The world of work is changing rapidly. As manufacturers upgrade to more intelligent machines that can produce goods faster and more cheaply, they’re faced with a people problem. Human workers still needed to operate the machines and optimize the line. Unfortunately, their skills are not keeping pace with the technology that powers the advanced machines. In many ways, worker skills are “expiring” at a pace we haven’t seen in recent history.
According to one analysis, evolving technology combined with the exit of retiring workers means that by 2028, U.S. manufacturers will be faced with a 2.4 million worker shortage due to the skills gap.
Let’s take a look at some of the strategies a manufacturer might deploy to minimize the impact of the workforce skills gap.
Shifting the hiring mindset
If your manufacturing facility is in an area where skilled workers with relevant experience are in short supply due to the nature of your location — let’s say it’s in a rural area with few similar facilities — it creates an ongoing challenge. If your team has baby boomer employees who are nearing retirement, this can create something of a crisis. That’s where you have to get strategic and future-focused with your workforce. Instead of following the traditional recruit, evaluate and hire route, look at your workforce as a resource that is developed and trained in-house. Here’s what that might look like.
Rethink the job description
Rather than looking for a true fit with skills and work history, hire based on other qualities, like values, work ethic and interest in developing specific skills.
Start an employee development program
This program can be for new high-potential hires along with current employees who want to grow within the organization. Pair these workers with skilled employees for ongoing training and mentorship. But be mindful: These types of programs require planning and oversight. Otherwise, you run the risk of cultivating resentment and burnout within your skilled employees. Being intentional, having a plan, and keeping employees from being overworked will be key.
Build industry-education alliances
Part of the solution can start with school — your future workforce. As an industry, connecting with educators and instructors in your community can help you make inroads on the skills deficit. You can do this through initiatives that have already been created by business groups and educational facilities. (Or, start an industry-education alliance from the ground up.) Doing so can help instructors and teachers update and optimize their curriculum, add training opportunities and build the skills that will get students in better alignment with the needs of the 21st century workforce. Read more about the power of these collaborations here.
Rethink the manufacturing line
Perhaps updating secondary packaging equipment is part of your overall strategy in streamlining production. Have you considered how the selection of the equipment itself can have an impact on addressing the workforce skills gap? In addition to speed, innovation and quality, here are some other key aspects of the design to consider so you can bridge, rather than increase, the workforce gap.
A unified HMI concept across the entire line. When different machines have controls that are similar to each other, responding in ways that are easy to predict, it streamlines the training process.
Access to diagnosis and recovery tools, so the operator can easily identify the cause of the fault and fix it quickly.
Automation of key features to reduce hands-on time as well as faults.
A data collection system that helps production managers analyze the events of the production cycle, so they can pass along detailed, useful feedback to the machine operators, with directions that will bring better results.
Ready to optimize your production line with secondary packaging machines that support your team’s ability to keep things running? Get in touch with a Douglas team member now to learn more about how our line of innovative secondary packaging solutions can be completely customized to your unique needs.
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. These cookies ensure basic functionalities and security features of the website, anonymously.
This cookie, set by Cloudflare, is used to support Cloudflare Bot Management.
HubSpot sets this cookie to keep track of sessions and to determine if HubSpot should increment the session number and timestamps in the __hstc cookie.
This cookie is set by Hubspot whenever it changes the session cookie. The __hssrc cookie set to 1 indicates that the user has restarted the browser, and if the cookie does not exist, it is assumed to be a new session.
Google Recaptcha service sets this cookie to identify bots to protect the website against malicious spam attacks.
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Analytics".
The cookie is set by GDPR cookie consent to record the user consent for the cookies in the category "Functional".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Other.
Set by the GDPR Cookie Consent plugin, this cookie records the user consent for the cookies in the "Advertisement" category.
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookies is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Necessary".
This cookie is set by GDPR Cookie Consent plugin. The cookie is used to store the user consent for the cookies in the category "Performance".
CookieYes sets this cookie to record the default button state of the corresponding category and the status of CCPA. It works only in coordination with the primary cookie.
The website's WordPress theme uses this cookie. It allows the website owner to implement or change the website's content in real-time.
New Relic uses this cookie to store a session identifier so that New Relic can monitor session counts for an application.
Analytical cookies are used to understand how visitors interact with the website. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc.
Hubspot set this main cookie for tracking visitors. It contains the domain, initial timestamp (first visit), last timestamp (last visit), current timestamp (this visit), and session number (increments for each subsequent session).
Facebook sets this cookie to display advertisements when either on Facebook or on a digital platform powered by Facebook advertising after visiting the website.
1 year 1 month 4 days
Google Analytics sets this cookie to calculate visitor, session and campaign data and track site usage for the site's analytics report. The cookie stores information anonymously and assigns a randomly generated number to recognise unique visitors.
1 year 1 month 4 days
Google Analytics sets this cookie to store and count page views.
Google Analytics sets this cookie for user behaviour tracking.
Google Tag Manager sets the cookie to experiment advertisement efficiency of websites using their services.
Google sets this cookie to allow the use of Google Analytics service for anonymous visitor tracking on the website. Google Analytics is used to compile reports and improve the site.
Google Analytics sets this cookie to store information on how visitors use a website while also creating an analytics report of the website's performance. Some of the collected data includes the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously.
Linkedin set this cookie to store information about the time a sync took place with the lms_analytics cookie.
1 year 1 month 4 days
BrightEdge sets this cookie to enable data aggregation, analysis and report creation to assess marketing effectiveness and provide solutions for SEO, SEM and website performance.
This cookie is set by the Provider CallRail. This cookie is used for storing an unique identifier for a user browser session. It is used for tracking the number of phone calls generate from the website.
YouTube sets this cookie via embedded YouTube videos and registers anonymous statistical data.
HubSpot sets this cookie to keep track of the visitors to the website. This cookie is passed to HubSpot on form submission and used when deduplicating contacts.
An Adobe Analytics cookie that uses a unique visitor ID time/date stamp to identify a unique vistor to the website.