Overcoming Workforce Challenges in Manufacturing


Depositphotos_538584504_XL-(1).jpgWorkforce shortages and skills gaps are some of the greatest hurdles reported by Michigan manufacturers in recent years, especially in the wake of growing investment in electric vehicle manufacturing. It’s clear: manufacturers need a pipeline of skilled and dedicated talent to fortify their operations, stay competitive, and secure their futures in the industry. So what are the most successful companies doing to tackle this challenge? Read on to learn more about the tactics and strategies filling production floors across our state. 

Revamping Workplace Cultures

A poor workplace culture can attract or deter candidates before they even submit an application. While many manufacturing companies have used top-down structures and rigid schedules throughout history, modern workers have different relationships to and expectations for their jobs. The companies filling their ranks easily today are those offering flexible schedules, collaborative environments, and paths to advancement. Specifically, your supervisors are the face of your company to potential hires and new employees. Their leadership styles and knowledge will shape employees’ experiences in the workplace, their perceptions of their jobs, and ultimately, your company’s bottom line. It is critical that they develop the skills to attract and retain workers and create a positive working environment for all employees. MMTC’s Supervisor Skills course series gives supervisors a strong foundation for success,  and subsequent courses help them to build upon their skills as they progress in their own careers. Enroll your supervisors today and take the first important step in enhancing your company culture. 

Upskilling Staff

A key component of creating a career path for employees is helping them expand their skills. Whether you’re training them on Industry 4.0 technologies or simply cross-training to provide workers more versatility, investing in your staff demonstrates a commitment to them as employees in addition to focusing on your broader organizational goals. It can help promote job satisfaction, increase engagement, and lead to longer tenures among staff members. Resources like the GoingPRO Talent Fund can help new or existing staff gain in-demand certifications.

Emerging Talent 

Students and career changers can prove to be valuable talent pools for manufacturing companies. Creating internship or in-house training programs to help these candidates utilize their skills at your company can introduce them to the field and lead to longer-term working relationships. Additionally, organizations like MMTC can connect your company with future workers through events like our Re:Making Michigan Technology Showcases and training courses. Becoming a visible part of the industry can keep your company top of mind for these job seekers who are new to manufacturing and excited to launch their careers. 

Harnessing Advanced Technology

While many workers in several industries fear that technology will take over their jobs, more commonly, technology is used to enhance human work. Whether you are leveraging AI to analyze vast amounts of data or robotics to take on dangerous or monotonous tasks, technology can help you make the most of your human workforce.  It can also be an appealing aspect of your company for potential employees seeking forward-looking, innovative employers. Learn how to identify and implement technological solutions that will benefit your unique operations—schedule a free Technology Opportunity Assessment today.

Workforce and culture challenges may be here to stay, but they don’t have to harm your business. Learn more about how MMTC can support your growth and success with leadership and culture training classes and onsite consulting— contact us today

Since 1991, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center has assisted Michigan’s small and medium-sized businesses to successfully compete and grow. Through personalized services designed to meet the needs of clients, we develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth and greater profitability. Find us at www.the-center.org.

Categories: Workforce