Through Partnership with ToolingU-SME, ATS Provides Leading Online Technical Training Program
As senior-level technicians continue to enter retirement, robust technical training becomes all the more essential across the industry. Both manufacturers and maintenance providers must accelerate the transfer of knowledge and ensure their technicians can fully meet the new demands of Manufacturing 4.0.
Under a partnership with ToolingU-SME that started in 2015, Advanced Technology Services (ATS) is streamlining the future of technical training through the use of skills assessments, online courses and more.
According to Brian Hogan, the National Account Manager for ToolingU-SME, “ATS is not only in the top five users of our ToolingU courses, but we also believe their organization is training more maintenance technicians than any other entity in North America.”
In 2019 alone, ATS maintenance technicians received more than 58,000 hours of technical training. With approximately 1,785 technicians deployed across North American sites, these training programs will directly impact the improved performance of 80,000+ equipment assets ATS currently maintains across various customer sites.
For more than 80 years, ToolingU-SME has worked with manufacturers, educational institutions and maintenance providers to provide custom training content. Affiliated with the industry’s leading certification association SME, ToolingU enhances technical training while fully adhering to industry standards and regulations. With this partnership, ATS has developed a proprietary training program that leverages both the flexibility of online learning and the reliability of established skills assessments.
With different core competencies, ATS and ToolingU-SME have joined forces to improve both the quality and speed of technical training. Chris Hobbs, Program Manager of Technical Training at ATS, helped forge this partnership to better allocate the company’s time and resources. By deferring content creation to ToolingU-SME, ATS can develop custom training solutions while still focusing on its core competencies.
Improving the Quality and Validation of Technical Training
In 2019, ATS worked closely with ToolingU-SME to develop five customized skills assessments. As part of the new initiative, every newly hired technician must complete a 157-question assessment measuring his or her skills in different core areas. With the help of ToolingU-SME, these statistically validated assessments have established a more consistent methodology for determining skill levels and credentialing ATS technicians. These new assessments also offer the ability to identify niche specialties, as explained by Hobbs:
“Since many of our sites are specialized, we’ve added the ability to implement micro-credentialing. Even if your overall skills are more beginner-level and you’re a Tech Level 1, you could have some very specialized skills in an area like PLC or hydraulics. This greatly helps with career pathing and ongoing skills development. It also supports our subject matter expert network within our Reliability 360 remote monitoring and analytics technology center.”
The Reliability 360 team uses their subject matter expert network to further enhance site support with specialized skill sets. By identifying niche specialties earlier during the assessment phase, ATS reliability experts can quickly recruit the right talent for solving various challenges across customer sites.
Stepping into the Future of Digital Training, Together
With this partnership, ATS and ToolingU-SME will continue to collaborate and pioneer the next phase of advanced digital training. One key focus will be the implementation of augmented reality into virtual training programs. Hobbs believes that Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will change the future of digital training, saying:
“As part of our continuous improvement initiatives, we are planning to analyze the current data and meet with ToolingU to explain the different scenarios that result in the most commonly recurring failures on the factory floor. Then, we’ll work with them to create a virtual or augmented reality computer-based lesson that the technicians can easily complete online. With this new training module, the technicians will learn how to effectively complete a specific repair that would otherwise be very difficult to capture.”
Technical training is not only a priority at ATS, but a fundamental value. In this era of digital transformation, we will embrace new technology and opportunities to further enhance our programs and do our part to help support both manufacturers and our talented workforce through continuous improvement.
If you would like to discuss your operation’s technical training needs, contact an ATS representative today.