Reducing Labor Costs in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing With VR Training
Insights – Cost

In our previous article “Why Poor Training Increases Labor Cost”, we discussed why organizations that cut corners on training not only risk higher indirect costs from unattractive employment practices and increased turnover but also face direct financial penalties through slowed production, increased errors, and heightened administrative burdens. This article explores how our Virtual Reality (VR) Cleanroom Simulator Training can effectively address and enhance these labor cost challenges.

Reduced Indirect Costs

Inefficient training practices can lead to indirect costs, which are often not directly visible as consequences and remain hidden on various financial statements. These indirect costs typically include excessive administrative work, increased HR activities due to high turnover, and escalated recruitment efforts. Our VR training system reduces these costs by improving training quality with far-reaching impacts.

Increased Job Satisfaction

Job dissatisfaction, often stemming from poor training, can lead to high turnover rates, which in turn significantly increase labor costs. When employees are inadequately trained, their job satisfaction plummets, making them more likely to leave their positions or dramatically decrease their productivity. Our simulator addresses this issue by providing a comprehensive and engaging training experience, ensuring that employees feel confident and supported in their roles. This enhanced satisfaction reduces turnover rates and the associated costs of hiring and training new staff, as well as improving overall productivity.

Fewer HR Administration Work

Terminations and new hires not only increase recruitment costs but also trigger wider HR administration costs as each departure and onboarding triggers a cascade of activities. Consider all the necessary paperwork that needs to be created, updated, and signed; all the policies that need to be shared; and all the informal onboarding that happens to get a new hire up to speed on the administrative front. Now also include the necessary work done in other departments like IT with role and permissions on- and off-boarding, or the department and team directly affected by the change. This could all be prevented by retaining employees, all it takes for this is a higher job satisfaction rate.

Less Recruiting Effort

Lower staff turnover rates also reduce the amount of recruitment needed. However, when hiring, modern candidates, especially the younger workforce, evaluate potential employers based on the quality of training provided. High-quality, innovative training programs make a company more attractive to top talent. This affects the branding efforts, positioning a company as an innovative employer. When properly included in the recruiting process, a Virtual Reality Simulator can also be used for assessing potential candidates, as well as introducing them to their future work environment. This offers both sides—the employer and the employee—the opportunity to check the “job fit” of the candidate, reducing the costs of initial training and increasing job satisfaction. This way, companies can reduce the lengthy and costly process of attracting and hiring the right candidates, thereby lowering overall recruitment costs.

Decreased QA Administration

We have previously mentioned that poorly trained and unsatisfied employees also drastically decrease productivity. Poor training often leads to errors and deviations in cleanroom operations, necessitating extensive QA interventions to identify and rectify issues. Better training with our VR Cleanroom Simulator could minimize these costly QA activities by allowing trainees to practice and perfect their skills in a risk-free virtual environment and making them more aware of the consequences of their actions, turning them into risk-owners. This proactive approach significantly reduces the need for exhaustive QA investigations, which are both time-consuming and costly. As trainees make mistakes in a virtual setting rather than in real production, the system effectively decreases the potential for expensive production errors and ensures compliance with regulatory standards, thus lowering QA administration costs.

Reduced Direct Costs

While indirect costs are often difficult to determine and to clearly delineate, direct costs are obvious and directly related to training. These can be differentiated between costs for the training itself, such as time, materials, and personnel, but also the costs that poor training of personnel has on production. Our simulator particularly shows its strengths well in this category.

Shorter Training Time

Traditional training approaches can be quite time-consuming, often requiring extensive periods to effectively cover all necessary material. This inefficiency not only slows down the process but also delays productivity as new employees take longer to reach competency. However, numerous scientific studies have demonstrated the superiority of VR training in terms of effectiveness and efficiency (read more in our article “A Review of the Effectiveness of VR Training in Scientific Meta-Studies”). Trainees can engage with complex scenarios repeatedly without the constraints of a physical environment, allowing for quicker mastery of skills. This significant reduction in training time enables new staff to become productive more rapidly, significantly decreasing the costs associated with extended training periods.

Less Training Material, Less Waste

Conventional training in cleanroom environments often involves substantial material costs, from consumables used in practical sessions to the expenses of setting up and maintaining physical training facilities and mock-ups. Especially the latter is an obvious and substantial cost factor, sometimes amounting to millions if an isolator or even a full cleanroom environment is constructed as a mock-up for training. Our VR Cleanroom Simulator eliminates the need for most of these materials by shifting the training to a virtual platform. Not only does this reduce the cost of single-use training materials, which can be prohibitively expensive, but it also minimizes waste.

Reduced Training Staff Costs

Utilizing skilled operators as trainers in traditional settings can be costly, as it diverts essential personnel from their primary production roles. This not only impacts operational efficiency but also inflates labor costs, as these valuable resources are tied up in training rather than contributing to production. The Innerspace VR Cleanroom Simulator changes this dynamic by allowing for a scalable training model that does not require constant involvement from top-tier staff. The training is set up with a virtual trainer who delivers consistent, high-quality instructions and explanations, guiding the trainee through the training modules. This means that the highly-skilled and higher-paid senior trainer can be replaced by a lower-skilled and lower-paid VR instructor who welcomes the trainee in the training room, instructs them on how to use the VR headset, and starts the training and digital documentation. Our solution thus reduces training staff costs and allows skilled workers to focus on their critical production tasks.

Increased Productivity, Reduced Mistakes

As we have already highlighted when discussing QA administrative work, inadequate training often results in behavioral mistakes and non-compliance with protocols, which can severely affect production quality and output. Mistakes made by inadequately trained employees lead to product defects, rework, or even disposal of compromised batches, all of which contribute to increased production costs. Furthermore, these issues can delay production schedules and impact the company’s ability to meet delivery deadlines. An impactful training program that not only qualifies employees once but also allows for continuous improvement and assessment with frequent re-training helps to identify individual weaknesses and address them. While objective measurement and assessment are nearly impossible with traditional training, this is a discipline where the VR Cleanroom Simulator excels. This advanced training method ensures higher accuracy and compliance in actual production settings, thus enhancing overall productivity and reducing costs related to errors and delays.

Conclusion: VR Training Reduces Labor Costs

Our previous discussions highlighted how inadequate training can significantly increase both direct and indirect labor costs due to higher turnover rates and slower production. Our Virtual Reality (VR) Cleanroom Simulator Training directly addresses these issues by significantly enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of training processes. This not only reduces training time and material costs but also improves job satisfaction and compliance with operational protocols. By minimizing costly errors and non-compliance, our VR training system transforms the training landscape, effectively reducing labor costs and enhancing workforce productivity.

The Innerspace VR Cleanroom Simulator Training…

  • decreases staff turnover through better training and job readiness, reducing HR and administration cost

  • improves recruiting and job-fit of new hires

  • reduces training cost with shorter training time, lower material and personnel cost

  • increases productivity by reducing behavioral mistakes through re-training and assessment

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