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3 Ways to Overcome Current Manufacturing Workforce Challenges

Engineer Working On A Laptop With A Plane In The Background

Manufacturing is a vital part of the U.S. economy. However, over the last decade, this industry has been dramatically impacted by the country’s labor shortage. As skilled laborers retire and over half a million manufacturing jobs wait to be filled nationwide, overcoming manufacturing workforce challenges is a pressing concern. 

Now is the time for manufacturing workforce management to address industry workforce challenges. Let’s explore three ways to combat manufacturing’s labor deficit.

1. Understand and Overcome the Skills Gap

Why are manufacturing jobs so hard to fill anyway? The short answer — attracting and retaining top talent has created a critical skills gap. When manufacturing businesses understand why the skills gap exists, management can find practical solutions for workforce development.

Public Perception of Manufacturing Careers

The manufacturing industry is in major need of a new PR person. 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 five 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 public perception is making it difficult for manufacturers to find workers with the right technical and digital skill sets.

Best Practices for Workforce Development

Fortunately, manufacturing companies can take a proactive approach to overcome the labor shortage. There are ample opportunities to develop a thriving workforce, including:

  • Apprenticeship and training programs: Apprenticeship and targeted training programs allow industry veterans to work with promising candidates.
  • Partnering with educational institutions: Providing students with a hands-on experience can help them discover that this is the path they wish to pursue.
  • Workforce initiatives: 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 with compliance rules — employee is allocated to the right location.

2. Address Manufacturing Workforce Compliance and Safety Concerns

Ensuring that your enterprise complies with the latest labor laws mitigates the risk of hefty fines and 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-life balance, it’s hard to consider that when product deadlines are looming and the entire industry is suffering a shortage of talent. How do you navigate complex manufacturing workforce compliance requirements while enhancing a safe and appealing workplace? Take a look at these tips:

  • Stay updated on industry regulations: Regularly evaluate industry developments and regulatory changes to help your company remain adaptive in the face of evolving compliance regulations. 
  • Engage in safety training and awareness: Regular training sessions contribute to a proactive workforce culture of safety and compliance within your organization. 
  • Understand the impact of safety on your workforce: Embrace continuous improvements in safety practices and take proactive steps toward a more positive work environment. You’ll enhance workforce morale, and retention will significantly improve. 
  • Utilize Indeavor’s solutions for maintaining compliance: 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. Leverage Workforce Data for Accurate Manufacturing 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.

The right technology allows you to leverage workforce data to predict labor demands accurately. Plus, you’ll be equipped to handle the ever-changing labor demand information in real-time, such as leave and vacation requests. 

When an unexpected vacancy occurs, schedulers can automatically access available employees. On the flip side, those employees will have real-time information available to them so they can volunteer for the position as well. This technology simplifies the process of scheduling overtime for qualified employees or bringing on temp workers.

Is your Excel sheet currently doing that?

Indeavor Helps Businesses Overcome Workforce Challenges

The manufacturing industry has been the backbone of the U.S. economy for over a century, but this industry is changing rapidly. The digital age has reinvigorated and reinvented this sector. If manufacturing workforce challenges keep your HR and Operations teams up at night, it’s time for a change.

Indeavor Operate is designed to overcome the challenges facing the modern manufacturing workforce. Our proprietary SaaS system offers cutting-edge solutions for scheduling, absence management, time and attendance, and more. We integrate with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems to create a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data. Indeavor Operate facilitates:

  • Skills-based scheduling.
  • Adherence to compliance standards.
  • Accurate labor forecasting

Learn More About Indeavor Workforce Scheduling Software 

Don’t wait and hope that your manufacturing workforce challenges resolve on their own. Discover how Indeavor’s modern scheduling solution can transform your manufacturing business. Contact us to learn more or request a demo today.

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