Labor Shortage in Manufacturing: Unburdening Production Staff

posted on: Tuesday June 9, 2015

Overcoming the hiring shortage in manufacturing by improving efficiencies with the production staff you have.

08-abouta_1We’ve been hearing about it for years: manufacturers will experience a shortage on skilled, qualified workers available for hire. If you thought you still had time to prepare for this, you were wrong.

The economic comeback in manufacturing comes at the same time many baby boomers are retiring. Despite the later retirement age of this generation, skilled production workers are either leaving the workforce or physically unable to complete the jobs they did 10-20 years ago.

Replacing these people has been a huge challenge. The variety of available career fields has expanded exponentially in the last couple decades. The manufacturing industry as a whole is not gaining the draw it once did. Manufacturers have been working with career colleges to enhance programs geared towards skilled labor jobs. While this has been helpful, it may still be years before it makes a significant impact on hiring.

So what can manufacturers do to meet their increasing demands with its limited production personnel?

Make operations more efficient.

This isn’t a new concept, as efficiency is one of the goals of Lean and Just in Time (JIT) – two strategies that are very popular in manufacturing. However, achieving these standards has been difficult. (Read about our advice on this here.) Yet there is a solution that successfully improves efficiency in all manufacturing environments: battery-powered tugs, or electric tuggers.

This equipment is practical and convenient for production personnel. The units are compact and intuitive. Any one person can attach a tugger to a cart with wheels. The tug then provides all the power of pushing and pulling. The potential load capacity that one person can move is almost limitless. Multiple carts can be hooked together and pulled behind one power tug. The operator can move as much material in one load as necessary, and he/she can haul more in one trip with a tugger than with a forklift.

Workers do not need outside certification to operate a power tug. It is therefore a seamless process to have any available individual attach the unit to the load and deliver materials.

Other advantages to this equipment:

  • Fits through narrow aisles and easily maneuvers around tight corners, saving both time and space.
  • Units built by Load Mover, Inc. hold a charge all day after charging overnight. They provide energy-efficiency as well as labor efficiency.
  • The Load Mover, Inc. units are ergonomic. This limits the risk of musculoskeletal disorders.
  • Operators move hundreds or thousands of pounds without strain, eliminating a lot of injury potential.
  • The units are usable by temporary employees because of the short learning curve. (See our article on this.)
  • Aging workers can safely use the Load Mover to move parts and equipment without overexerting themselves

Overall, this compact, durable equipment saves time and improves efficiencies immediately. Many manufacturers have gained so much productivity from the equipment that they end up owning several tuggers. For ideas and information on how electric tugs can unburden your production staff, contact Load Mover, Inc. We will assess your applications and determine your “Draw-bar Pull” requirements and then recommend the best unit for you. Call 952-767-1720 or email