While most manufacturing organizations have been working hard to adopt , they are also feeling the pressure from customers to integrate segments of . Simultaneously, these business leaders are becoming increasingly aware of global and national competitors promoting all they have done to make a competitive advantage for themselves.
All of these factors have rekindled the debate about that has been ongoing since the first industrial revolution. While automation and technology have advanced exponentially over the past one hundred years, it takes capable workers to integrate it into a successful business model. American manufacturers have automated the assembly of parts from to . Businesses have used computer technology to advance from to . However, the passage of time has revealed that automation and technology does not eliminate capable workers. The overriding factor limiting business expansion throughout the journey from to , has been the shortage of . While the dream for a business owner looking into advanced manufacturing technology has been to have a few of these , the reality is that most organizations would simply be happy with a large number of these .
While these escalating challenges around labor vs. automation remain forefront in the minds of business leaders, the daily demands of satisfying customers, making products, and managing a business does not provide the extra time required to do something about them. As a leader, you know intuitively that the scope of the issue and the consequences of non-action have significant ramifications for the future of your business. Generally, the best course of action is to contact someone you trust and find out what others have done to tackle the same problems you face.
The Manufacturing Alliance had partnered with the SEWN program to develop and complete a 6 month pilot program that addressed the issue of advanced technology vs. worker skills gaps. Realizing the magnitude of the challenge , the goal was to find the best first bite and then map a viable
The key learnings from the study were:
- Each organization has its own unique iceberg challenge
- A common destination is a workforce that is technology enhanced
- Each owner/leader wants to chart his/her own path
- Industry 3.0, lean manufacturing, industry 4.0, are necessary ingredients but in different dose amounts for each company
- Outsider intervention saves time and resources