How technology could aid poultry processing worker training

Augmented and virtual reality could improve employee engagement and retention.

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Investing in new technologies such as augmented and virtual reality during training could improve worker engagement and retention at poultry processing facilities.

“There are a lot of issues in the poultry industry about worker shortages,” explained Jim Taylor, industry consultant, Rockwell Automation. “The younger employees like technology so take advantage of that.”

Combatting poultry processing’s labor shortage

The poultry industry is currently facing a labor shortage. Automation is frequently touted as a solution for labor shortages, but much of that technology is still in the design phase. In addition, even with automation, there will still be many tasks on the processing lines that still require a person.

“These work conditions can be pretty challenging,” Eric Bombere, senior solution consultant, Rockwell Automation, added. “If they can get training in a way that closely represents or even simulates what they’re going to be doing on the actual plant floor, they’re better prepared and they feel more confident.”

Adding technology to processing training programs

There are a couple of major do’s and don’t when it comes to implementing augmented and virtual reality, as other technologies to a training program in a poultry processing facility.

First, make sure that virtual and augmented reality works with the equipment in the facility. It is more challenging to use technology like this for older equipment, while augmented/virtual reality may already be integrated into training for new facilities.

Second, think about the employee. While younger employees may embrace technological training, others may not be computer-literate. Keep it simple so that everyone benefits.

“Don’t go it alone,” warned John Dart, industry consultant, Rockwell Automation. In other words, don’t hesitate to reach out to vendor partners for help in creating a training problem that harnesses the power of technology.

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