The Top 3 Current Manufacturing Workforce Challenges

According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS), nearly half a million manufacturing jobs have remained unfilled — a record high.

This need is contributing to the unique labor problems that manufacturers are facing. That’s why we created a roadmap for workforce management improvement, specific to a manufacturer’s current needs.

1. A Skills Gap Perpetuated by Public Perception

Why are manufacturing jobs so hard to fill anyway? The short answer: the industry is in major need of a new PR person.

The long answer: Manufacturing suffers from an inaccurate perception of what the industry has to offer, causing talented students to avoid applying because they don’t think their education is a match. Less than 5 in 10 Americans surveyed in Deloitte’s 2017 U.S. Public Perception report believe manufacturing jobs to be “interesting and rewarding, clean and safe, and stable and secure”.

The irony? Manufacturers are actually investing heavily in IoT technologies, meaning that the same young adults with higher education rejecting the industry are the ones the industry is most hungry for. This mismatch in perception is making it difficult for manufacturers to find workers with the right technical and digital skill sets.

So, while you’re busy attracting new talent, how do you make sure you’re leveraging the employees you do have?

A critical step is to have an integrated qualification management system (QMS). That way, you’ll have access to a skills matrix that allows for multiple tie-breakers, ensuring that the most optimal—and available, in accordance to compliance rules—employee is allocated to the right location.

2. Keeping Compliant

Ensuring that your enterprise is compliant with the latest labor laws not only mitigates the risk of hefty fines, but also protects your most valuable asset—your workers—from burnout. With nearly 58% of U.S. manufacturing workers reporting that they have “worked tired” on the job in just the past week alone, it’s apparent why these laws are in place. A tired employee can put themselves, and others, in danger when dealing with machinery.

While everyone understands the importance of employees having a work and life balance, it’s hard to consider that when product deadlines are looming, and the entire industry is suffering a shortage of talent.

By having a compliance module in your workforce management solution that automatically applies the most up-to-date rules to your roster, you’ll adhere to everything without a second thought.

3. Labor Forecasting

From a demand planner’s or scheduler’s perspective, accurately forecasting labor requirements, creating and managing staff schedules to meet those needs, and then ultimately getting your team to hit those production deadlines is… easier said than done.

An unexpected absence hinders productivity, while a sudden change in demand could mean too many or not enough workers. When it comes to scheduling, automation will quickly get the right workers on the line to help you hit those tight production deadlines.

To accomplish this, you’ll need to have the right technology that lets you handle leave and vacation requests on-the-fly. That way, when an unexpected vacancy does occur, your schedulers will be able to automatically access available employees; on the flip side, those employees will have the real-time information available to them so that they can volunteer for the position as well.

You’ll also need to be equipped with ever-changing labor demand information in real-time. This will make it easier to determine when it’s time to schedule overtime to qualified employees or to bring on temp workers.

Is your excel sheet currently doing that?

How Indeavor Can Help

There’s a way to overcome these challenges keeping your HR and Operations teams up at night: Indeavor’s proprietary solution, Workloud.

Workloud is our workforce management SaaS solution which offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. Workloud integrates with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.

Learn more or request a demo here.