Over the past two years, the NEW Manufacturing Alliance has been actively studying Industry 4.0 and educating its members on the topic. A Microsoft grant awarded to the organization was the catalyst to the work that is being done. One of the key findings from the grant project was the need for upskilling of manufacturing employees in data analytics skills, regardless of their role or department in a company.
NEWMA worked with St. Norbert College to design an Industry 4.0 study, with 104 manufacturers completing the survey in spring of 2019. The 2019 Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance’s Needs, Skills & Talent study found that only 7 percent of participants had a complete Industry 4.0 plan.
Clearly, member companies needed more education related to Industry 4.0 technologies and implementation of these tools into their facilities. A task force of more than 80 members, mostly manufacturers, was formed and meets monthly for shared learning in areas such as cobots, augmented reality, Internet of Things, additive manufacturing and cybersecurity.
The St. Norbert NEWMA Industry 4.0 study also found that most manufacturers believe that data analytics will be vital for their company to use within many divisions of the organization from engineering to supply chain.
The need to upskill employees in data analytics was the springboard to a the NEWMA Data Analytics training program using LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft. The pilot held in fall 2020 drew a cohort of 18 individuals from 13 manufacturing companies. The training is complimentary for NEWMA members. The eight-week program includes 24 hours of training in seven key areas.
The results of the pilot were impressive. In a post training survey, 100 percent of the participants said they would recommend the training to a co-worker. Due to the success of the program, NEWMA is now offering another cohort that will run from Jan. 19 to March 24. The organization plans on offering additional sections of the training at no cost to its membership in April and September.
For more information about NEWMA, visit newmfgalliance.org.