The biggest challenges facing a specific industry tend to evolve over time, with some new difficulties arising faster and remaining on the scene longer than others. Right now, the manufacturing industry and manufacturing employers are steadily overcoming some of the larger obstacles they faced a decade ago. But some of these stubborn uphill battles are waging on. Meanwhile, the current year brings a new set of concerns that stem from the political, technological, and market concerns unique to our times. Here are three demons facing manufacturing pros in the modern landscape.
The Skills Gap
This problem has haunted manufacturing hiring managers for more than a generation, but the modern version comes with its own set of difficulties and potential solutions. Some expert candidates with a narrow, specialized set of skills can be hired from any location, now that communication technology allows some tasks to take place remotely. But the challenge of finding specialized skills in a broad population of job seekers remains an expensive and complex problem.
Manufacturing employers are now partnering with local tech schools and universities to support the curriculum and skill sets they need. Employers are also working to fund employee educations, and are becoming involved in community programs designed to attract a skill worker base to the area.
The market for durable and consumable products shifts according to varied pressures, and very few products hold unchanging and universal appeal to potential buyers. Manufacturing managers need to work hard to keep their products in line with consumer demands and expectations, and in the modern landscape, this involves a specific challenge: branding that goes beyond product price and utility. Consumers are demanding more from the companies they patronize, including sustainability, environmental responsibility, fair hiring and management practices, and ethically sourced raw materials. Companies that focus on the bigger picture will score more points in the modern marketplace and gain a stronger foothold for future growth.
The regulatory environment is changing rapidly on several fronts, specifically those addressing environmental protections and shareholder ethics. Modern manufacturing employers also need to keep pace with insurance and benefit rules for employees, and workplace standards that meet basic requirements and exceed the standards of their competitors. Managers need to prioritize a safe and fair workplace, aboveboard reporting practices, and the protection of local and global natural resources. This requires rigorous oversight and individual accountability.
If you own or manage a manufacturing facility and you’re working hard to stay on top of the challenges listed above, don’t fight your battles alone. Reach out and arrange a consultation with the manufacturing staffing experts at CSS.