingly. This agile approach will enable you to react quickly to changes and continually optimize your team's performance in line with your plant's real needs and objectives.

Emerging skills to watch out for

The industrial world is constantly changing, not least because of the accelerated adoption of new technologies. Skills such as mastery of cyber-physical systems, advanced data analysis and robotics are becoming increasingly crucial. It is therefore imperative to integrate these emerging skills into your strategic planning to remain competitive in the Industry 4.0 era.

versatility - Mercateam

Adapting skills management to technological innovations

Digitization and automation are radically transforming the landscape of the modern factory. In this ever-changing context, skills management must evolve to remain relevant and effective. This is where software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions come into play.

Investing in cutting-edge SaaS tools that integrate artificial intelligence for skills tracking can be a real asset. These platforms offer real-time analytics, enabling continuous assessment of employee skills and performance. What's more, they are often easier to integrate and update, making them particularly suited to dynamic industrial environments.

Similarly, augmented reality training platforms are another innovation that can revolutionize the way skills are developed on the factory floor. These solutions offer immersive, hands-on training, ensuring that your teams' skills are continuously and effectively updated.

Summary of essential steps

For effective skills management in an industrial environment, it's crucial to follow a well-defined roadmap. Key steps in this roadmap include initial skills assessment, selection of appropriate tools, planning and implementation of targeted training, rigorous performance monitoring via KPIs, and real-time adjustments. What's more, it's essential to stay abreast of emerging skills and technological innovations that could redefine your plant's landscape in the near future.