Over the last 18 months, the NEW Manufacturing Alliance (NEWMA) (www.newmfgalliance.org) 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 currently being done.
NEWMA worked with St. Norbert College in designing an Industry 4.0 study that over 100 manufacturers completed 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 the membership needed more education related to Industry 4.0 technologies and implementation of these tools into their facility. A taskforce of over 80 members, mostly manufacturers meet monthly for shared learning in areas like cobots, AR, IoT, additive printing and cybersecurity.
There are two additional initiatives that the taskforce launched. First, there is a Paint Cohort subcommittee that includes eight companies working on a joint data analytics project specific to climate controls in the paint process. One of the benefits of working on this project jointly is to decrease the cost of the project and increasing the ROI by shared learning.
The St. Norbert study found that most manufacturers believe that data analytics will be critically important for their company to use within many different divisions of the organization from engineering to supply chain. The need to upskill their employees in data analytics was the springboard to a new Data Analytics training program utilizing LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft. The training program is in a cohort model with 13 different manufacturing companies having 20 of their employees enrolled from September 14 – November 16, 2020. The 8 week program includes:
LinkedIn Learning: Become a Data Analyst (Approximately 24 hours of training)
- Learning Data Analytics
- Data Fluency: Exploring and Describing Data
- Excel Statistics Essential Training: 1
- Learning Excel: Data Analysis
- Learning Data Visualization
- Power BI Essential Training
- Tableau Essential Training
There are weekly one hour calls with the cohort to discuss the previous week’s training and how to utilize it in one’s business. After the completion of the 7 training models, employees have the option of enrolling in a Microsoft certified course. Students are asked to complete the certification in one month on their own. The conclusion of the training program is a final meeting with the students presenting a capstone project from what was learned in the program. Participants will receive certificates for training and a badge on LinkedIn.
NEWMA believes that the training and monthly educational meetings will impact how Industry 4.0 is being adapted into Alliance members companies.