Deloitte and the World Economic Forum predict that the manufacturing industry can expect a shortage of 10 million workers by 2050. The reason for this is a combination of a slowly aging workforce and fewer students enrolling in vocational programs. The average age of a skilled manufacturer worker is 56; as employees leave the manufacturing workforce, their expert knowledge is going to leave with them.
Manufacturers are experimenting with newer, more efficient ways to fill this skills gap by leveraging the power of technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).
Knowledge transfer has traditionally been done with expensive training programs that require extensive amounts of time and resources. Experts have to spend a lot of time out their usual jobs to train new employees using PowerPoint presentations, lectures, eBooks, and video presentations.
Unfortunately, a lifetime of hands-on experience cannot be passed down using these methods. Real-world demonstrations are the only way that new manufacturing recruits can grasp the intricacies of machine maintenance, decision-making, and operation. Fortunately, the younger workforce is digitally savvy and ready to embrace up-to-date technology at work, making it natural to consider AR for the process of knowledge transfer.
AR will allow veteran manufacturing professionals to remotely train recruits in real-time. They will be able to annotate parts and systems for new recruits, providing comprehensive lessons. Additionally, experienced professionals will be able to conduct complex routine procedures and capture the process on film. This film can then be annotated with images and text to create an immersive training experience. This type of training is safer, faster, and more effective.
Using AR, expert trainers can conduct training while based remotely. Removing the geographical barrier to knowledge exchange allows, say, a retiring professional living in the Bahamas to show a new employee in Boston how to check and adjust a manufacturing component’s lubrication levels. AR is enabling experts to share their knowledge to employees at many different manufacturing plants at the same time from anywhere in the world, leading the way to towards a centralized expert model.
At a time when many manufactures find themselves facing a crippling skills shortage, AR is revolutionizing the knowledge transfer process. Not only does AR help businesses capture expert knowledge before experienced workers retire, it also means that manufacturers have the opportunity to attract younger, digitally savvy employees and train them more quickly and effectively, helping close the skills gap.
Find out how you can prepare your young, talented workforce for the future of manufacturing with PTC's AR eBook.