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Is Manufacturing’s Future dependent on a skilled workforce?

How are the people and skills at hand being used in the manufacturing industry and the market as a whole?

Do we see that as an asset or just a compulsion that hides behind the veil of every industry that operates and grows?

The best viewpoint that fell upon the market in the wake of Coronavirus and also due to the rapid technology adoption and digitization, there has been a talk of how well-trained the workforce is to bring a brighter future in the manufacturing industry.

COVID-19 brought different waves of operations in the market, with some being on the top of the transition wave and some on the lowest level. The ones on top were the ones using, adopting, and transforming with digitization and technology.

Manufacturing Workforce

The pandemic that came in late 2019 created the worst market situation possible for ages, especially in the year 2020. The virus exposed the manufacturing industry along with different market verticals to vulnerabilities that forced the modern economy as well as thousands of businesses to shut down or put their services to halt.

All these vulnerabilities were creating financial risks not just for manufacturers but especially for their employees as the working situation worsened with the lockdown and the pandemic spreading to a global scale.
Businesses adapted and found new ways of working and providing protection and security plus safety measures to their employees. These included the overnight business transformation towards digitization and accelerating automation technology.

As per industry experts, the number of jobs increased during the lockdown and COVID-19 situation, the only thing that lacked for the employees in manufacturing was a proper workforce and a safe environment. It is not just about an upgrade in skills that the employees needed from their side but also a safe environment was in demand from the side of manufacturers and employers.

If we were to talk about adapting technology and upgrading the skill set of employees, as per a 2019 European economic study, companies that did not invest in robotics between 1990 and 1998 reduced jobs by 20% between 1998 and 2016, whereas those that did invest from ’90-‘98 created 50% more jobs during the same period.

According to an expert network company, it is not how we adapt to changes and technology but how we will provide skills and prepare people for such jobs in the future that have everything to do with technology, especially AI and Automation.

Moreover, the subject-matter experts claim that we need to think about how we are to prepare people for the workforce and that the manufacturing sector is facing and going through this challenge for quite some time. This includes the built-up of skills and approaches that can provide different and much better options for growth.

Manufacturing Industries Need to Invest in Re-skilling

Although massive e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Walmart have provided a great number of jobs to its employees, even in the wake of COVID-19, the question is, do their manufacturing department requires an upscale in skills such as data analytics, automation, AI, and problem-solving skills.

The COVID-19 outbreak brought the manufacturing industry to the front lines of changes that were to be adopted far before all this came into view. With everything going digital, electricians becoming digital electricians, material handlers becoming robotically enabled, and assembly line workers becoming robotics programmers, the change is optimal and is now on high priority.

And, to adopt new changes and upgrade the skillset and technology framework, manufacturers need to invest more in re-skilling programs that many companies are trying to work on. As per Deloitte reports, only 17% of companies have made “meaningful investments” in reskilling initiatives related to AI, one of the technologies shaping the future of work.
Transforming digitally for manufacturers is a great solution but investing digital learning resources, automation, and robotics programs to help its workforce gain hands-on experience is another prolific asset.

For example, Stanley Black & Decker has partnered with organizations like Ready Robotics and Tulip to automate repetitive tasks at several of its plants, creating dedicated programs to re-skill all of the workers who were previously responsible for doing that work.

These employees now work along with robots, enhancing programmers supervising their robots and being productive and available to fill more time in seeking ways to further increase productivity.

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