Filling the Skills Gap – New Generation Workers


Michael Ford, Sr. Director Emerging Industry Strategy, Aegis Software

Factory Workers
Factory Workers

Resident experts are said to be leaving manufacturing companies at an alarming rate, with the “grey tsunami” fueled by opportunities taken during the disruption during the pandemic. This loss of skill and experience need not be an issue, but more an opportunity, let’s embrace the change together.

Taking electronics as an example, technology around materials was once about valves and transistors, then came integrated circuits, SMT technology, with common single devices today containing more “firepower” than what once would have required a room full of circuits. Engineering skills associated with the design and manufacture of electronics have clearly changed dramatically.

Like materials, the style of production has also changed, from local mass-production, to remote manufacturing following low labor costs, evolving now back into more local, but high-mix production, more personalized goods with many variants and small job sizes. Production flows, plans and material management have been fundamentally changing, with each change providing different challenges, requiring different skills.

These changes have caused the tools that we use to radically evolve, both in the hardware and software domains, with the latest release of FactoryLogix 2021.1 representing the state of the art for “Smart IIoT-based MES-driven Industry 4.0 manufacturing.” Saying these last few words in a sentence like this to someone just a few years ago would have had an audience thinking that your mind was overdue for a service, but today, we are living the dream!

The reality is that alongside all of these changes, engineers, managers and operators in manufacturing also need to change. Accumulated knowhow and experience is always going to be the most valuable asset within an organization, but it has to be experience of what is required today, not so much a decade ago. Machines currently available incorporate technology from our collective past experience, built-in for us to use without having to understand the individual “nuts and bolts”, in the same way as application of an IC is easier than making the circuit from scratch using discrete circuitry. Our FactoryLogix software is exactly the same. These hardware and software tools are easier to use than ever before, with opportunity to take full advantage of the new features and functionality when applying them as part of modern manufacturing practices.

There are many young capable people in the job market, fully trained and prepared, but they are not how we were when we were their age. They are not necessarily better than us, nor worse, just different, full of new ideas, new methods, ready to embrace and understand new technology whether related to machines, software, industry requirements, business models etc. Let’s spend some time to teach the new generation our skills, enable them to discover their own experiences and wisdom, and perhaps teach us a thing or two along the way.

We need to take advantage of this opportunity, to get the most out of your investments into creating smart operations, to continue to grow beyond the value that manufacturing companies have already created, differentiating your business through your combined manufacturing skills into the future.

Please join our webinar, on the 18th of March, to hear more on this subject, and surprise yourself seeing what FactoryLogix is capable of doing, in the right hands.

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