How Can I Solve My Staffing Woes In The Manufacturing Industry?

Gene Spittle | October 4th, 2013

Being a manufacturer in today’s economy has it opportunities and challenges, and right now you may be flying high on business and running low on people to actually do the work. You may scratch your head daily over this issue and wonder how you can attract the right individuals to do the jobs. Let’s start with the root of the problem—perception. And then I’ll share how some manufacturers are combating this perception. 

The Manufacturing Stigma

I have worked with manufacturers for nearly 32 years, and throughout the years they have faced many challenges. But the biggest challenge they are currently facing is finding the right people for their workforce. Manufacturing for decades was perceived as an industry filled with unskilled workers with minimal to no education, poor working conditions and lower wages. Unfortunately, as a society we’ve seen this perception carry throughout the years, and remain at the forefront of people’s minds. However, as you and I know, manufacturing today is quite the contrary! The manufacturing industry has evolved over the years and has become a strong industry in need of skilled and knowledgeable workers.

Many people believe that manufacturing jobs don’t require an education or they may think that the quality of work that a job in this industry offers is minimal. Once again, that’s not the case. Many jobs in the welding and tool-and-die fields (just to name a couple) require an education and good math skills. And a bonus? These jobs pay an extremely fair wage. What’s disheartening for many manufacturers is that the manufacturing stigma is discouraging students and other individuals from entering this industry. Thus causing a staffing shortage for the manufacturing industry.

Cracking the Code

As a manufacturer, you may be working hard to find a solution to your staffing woes. You are not alone. Manufacturers across the U.S. today are figuring out how to crack the code of the staffing issue. One way that some manufacturers are doing this is by collaborating with educational institutions and local vocational schools. Essentially, manufacturers are saying to these schools, “Here is what we need… please provide the training.”

For the past 5 to 10 years, I’ve been seeing more and more manufacturers asking these questions and figuring out ways to help educational institutions offer hands-on experience to students. The end goal? Encouraging and educating students to pursue careers within the manufacturing industry. If you’re a manufacturer struggling to find the right people for your open positions, maybe it’s time you reach out to your contacts in your local school district or area colleges to see how you can help each other.

What’s True of Manufacturing Today

When I look back on the manufacturing industry, I’m amazed at how much it has evolved and changed. Gone are the days working a 12-hour shift and punching in and out on the clock. Today, the integration of technology into the industry has increased efficiencies and has made manufacturing businesses thrive. Opportunities abound for businesses, students and job seekers.

When the recession hit back in 2008, like other manufacturers, you may have been forced to rethink and reengineer your business. You became leaner, worked smarter, not harder, and invested a lot of time into training and technology. And now as the manufacturing industry moves out of the recession mindset, you may be taking on more work as you better utilize technology and more efficient processes to grow.

Manufacturing is alive and well in the United States, as many manufacturers are enjoying higher profitability than pre-2008 levels. And while you may be a manufacturer who remains hesitant or cautious to pursue new projects, we’re seeing other manufacturers slowly, but surely, put their confidence back into the American economy.

Staffing Help for Manufacturers

If you’re a manufacturer who is currently facing staffing and talent issues, contact Rea & Associates. Our team of Ohio manufacturing business consultants can help you put a game plan around cracking the code to your staffing issues. As you know, the manufacturing industry is a thriving and ever-evolving industry, and opportunities in this industry are vast and plenty. In honor of Manufacturing Day (which is today), encourage someone you know to check out the manufacturing industry! Check out the Manufacturing Day website, and peruse through the variety of resources to learn more about this exciting and forward-thinking industry.

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