Did the COVID pandemic permanently change manufacturing? What would it mean to return to normal? And what of the talent shortage, a problem years in the making? Here are four trends in manufacturing that are shaping the way we do business in 2022.
- Workforce Development and Upskilling
The manufacturing skills gap in the U.S. could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030 (Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute). As older workers begin retiring, the more traditional, apprenticeship training model may not be up to task to facilitate the types of changes needed. Manufacturers will have to employ more efficient methods such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed-Model Assembly to drive results.
To become more resilient in 2022 many manufacturers are expanding their operations to include additional production lines. In mixed-model assembly, employees don’t stick with a single process, but instead learn multiple processes so that they can help build a variety of products. This flexibility enables manufacturers to diversify operations and supplement production based on staffing conditions and market demands. Mixed-model assembly can help manufacturers achieve greater product diversity, shorter lead-times, and significant cost reduction. Considering recent supply chain disruptions, mixed-model assembly enables less dependency on a single production mode.
It’s crucial to develop a business culture that encourages employees to develop a wide range of critical skills that will benefit both their own careers and the business for the long term. This amount of training can be a daunting task. Paycor’s Learning Management tool can be an invaluable asset to help you develop, manage and track the progress of your training programs.
- Recruiting focus on STEM Skills
As emerging technology makes old tasks and jobs obsolete, the new ones will require a whole new set of technical skills. That means the future of the manufacturing industry and the success of your business will depend on recruiting the next generation of engineers and technology specialists. This year, it’s imperative to develop and optimize your recruitment strategy within the STEM fields. As the COVID pandemic has forced most schools to move to online classes, you will need to connect with students virtually. It is important to start developing your company’s online presence through your website and social media accounts. You may also need to find new ways to attract talent through investing in enhanced benefits packages and tuition reimbursement programs. These investments can go a long way to recruiting and retaining top talent. To assist with this, Paycor’s applicant tracking tools can help develop a pipeline of skilled technical workers to fill critical roles.
- Increase in Offsite Employees
One continuing manufacturing trend caused by the COVID pandemic is the transition of many office employees to remote work employees. The technology has been in place to accommodate this switch for years, and employers have discovered they can still meet business goals and deadlines with a sizable number of their employees working offsite. In fact, many businesses are realizing a cost savings in facilities expenses such as heating and electricity. Employees are also saving money on gas and automobile expenses when they’re no longer making a daily commute. Manufacturers would do well to plan on making some of these changes permanent even after the pandemic has switched to endemic mode. The value of offsite and virtual offices could help businesses in ways they don’t even know yet. To accommodate this trend, Paycor Analytics can help manage schedules and track job performance across various offsite locations.
- Focus on Employee Health and Safety
Another effect the pandemic has had on manufacturing is heightened awareness of the need to help ensure employee health and safety on the job. When any employee misses work due to illness, it has a negative impact on productivity. But multiple employees missing work simultaneously could be devastating to a manufacturer. Even after the virus is eventually brought under control, businesses must focus on the need to set up hygiene, safety and health protocols to guard against future outbreaks. Ways to help improve employee health and safety include re-designing break rooms and common areas to allow for greater social distancing, adding hand sanitizer stations and re-structuring facility maintenance and cleaning activities. Others are also adding more sick leave time and health monitoring benefits to help prevent future health problems. Paycor’s HR, Scheduling and Time solutions can help manufacturers better manage employee scheduling and absences to ensure better safety standards and to keep production running at optimal levels.
Manufacturers have learned a lot through the events of the past couple of years. By using a combination of emerging technology and human intuition, manufacturers can build nimble, responsive businesses that can better anticipate and prepare for the future.