Looking to Technology for Strategic Workforce Allocation and Skill Development

Brand owners are searching for ways to digitalize training and use technology to complement human skills.

CPG executives are considering technologies like tablets, app-based solutions, and video to help train workers.
CPG executives are considering technologies like tablets, app-based solutions, and video to help train workers.
PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations

Addressing workforce challenges in an industry full of advanced machinery will require advanced technology to match, according to executives at the 2024 Top to Top Summit.

PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2024 “Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations” report shares insights from the Summit. Discussions underscored the importance of strategically allocating the available workforce and focusing on skill development to address current and future challenges.

This includes identifying key areas where technology can complement human skills and designing programs to upskill workers in those areas.

Video training, providing tablets that can move around the factory floor, embedding training materials in machine HMIs, and using apps for troubleshooting were all discussed, with one table proposing a video game to make training more engaging.

One challenge identified with training and guidance is that subject matter experts are often not the best people at putting together programs or presenting information. As one group explained, “We saw three different skill sets: the subject matter experts, the people or software that puts the program together, and the people who deliver that program and present it or teach it.”

Increasing use of digital and remote solutions

Participants were asked to vote on what they could implement in the short-term (e.g. this year) and on what they could implement in the longer-term to support workforce challenges.

In the short term, video came out very strongly as a tool that could improve access to training and development. In the long term, participants plan to investigate app-based solutions for troubleshooting and on-demand training, rely more on digital solutions and explore automating changeovers.

Maintenance contracts featured on both the short-term and long-term lists, indicating this is a key area for consideration by OEMs.

It was suggested a potential barrier to delivering training in the form of apps or videos on the shop floor could be poor digital connections, so connectivity is something companies may want to consider.

Regarding digital training materials, one participant noted there is no need to capture everything as it might well be that “20% of faults cause 80% of problems.” Complex or less common faults may require remote support instead. 

SOURCE: PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations

For more insights from PMMI’s Business Intelligence team, find reports, including “2024 Trends in Remote Services and Monitoring” and “2023 Packaging and Automation in the Warehouses of the Future” at pmmi.org/business-intelligence.

Download the FREE report below.