For maintenance, mechanic, and service technicians, it is very common to receive on the job training from apprenticeships or informally from an experienced team member. Even students coming out of vocational programs who have practical, hand-on expertise lack the intrinsic knowledge gained from years of experience.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Job Outlook report forecasts growing demand for these skilled workers through 2024*, so the importance of experienced trainers is at an all-time high. Contributing to this issue is the impact of the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age and leaving the workforce and taking decades worth of inherent knowledge with them.

Employers must protect their investments in training and apprenticeships and leverage the knowledge of experienced employees to enhance the team for years to come. On the surface, knowledge transfer and IoT may not go hand in hand, but a properly executed IoT initiative can accomplish just that. IoT apps that feature predictive analytics and adaptive diagnostic functionality leverage real-time device conditions and historical data to determine the root cause of an issue – which is the same process an experienced technician goes through when diagnosing a mechanical failure. Feeding the experienced technician’s diagnosis into an electronic service manual’s knowledge base increases the accuracy of the probable cause predictors and resolution recommendations for future diagnoses. Recording and documenting the physical steps required in the repair process creates an interactive guide that other technicians across the organization can leverage when repairing a similar issue. This data enabled approach captures the knowledge and capability of experienced technicians and allows junior technicians to function at a higher-level long after the experienced team members have departed.

While IoT benefits the maintenance functions of your organization, don’t overlook the peripheral impact. Faster and more accurate mean times to repair (MTTR) leads to more revenue opportunities or reduced warranty costs/rework. Steady, high margin work allows you to offer competitive pay and benefits yielding lower turnover, higher employee loyalty, and reduced recruiting costs.

* General Maintenance and Repair Workers, Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Diesel Service Technicians