1. Pick the right topics. This sounds obvious, but did you really need to send 10 people last year to PLC training to get that volume discount while nobody took any classes on motors? You have how many PLC problems versus how many motor problems?
2. Think in terms of supporting revenue. If two of your eight product lines are responsible for 80 percent of your plant’s revenue, then gear the training toward the skills needed for those lines. If they are under DCS control and the other six lines (20 percent of revenue) are under PLC control, then PLC classes are not a bargain for your plant regardless of price until there’s no longer any DCS skill gap.
3. Rethink the topics regularly. What made sense last year might not make sense this year. Fighting the last war is never a good strategy. Look at your current training holes.
4. Pick the right people. You don’t get the best bang for your buck by sending your “best” people for training. Sure, they may absorb more material, but are they the ones who are going to use it? Send the people who most need the training for the work they are most typically assigned to do.
5. Use the training immediately. As soon as people come back from training, assign them work related to what they have learned. You may have other people more qualified for that work, but it’s the new trainees who need to have their training reinforced through relevant field experience. If you’re concerned a new trainee doesn’t yet have the chops to do the work, then pair that person with someone who does. But make it clear that the new trainee is in charge of the job and the other person is there only to observe and answer questions (otherwise, there’s little point in putting the trainee on that work). That other person may need to intervene, but only under exceptional circumstances.