manufacturing jobs

The Future of the Manufacturing Workforce

State of the Workforce

A never-ending conversation in the manufacturing world over the past few years has been the demand for quality employees in the rapidly changing world of the fourth industrial revolution. Almost every single manufacturer in various specialties is starving for employees, but can’t seem to fill the positions. 

In fact, in a study performed by Deloitte in 2018, they predict that our industry is facing a potential shortage of 2.4 million workers in the next decade. 

But why is this? It’s not as if the US population is declining (or plans to decline) anytime soon. 

The Forecast

The Deloitte report points to three different reasons behind why they believe this trend will occur in the next decade:

  1. Shifting skill sets due to new technology
  2. Misperceptions of manufacturing jobs
  3. Retirement of baby boomers

While these three reasons do pose a threat to the current status quo, there are ways for us manufacturers to address all three with just a little bit of brainstorming and collaboration.

Shifting Skill Sets Due to New Technology

As we continue to research and evolve, new technology and machinery will continue to make its way onto the shop floor. This means that our team will be left with less repetitive jobs, and more positions that require problem solving, collaboration, and innovation. 

But this shift cannot happen overnight. In order to stay loyal to our teams who have stayed loyal to us, it is our job to find pathways to efficiency that include their abilities and currently underutilized skill sets. 

Instead of seeing new technology as “replacements,” view this tech as “enhancements” to your workforce. Identify team members that show an interest in the new technology and how it can improve their position. 

You will find yourself being able to realign your team to sit in the right seats, instead of just throwing in the towel and feeling like you have to start from scratch with a new row of candidates.

Misperceptions of Manufacturing Jobs

As manufacturing leadership, this is an area we have complete control over the narrative we choose to tell. We need to be out in our communities, in our schools, and in our government sharing that manufacturing is no longer the position of the 1900’s. 

Through teamwork, innovation, and encouragement, a position in manufacturing is a place to grow. And, it is a place to stretch your knowledge and influence our world for a better tomorrow.

If you don’t currently have a dedicated partner to help you share your story, find a local marketing or PR firm to help you spread the word about the real opportunities with your company.

Attend the local high school’s career fairs – take a few team members from the floor and have them share their real experiences about why they chose you.

Get involved in the local technical school. Sit on their boards, volunteer in their classrooms, hire their students as interns for the summer, and ask what they need to better prepare your employees of tomorrow. 

Volunteer in your community through various nonprofits and government entities. Share with your community the opportunities, jobs, and livelihoods that your organization’s presence provide to the area. 

It won’t be easy, but you will need to start somewhere. Sit down with your leadership and determine where the highest priorities lie – and just start there. Create a detailed plan with numerical measurables and a realistic timelines. 

Retirement of Baby Boomers

Now, this is one we can’t really directly influence. Unfortunately, our legacy employees will eventually have to leave us. But, if we are adamant in our influence of the first two trends, this will not be a hindrance in the productivity and ability of our facilities.

We’re Ready…Are You?

We encourage you to start planning today for the manufacturing world of tomorrow. And this isn’t something we’re just preaching about – we are actively living it! One way we have found to help change perceptions about a career in manufacturing is by participating in National Manufacturing Day every October by inviting middle schoolers to the shop to see the possibilities for themselves. 

Curious about how else Pentaflex is preparing for continued shifts in our industry for our customers and our team? 

Give us a call at 937-325-5551 or email us at sales@pentaflex.com to talk more.

 

Sources

https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/CES3000000001

https://www.softwareadvice.com/resources/manufacturers-skills-in-demand/

https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/manufacturing/manufacturing-skills-gap-study.html

https://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=kf7tgg1uo9ude_&met_y=population&idim=country:US&hl=en&dl=en

the fourth industrial revolution cover image

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

At Pentaflex, we consider it a top priority to be at the forefront of all industry shifts for the sake of our clients, our team, our community, and our industry. In this post, we will explain Industry 4.0, the influence on manufacturing, and what you can do to stay at the top of your game.

A Little History Lesson

Industry 4.0 is the Fourth (but not the last) Industrial Revolution. The first revolution was the introduction of steam and water into the manufacturing world. Next came electricity and assembly lines. These first two industrial revolutions did in fact change history as we know it. But both of these revolutions also took a considerable amount of time for everyone to grasp and implement fully into their processes. That is why you will see almost one hundred years between the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd revolutions.

Industry timeline

We saw Industry 3.0 hit center stage at the tail end of the 60’s. This is where computers start to impact machinery and processes in everyday manufacturing. Manufacturers saw the benefit and continued to improve the software. This resulted in speeding up assemblies, cutting back on overall costs, and creating a safer working environment for manufacturing teams.

One of the biggest positive consequences of the third revolution was speed. Everything could be done faster. This also meant we found problems faster, fixed them faster, and improved them faster. Because of this, we saw the fourth revolution hit almost half as fast as its predecessors.  

What is Industry 4.0?

As we move into 2019, we are now rapidly seeing the full adaptation of Industry 4.0 – only 50 years after the third industrial revolution. Essentially, this revolution is the more advanced & sophisticated version of 3.0. This revolution we are seeing computers have the ability to receive more data, interpret said data, implement their findings into their current processes, and then share that data with other computers. Regular terms for this time include cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, and cognitive computing1. We will discuss all these topics and more in later blog posts.

The modern world originally coined the term “Industry 4.0” back in 2015, but has been in regular use since early 2018. This is by far the most exciting adaptation to manufacturing for companies and consumers alike – and is also the fastest.

How ‘Smart’ Are You?

In the coming months and years, we will gradually see the demand for ‘smart’ facilities increase. Supply chains will continually search for the most advanced and fullproof systems.

What will really set apart manufacturing teams will be the ones that have learned to harvest the data, interpret, and improve their processes for the betterment of their teams, their customers, and the end-users.

What Can You Do?

The first step we recommend is learning more about Industry 4.0 and how it will directly influence your industry. Learn which components the team is already modifying in your processes and which ones are being overlooked. By staying up to date on where your industry is at, you ensure that you are always at the top of the conversation and ready to contribute to the next big shift.

We have linked a few sources at the bottom of this blog post to continue your education.

The second step is to ask the leadership in your company how they are embracing this new shift in manufacturing. How is the team preparing to update systems, streamline processes, and keep customers in the loop about these progressive changes?

Be sure to ask more than once as plans and processes will continually improve as the technology does. Ask if there are ways for you to get involved and to help further the implementations along.

The third step is to contact your current manufacturers in your supply chain. Ask them what they are doing to embrace the fourth Industrial Revolution. Every organization should be able to give you a straightforward, honest and excited answer.

Have You Called Pentaflex?

Our team is ready and excited to discuss these changes to our industry for our customers and our team. Give us a call at 937-325-5551, fill out our short contact form, or email us at sales@pentaflex.com to hear how we are staying at the cutting edge for you.

 

Sources

1http://info.microsoft.com/rs/157-GQE-382/images/EN-US-CNTNT-Report-2019-Manufacturing-Trends.pdf

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/is-your-business-model-fit-for-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/

https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/insights/2018/feb/agriculture-4-0–the-future-of-farming-technology.html

Making Manufacturing Day Count

While the entire month of October is designated as Manufacturing Month, each year there is one day set aside to focus on this sector. On Friday, October 6th, Pentaflex celebrated Manufacturing Day by hosting 180 middle and high school students.

STEM students in shop tour

Students learn about manufacturing processes

The children came from our local Career Technology Center and our new STEM school, so they already had a good grasp on technical concepts and the manufacturing sector overall. We invited them to tour our facility, walking them through each stage of the business, from assembly to delivery.

While these students are fortunate to have access to a STEM-focused curriculum, being able to see how things work up close offers a whole new perspective. More than ever, as we face a shortage of skilled workers who are interested in pursuing industrial careers, it’s important that we expose children to hands-on careers.

This introduction to the shop floor shows students the many opportunities open to them within the manufacturing sector. There are so many high-tech options available now thanks to advancements in AI and robotics, making it an exciting time to join this growing field.

As a metal stamper for complex components, we understand the value that manufacturing brings to the United States economy. Through our Manufacturing Day activities and other community efforts, we aim to share this knowledge with the general public whenever possible. We are pleased to work with local schools to boost manufacturing exposure and inform young people about the many exciting career options available to them once they graduate.

Encouraging Women in STEM Through Manufacturing Internships

In recent years, there has been an overall decline in the number of people entering manufacturing, although there is an increase in manufacturing jobs.

With a decline in skilled workers entering the market, companies are having to find ways to attract good talent. One way Pentaflex is doing this is by hiring and training interns. Not only can students get valuable experience working on the job, they can also get a better understanding of the many opportunities available to them.

Female Manufacturing Intern

Intern Claire Lavoie standing with Director of Quality Jim Zerkle

This summer, we worked with Claire Lavoie, an intern from Ohio State University. After completing her freshman year she joined us to experience all aspects of the shop floor.

Claire worked in our Stamping Department, the Assembly Department, and in Quality Control. Near the end of her time with us, she was assigned several projects to work on which involved data gathering and analysis. Claire led a team through a problem solving exercise which resulted in her assisting in the design of a gauge to be used in the Stamping Department. This new gauge will ensure better quality for parts used in an automated assembly process.

Apprenticeships are the perfect way for companies to find quality workers and to increase gender diversity in the workforce by reaching out to women. Historically, manufacturing has been a male-dominated industry, but with more women entering the STEM fields, companies may have a better time closing the skills gap.

Attracting younger people is key to manufacturing. Getting the word out that manufacturing is no longer what it used to be means letting young adults explore the many career paths manufacturing offers.

To learn more about our career openings and hiring efforts, please call us at 937-325-5551. We look forward to hearing from you!

A Big Thank You To Our Pentaflex Interns

manufacturing internsUnfortunately, it is true. All good things must come to an end. It seems like just yesterday that Carissa Myers and Joseph Lacey started with Pentaflex as part of our 2015 summer internship program. We cannot thank them enough for being a part of our team for the summer and the fine job they did as interns.

Pentaflex, in conjunction with the Greater Springfield Career ConnectED was able to provide Carissa and Joseph with an opportunity to experience working in manufacturing.

Three days a week they worked with our Manufacturing Engineer on important programs such as 6s lean strategy, flowcharts during setup activities, time studies and preventive maintenance programs. These are important programs that every manufacturer deals with, but can be very time-consuming.

That is why it was so great to have Carissa and Joseph lend their eyes and ears to gathering data and analyzing it into a useful tool that we can use to improve our processes at Pentaflex. We are very proud of the work they have done and are happy to have provided them with real life experience before heading to their higher education of choice.

Carissa will be heading to Wright State and Joseph will be attending Bowling Green State University this fall. Pentaflex is grateful for their fine work and wish them both much success in their future endeavors.