Effectively Managing the Manufacturing Skills Gap

XtremelargeThe manufacturing industry survived the economic downturn, but it now faces a grim outlook of a different kind. The number of skilled workers entering the industry is nowhere near the growth in jobs, and the present skilled workforce is aging out of the field.  The increase in demand for goods and products does a company little good if it doesn’t have the people who can fill the need.

Leo Reddy, chairman and CEO of the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, discusses the gloomy outlook in Manual Material Handling’s “Other Voices: The manufacturing and logistics skills gap.” He points out that 2 million of the 3.5 million manufacturing jobs that will open by 2025 will go unfilled because of the skills gap – a skills gap that is only expected to grow over the next 10-15 years.

There are numerous factors contributing to said gap.  The aging workforce has been an issue manufacturers have dreaded for the last decade. The number of workers 55 and older continues to rise. Replacing these workers has been especially challenging as the years progress. Generation Y ranks manufacturing as its least preferred career. While schools have made great strides to offer and fill programs that put graduates in these jobs, there is, according the Wall Street Journal, a “vast disconnect” between educators and employers. It reports, according to Reddy, “While 90% of industry executives believed that education was not meeting their needs, 90% of school administrators believed that they were meeting those needs.”

While experts are working on long-term solutions to recruit younger skilled workers, the reality is that manufacturers need to do something now. They need a solution that feasibly counteracts the problem. One practical way to tackle the issue is to bring in the right manual material handling equipment.

What is probably the most useful equipment for this particular problem is the battery-powered tug. Most notably, it makes every single employee – including the aging and unskilled – able to contribute significantly to productivity. Manufacturers can use this equipment to replace skilled work, like forklift operation, in several places, and funnel the more skilled workers to the positions that truly need them. Additionally, the aging workforce can effortlessly accomplish the work of several people in a shortened amount of time. This can leave more opportunities for them to train the unskilled workers.

To learn more about battery-powered tugs and how they are best used in your facility, contact Load Mover, Inc. We are experts who understand the manufacturing industry and manual labor. We’ve helped countless manufacturers improve the safety and efficiency of their employees. Contact us at: 952-767-1720 or Info@loadmoverinc.com.