5 Steps Toward Bridging The Knowledge Gap
I once knew a teacher who bristled at the word “training.” She said, “You can train dogs to do simple tricks. You can train monkeys to perform certain tasks, but human beings should be educated.”
Her point is that people need to move beyond learning discrete procedures to critically thinking about the bigger picture. This is especially relevant in today’s CNC machining world. Yes, operators need to know the steps for setting up a part program, but they also need to think about taking full advantage of technology and machining techniques to improve the manufacturing process. That’s where education can take them beyond mere training.
Doctors, lawyers, teachers and other licensed professionals are required to complete a certain amount of continuing education each year. Given the increasing sophistication of manufacturing, it makes good sense for CNC shops to establish Learning Programs for their employees. These 5 steps can help you get started.
- Assess knowledge gaps. A good way to begin is to hold meetings with your staff to learn in what areas they see the need for better knowledge. You may find that some of your operators and supervisors would like to improve a process, but don’t know how to go about it. Or they may have heard or seen something that might help, but need to learn more about it. If you document these issues, you can determine the kind of education your Learning Program should address.
- Much as you’d like to fill every knowledge gap throughout your organization, there are only so many resources you can allocate to the Learning Program. Therefore, you need to consider all of the issues and categorize them in terms of return on investment. Ideally, this will enable you to develop a program that focuses on learning that will produce immediate results along with education that will help achieve long-term goals.
- Establish internal learning opportunities. Part of any educational process is sharing information among participants. For example, some CNC shops use 3-D printing to create models of parts, and then bring employees together to discuss how to make the part more efficiently. By sharing experiences and ideas, this team effort helps raise the overall level of knowledge.
- Seek outside help. Many manufacturing equipment dealers, OEMs, cutting tool suppliers and others have experts on staff who can help educate your people. Some even hold periodic events, such as Gosiger’s “Lunch & Learn,” open houses, and Gosigerfest where industry experts present new ideas and technologies. As a member of Okuma’s Partners in THINC, Gosiger Automation works with other suppliers to help solve complex production problems, and to educate customers on factory automation advances. Gosiger’s Engineering Services group helps customers learn how to refine processes to reduce costs and time-to-market.
- Commit to a schedule. All of these efforts won’t get you very far if you don’t set up a schedule of learning activities and stick with it. By publishing an annual schedule, complete with the names of participants, you not only are less likely to let these opportunities fall through the cracks, you will demonstrate to your employees that you take continuing education and their professional growth seriously.
To learn more about how Gosiger can help you improve your company’s technical knowledge, contact your local Gosiger facility.