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6 Things Manufacturers Should Know About the Evolving Workforce

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Steve Shebuski, VP of Digital Strategy
Steve Shebuski, VP of Digital Strategy

Guiding businesses through their digital transformation journey

It's no surprise that the Boomer generation is reaching retirement age. For most manufactures, this means the retirement of the majority of their workforce and a new generation taking their place.

Microsoft's article 2019 Manufacturing Trends identifies some of the factors that will effect your manufacturing business and how to make sure you are using these changes to your competitive advantage. Here are the key point of the article:

1. The Millennial Manager

Today, Millennials are already in the middle of their careers and becoming managers. They are even taking on roles where they manage employees that are older than themselves.

What changes do these Millennial Managers bring to the table? The most common change is utilizing technology to promote communication and collaboration in the workplace.

Millennial's value ideas from all levels of employees and promote a work-life balance. As long as employees still get their work done, they typically allow employees to tend to personal matters when needed.

To discover the full potential of your Millennial Managers, set up programs and trainings to help guide them to use their entrepreneurial skills to better your company.

2. No-Collar Workforce

As the manufacturing industry continues to implement new technology and machines into their businesses, "no-collar" workers become more prominent. These employees that work with technology and robotics to provide faster and "smarter" production.

No-collar workers are using AI, robotics, automation, and other smart technology is reducing error and saving time. This allows workers to have more time to focus on tasks that require human interaction while machines quickly complete other tasks.

Products such as Dynamics 365 and the Supply Chain Cloud are also run by no-collar workers to providing more insights into their business. These solutions allow business leaders to make real-time decisions right when they need to.

3. Diversity and Inclusion

Investors, employees, and the public are all expecting businesses to be transparent and accountable when it comes to having a diverse and inclusive workplace. Both Gen Z and Millennials are looking at these factors when job searching more than any generation before them.

For businesses, diversity allows employees to relate more to the diverse group of customers they are serving. Microsoft also found research showing that companies with more diversity ranked above the national industry median for financial returns.

4. Staffing Challenges

Microsoft stated in their article that the demand for skilled "no-collar" workers in 2024 will be around 736,000 while supply sits at a low 438,000. As the Baby Boomers leave, positions could be left unfilled because of the shortage in talent.

Organizations are already starting to offer trainings such as 3D printing or digital manufacturing in order to bridge the skill gap. The main thing these trainings should focus on are math, problem-solving, basic technical training, and computer skills.

Manufacturers are also focusing more efforts on recruiting engineering and computer science students from universities. Many students are not familiar with the opportunities that a career in manufacturing has to offer.

5. The Decline of Offshoring

Many know that improved communication, easy travel, and lower costs led to offshoring. Now the same factors may be bringing manufacturing back.

You may have already noticed the decline in outsourced labor. More companies are finding that they can complete projects in house for low costs without compromising efficiency or accuracy.

As technology continues to advance, outsourced human labor is no longer necessary. You now have the ability to automate processes and use AI and robotics to complete tasks that would have originally taken long hours and had a higher risk for error.

6. Improved Employee Safety

Advancing technology is improving the safety of employees in the manufacturing industry. From AI & computer vision to IoT & facial recognition, the workplace is becoming safer then ever.

Computer vision allows managers to check that their employees are taking proper safety precautions and identifying areas where injury could happen using a system of cameras and machine learning. They can even flag the potential issues right from their devices to warn workers immediately of the danger.

Other companies are using monitors to make sure all people are following safety rules and machinery is working properly to avoid potential issues.

Transforming Your Manufacturing Business

With a new generation of workers comes some big changes to your business. Instead of shying away from them, embrace the opportunity to transform your work culture for the better.

Empower employees with the proper tools, technology and training to be successful. If you want to know more about systems and strategies that will transform your manufacturing business, please reach out to us.

Have Questions? We are here to help.

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