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Technology Is Changing the Demands, Processes and Labor in Manufacturing

Posted 7:43 PM by

Technology in Manufacturing

Today’s consumers want the “smartest” product on the market. They want the newest make and model. They want options, upgrades, and customized products that keep them connected. As if that’s not enough, they wanted it all yesterday. Gone are the days of mass-produced “vanilla” widgets that take months to produce.

It’s no surprise that this change in demand means major growth in the manufacturing sector – not just in production, but in workforce as well.

Nora Leary reports in IndustryWeek’s “Pay Attention to the Ways Technology is Changing Manufacturing, and Workers,” that the once “blue collar” industry has now become quite technical, requiring highly skilled workers with specialized technical backgrounds. Those workers also come with a high price tag, earning substantially more than the average employee in the United States.

This shift in technology is also the driving force behind gained efficiencies and being able to better meet customer demands. For example, by investing in computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS), companies are able to track, maintain, and repair breakdowns with less disruption to the overall process. By reducing the amount of downtime, manufacturers are able to be more productive and efficient in keeping up with the demand.

However, there is a down side to this trend for manufacturers. The need for highly technically skilled employees has left the industry with millions of unfulfilled jobs due to lack of qualified candidates, otherwise known as a “skills gap.” As Leary writes, in the next decade alone, it’s expected that as many as 2 million U.S. manufacturing jobs will be unfulfilled. Efforts ranging from high school training programs to improving industry reputation are being proposed by the industry to address this issue, but it’s unknown how the gap will actually be closed.

About the Author
Sarah Hammond is a manager in Katz, Sapper & Miller’s Business Advisory Group. Sarah provides financial, tax and consulting services to a variety of industries. She has experience in tax planning, forecasts and projections, and financial analysis. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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