Do you have the
skills in place for manufacturing success?

It’s no secret that there is a skills shortage within the
manufacturing sector, with recent
research
suggesting we are hitting a critical point – will we be able to
fill that skills void we’re experiencing or are we running out of time?

For this industry in particular, skilled employees have
typically been within their roles for many years. Add to that the lack of a succession
plan, and manufacturing organisations are leaving themselves vulnerable once
the current workforce moves on. Where will the much needed skills come from,
and more importantly, is the sector ready to embrace the millennial generation?

The Manufacturing Success report found that 15% of the
workforce are over 55 years of age, and 17% are currently under 24. As such,
manufacturers must address how they effectively lead a high performance team
made up of very different motivational forces, pressures and preferences.

Whilst these stats suggest that the younger generation is
starting to move into roles within the industry, there are evident issues with
the attraction and retention of the young people who are so critical to closing
this skills gap and future-proofing the industry. 52% of manufacturers say they
have difficulties offering the kind of flexibility that younger workers are
looking for, while 45% report difficulties retaining and 43% attracting young
workers in the organisation. Younger workers have high expectations – they want
to work in a ‘cool’ environment, with the latest tools and technologies.

Employing apprentices can – to some extent – help solve the
issue, with 79% of manufacturers saying they present a valuable solution to
filling the skills gap in manufacturing. However, it is vital that both long
and short term strategies are considered as whilst this option can temporarily
fill gaps, without careful succession planning it can have damaging affects in
the long term.

More so, it seems that those manufacturers who are likely to
succeed are the ones who will embrace ‘interconnectedness’ – connecting people,
businesses and devices. For an industry reliant on new skills and innovation,
being able to link all three will mean they are better placed to compete and
make the sector a more appealing option.

It’s clear that multi-generational workforces can, if
effectively managed, result in improved, more relevant customer experiences
that ultimately will drive growth. For manufacturers that embrace this, the
future will only be one of manufacturing success.

John Hammann Industry Value Engineer SAP UKI

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