How to fill the gaps in your team's skill set

March 17, 2020
Utilize technology to help better equip your team, capture knowledge before workers retire, and get more done in 2020.

James Mugavero is facilities maintenance manager for Jake's Finer Foods, and Paul Lachance is senior manufacturing advisor at Dude Solutions. During the live Q&A portion of the webinar, "The Workforce Gap Is Real: How Technology Is Your Safety Net," Mugavero and Lachance tackled several attendee questions on how software can maximize productivity and help users train, retain and gain talent.

PS: First question: “I've wanted a CMMS system for years, but my boss cannot get past the cost, usually saying it's just too expensive.” Do you have any advice for this questioner about building the business case? What arguments would resonate with the executive suite when it comes to CMMS implementation?

PL: The first and most important thing is it's not a question of cost. It's a question of return on that cost. It's a question of value.

Just imagine one of your critical assets goes down unexpectedly. Of course, it's going to happen right when you're on a big production run. You’ve got everyone, finance, production, sales, screaming at you. And it all comes down to poor maintenance. That cost to your organization could have been avoided.

Switch the conversation from how much this CMMS is going to cost to showing management why you have to have it. This is why the return on investment is so important.

JM: The cost is almost alleviated right out of the gate when you're able to put this data in and drive results like we had. The success has been so tremendous that the software pays for itself almost in the first month of every year we use it. It's predicting downtime, it's predicting what equipment is aged and due for replacement, and is demonstrating where our weak points are. It saves us so much money on the back-end that the cost is probably not enough.

PS: Next question: “Several members of my team are older, and they have been resistant to software in the past. I want the analytics, but I struggle with my team.” When it comes to managing these changes, what's the best place to start?

PL: One good thing about this question is that the person who's asking it recognizes that using a mobile device, for example, with their team is something that they know they need to do. For decades, even management had a hard time seeing the value. "Oh, my team's never going to be able to use mobile devices. They're going to sit there and surf the web all day." Now that we recognize how important a mobile device is for maintenance, it all comes down to the benefits.

With the ease of use of these systems nowadays, you can get your champions to master a few basic tasks. Right on the screen, you can see a list of your work orders. You can touch that work order, and you can check it off as closed. Anybody can do that. Hopefully they're doing more. Hopefully, they're putting notes in and they're filling out other fields. But in the beginning, you don't need to do that. Do the basics, and let them to see the value.

JM: I would challenge the team to list their issues with using the new software. Put it in their hands and let them walk around with it, work through it, and then write down the challenges that they're experiencing, if any. Then you can work on training through those challenges, and show them that there are answers to these issues. And it may not be as difficult as what they thought. It might open their minds.

PS: We do a workforce survey every 18 months, and we just finished our latest survey in September of last year. One of the most striking generational results was that 80% of our millennial respondents said that corporate culture was the biggest influence on whether they were going to stay at a job or leave.

Would both of you talk about setting the example of collaboration, of setting the example of starting small and moving forward? It seems that setting an example of openness and collaboration is key. It's not only to help other people who are less technology savvy onboard, but also to keep the people who will be doing the mentoring and teaching.

JM: Collaboration is critical, and that kind of thinking is the only way to be successful. Moving forward, you just have to be open. By writing down these issues, you really challenge yourself to think about whether this is a major issue to me. Or maybe, looking at it now on paper, I can find that answer myself.

PL: Earlier, we talked about the three keys: technical skills, digital skills, and soft skills. It's a much more esoteric topic, but it really reinforces what you're saying, Tom. If your organization is not addressing the cultural aspects of these different generations working together, and really understanding how a Millennial, a Gen Z, and a Baby Boomer think and operate, it becomes a lot more difficult for your technology and your digital skills to make up for it.

PS: Last question from attendees: “What's the best way to leverage knowledge from employees who are retiring sooner rather than later? Do you have any best practice ideas when it comes to documenting or capturing that historical knowledge from employees?”

PL: Follow them around with your smartphone, and when they go to do a standard PM task, capture a little video or take a couple of pictures. You don't have to hire a professional film crew to do this. Take the time to make sure you have basic instructions that go along with that video or photo. Come up with a nice balance of visual and written instructions to really reinforce the information for that new young person who's coming up to do it.

JM: After you're done capturing the information and producing what you think is an acceptable SOP, let them review it and say, "Oh, now that I'm watching this, I actually did something that you didn't capture here." Then go back and add that in or maybe take another snapshot of the process.

Watch the on-demand webinar to learn more

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