Ways to Retain Expertise

 With the transition well underway of Boomer retirements and Gen-Z now entering the workforce, how do manufacturers and producers retain the accumulated expertise built over decades?

In a Valve magazine article, Practical Steps for Retaining Expertise, Emerson’s John Molloy shares some ways to address this situation. John opens by noting that in addition to the demographic challenge, that:

…teams across those various industries are increasingly being tasked with balancing these expertise losses with shorter timeframes for projects and tighter resources.

He highlights how this can affect the bottom line:

Without trained engineers, overengineering is a potential problem, which means higher cost of design and the resulting drop in sales. At the same time, underengineering and purchase of lower-priced, lower-quality parts is also a potential problem that can raise the cost of maintenance and repair down the road, eventually serving as an even greater cost drain.

Four practical steps include:

  1. Online or app-based configuration and selection tools
  2. Online resource materials
  3. Outsource to a partner vendor
  4. Application support teams

Having ready access to configuration tools provide:

…an easy way to access in-depth product information. They can narrow down and help in selecting the best specifications for a specific product.

Calculation tools simplify sizing components and plant assets. For example, engineers:

…can fill in knowledge gaps by using tools that easily drag-and-drop into place edits of a product’s specifications or they can design circuits such as pneumatic circuits.

Web-based online resource materials assist in helping retain expertise and accelerate learning curves. Some examples include:

  • White papers or e-books on topics such as deep-dive expertise and insights
  • Frequently Asked Question pages that cover helpful answers to common engineering questions
  • Case studies that show real-world examples of problem-solving
  • Top tip articles like this one that have specific targeted information

Read the article for more as John highlights additional ways through training, expertise outsourcing, application support teams, and which approach may be best.

Visit the Services, Consulting & Training section on Emerson.com for ways that Emerson can assist you in ways to retain expertise built over many years. You can also find many of your peers to help in many of the groups in the Emerson Exchange 365 community.

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