The manufacturing workforce is changing.
Firstly, the workforce of the future is made up of Generation Z digital natives. Growing up with technology shaping their lives, they expect to work in an engaging environment utilizing digital technologies.
Second, manufacturers cannot neglect their older, long-serving employees who are leaving the job market. They need to plan to capture and hand over the knowledge built over decades to incoming new employees.
These two factors could contribute to a significant manufacturing skills gap. Deloitte estimated that the U.S. manufacturing industry would face an anticipated skills gap of 2.4 million workers in the next decade. As a result, bottom lines are being impacted, with 25 percent of manufacturers turning down new work due to employee shortages.
Manufacturers must act now to address the looming skills gap, and it can begin with building a smart factory to attract and nurture the next-generation workforce.
“Automation and digitalization will make manufacturing work more engaging, meaningful and satisfying for the next-generation workforce,” said Adrian Wood, a Director of Strategic Business Development at Dassault Systèmes.
The next generation needs to be effectively introduced to the digital shop floor environment that’s modern, bright and clean. To capture these digital natives’ interest and boost manufacturing employment, manufacturers can enable a digitalized smart factory to transform the work experience.
The smart factory is built upon the following three digital capabilities:
To propel manufacturing job growth and be the top consideration of the younger generations, manufacturers need to meet these digital natives at the same level. As such, the manufacturing workplace must provide the same technology-driven environment that can blend into their lives.
“An immersive and collaborative work environment can help manufacturers capitalize on the knowledge and practices of their senior workforce while inspiring the future workforce,” said Prashanth Mysore, an Industry Portfolio Technical Director at Dassault Systèmes.
A technology-driven platform is the solution to addressing the manufacturing skills gap. This platform should offer a suite of tools to help manufacturers build future-ready work environments, attracting skilled workers with inherent technologies that support automation, IIoT and virtual simulation while enabling easy knowledge transfer.
With the right technology-driven platform, manufacturers are ready to better provide digital-native recruits with reasons to work in the manufacturing industry, empowering them to deliver their best work by collaborating remotely and sharing manufacturing data safely in a secure and connected environment.
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