Regardless of the advances in manufacturing automation, companies will never completely eliminate skilled workers from manufacturing.

Skilled workers not only run the machines, they are also the first line of defense against performance issues and identifying opportunities to increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

But highly skilled workers with enough experience to perform today’s complex work instructions are in critically short supply – now and in the foreseeable future. In fact, according to The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, “Over the next decade nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs likely need to be filled. The skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.”

There are a few ways to overcome this challenge:
– Workers need specific, timely, and frequent training where efficiency and productivity is key.
– Companies need to focus on institutional thinking about manufacturing efficiency – right up to the C-level executives.

Gaston College in Dallas, North Carolina, has even launched a manufacturing boot camp to help close the skills gap. The camp is broken into two modules – one focuses on basic manufacturing skills and the other on occupational skills.

Vocational schools and programs, such as the Gaston College boot camp, encourage  students to consider paths other than corporate desk jobs. They help students realize the importance of building and working with their hands.

By focusing on building a skilled, satisfied workforce, manufacturing companies will assist in closing the skills gap and will help increase their own operational efficiencies.

Learn more about the role of man in lean manufacturing.