How to Optimize your Manufacturing Workforce

  • Modern Manufacturing

It is increasingly challenging to stand up a workforce of skilled operators, but by automating error-prone tasks and operationalizing your procedures, you can mitigate the risk to production and the business. Easy-to-use tools with built-in error-proofing make it easy for your workforce to do the right thing—because it’s the easy thing to do.

Shortage of Skilled Workers

It’s a well-documented fact that the manufacturing industry is having trouble filling open positions today, and that is not expected to change between now and 2028. In fact, according to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, it’s going to get worse. By their count, there will be 4.6 million manufacturing jobs to fill in the U.S. alone by 2028. And 2.4 million of those jobs - approximately half – will go unfilled, with a shortage of skilled and qualified labor to blame.

For many manufacturers, the solution to the above workforce challenge can be attacked from many angles, from prioritizing recruitment – like participating in the annual MFG Day event or engaging military veterans post-service – to finding ways to be more efficient and effective with the staff in hand. That is where technology comes in.

Leveraging Technology to Fill the Gap

The right manufacturing technology – such as a cloud MES and ERP solution – will help manufacturers:

  • Digitize operations to achieve paperless, easy-to-use, operator control to increase productivity and eliminate manual process errors
  • Choreograph production processes driven directly from the control plan to control cycle times and improve efficiency
  • Realize in-line quality control to govern quality activities and ensure check sheet compliance
  • Trust real-time production reporting for real-time control decisions

Digitizing your manufacturing operations will enable visibility and control from end-to-end. The resulting access to relevant data ultimately enables leaders to think more strategically and make better business decisions. And with accurate, real-time data available, decisions can be made immediately with greater confidence versus the more typical daily or weekly report-decision cycle.

And, it enables the ability to do all of this—and grow--without having to hire more employees.

Case Study: EG Industries Does More with the Same

Manufacturers like EG Industries, a global plastic injection molding company, are proof that added technology doesn’t automatically mean added workers. With the right technology, manufacturers can realize benefits and reallocate workers to higher-value activities.

“The SaaS model in the cloud helps us alleviate a lot of the pains and headaches that come along with on-premise software,” said Tony Brown, director of business systems at EG Industries.

According to Brown, IT resources now help connect systems and departments together to create greater visibility, develop tools to gather and use data more effectively, and some people even took on broader operations and plant management roles.

“We can focus more on our division’s mission statement which is ‘provide our internal and external customers with real-time actionable data for them to make timely and informed decisions.’ That’s really what this division does and what the cloud has done for us,” said Brown.

Making it easy to do the right thing can be hard to do. Put the power in the hands of operators to do the right thing and derive more value for your business.

Download this free white paper to learn more about cloud-based MES.

About the Author

Stu Johnson, Director of Product Marketing, Plex Systems

Stu Johnson has more than 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industry since beginning his career as a mechanical design engineer. He moved into the enterprise software space working in various roles providing solutions for global manufacturers in the consumer, aerospace, automotive, and heavy equipment industries. Currently, Stu serves as Director of Product Marketing for Plex Systems and focuses on the future of manufacturing software working with the Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA), Smart Manufacturing Workgroup exploring topics like the Industrial Internet of Things and Industry 4.0.

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