It's no secret that many industries are facing a talent shortage. In the manufacturing sector alone, more than 500,000 manufacturing jobs currently remain vacant in the United States.
In Connecticut, vacancies number more than 13,000, according to the 2017 Survey of Connecticut Manufacturing Workforce Needs.
According to a recent study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, U.S. manufacturers are forecasting the addition of 4.6 million jobs over the next ten years, half of which may go unfilled.
To make matters worse, a Society for Human Resource Management report indicates nearly 27% of manufacturing workers will retire over the next ten years, along with their specialized skills and institutional knowledge.
So what's a manufacturing business owner to do?
Investing in technology and automation is one solution.
Benefits of Automation
Automating some of the most repetitive tasks in your operations or production process allows you to reallocate employees to other areas of your business where their skills could be applied.
Robotics and automation can also help you land talent, making a manufacturing career cool enough for young people entering the workforce who may not have considered industrial manufacturing a desirable career path.
Solutions based on robotics, sensors, and automation are widely available and becoming increasingly affordable.
In addition, business owners nearing retirement or simply looking to exit their companies in the next few years will discover that many prospective buyers seriously consider what investments have or have not been made in technology and automation.
Fortunately, solutions based on robotics, sensors, and automation are widely available and becoming increasingly affordable.
And more and more integrators with expertise are available to help you determine where you have opportunities within your production process and how long it will take to see a return on your investment.
Technology facilitates innovation, which drives business growth, and it can lead to better efficiency and a competitive advantage.
Cross-Training: A Powerful Win-Win
Another strategy for addressing the skilled labor shortage is developing a flexible, cross-trained workforce.
Cross-training has many benefits—for your company and your employees.
For starters, it's an excellent way to expand workers' capabilities and give them a more comprehensive view of your business.
As a result, your company becomes more productive, and you're able to staff it more strategically.
Given the ever-growing number of older workers departing the workforce, now is the time to consider cross-training.
It gives you an opportunity to pair up the next generation of employees with those experienced baby boomers who will be retiring in the next few years.
Cross-training also helps team members deal with fluctuations in demand and makes them better able to react to and handle workloads on days when colleagues are absent.
If your business relies on temps or faces seasonal peaks and valleys that have you hiring and then cutting workers when demand slows, cross-training can provide a smoother, more efficient solution.
This approach can be extremely powerful when paired with a team-based culture and process improvement initiatives.
It often eliminates the need to add staff to production and provides a strong sense of pride in a team's ability to improve organizational metrics.
Cross-training is a win-win that can improve your business and drive employee engagement.
To learn more about automation and cross-training for your business, contact CONNSTEP at 860.529.5120.