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How Today’s Technology Can Enhance Training

Technologies like augmented reality and AI can enhance training and simplify complex tasks to bridge the packaging skills gap.

Newer workers may resonate with video content for training, some industry executives suggest.
Newer workers may resonate with video content for training, some industry executives suggest.
PMMI Business Intelligence: 2024 Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations

Addressing workforce issues in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) space can be made much easier by training smarter, not harder, with the innovative technology available.

That’s according to industry executives at the 2024 Top to Top sessions, as reported in PMMI Business Intelligence’s 2024 report, “Transforming Packaging and Processing Operations.” Discussions emphasized the importance of using technology not only for operational efficiency, but as a strategic tool to complement and enhance the workforce, taking advantage of the people already in place.

The Importance of Technology and Training

Using technology in this way will require a focus on training. Companies will need to provide training to prepare their workers for new technology, and those companies should also use new technology to enhance training and guidance.

To improve hiring and retention, companies can turn to applications that resonate with a new workforce, such as YouTube and video training, some respondents suggested. 

Moving from traditional training to real-time guidance with digital tools, including AR and AI, helps to make workforces more adaptable and capable of handling complex tasks without extensive prior training. This approach can significantly improve operational efficiency and equipment maintenance by providing just-in-time information and support.

Business Intelligence researchers observed at the sessions a growing shift toward guidance and support rather than training, with operators increasingly becoming involved in maintenance via remote support.

A panelist used the example of employing AR for complex maintenance projects, saying, “Someone who has gone through deep training and done it many times can do a complex rebuild of something in four hours. You can take augmented reality and give it to somebody who has never done that rebuild, and they’ll do it in the same amount of time and actually more accurately because they have checklists. Rather than trying to go from memory, they go step by step.”

A CPG executive explained his company struggles with retention and high employee churn. As a result, the company has invested in RealWear smart glasses for the engineering teams in its bakeries. The glasses come with a noise cancelling headset and can be used to provide remote support and troubleshooting.

The executive added RealWear support can also be provided for PLC software changes, with software engineers accessing the network through a VPN to troubleshoot software problems, and to bring OEMs into team sessions to provide insights securely.

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

For more insights from PMMI’s Business Intelligence team, find reports, including “2023 Building an Effective Talent Strategy for the Packaging Industry” and “2024 Craft Beer and Spirits: Success Through Packaging” at pmmi.org/business-intelligence.

Download the FREE report below.

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