The future of manufacturing: How to build a more efficient workforce

September 19, 2022

Manufacturing is a critical component of the global economy. It's also one of the most important industries for job creation and economic growth, accounting for 11% of GDP in the United States alone, according to data from the World Bank.

Moreover, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in the second quarter of 2022, productivity had risen by 4.7% in the manufacturing industry — a substantial improvement over the previous quarter's 1.2% decline.

But there are challenges ahead. Manufacturing is facing a workforce shortage and a rapidly changing demand for labor. And as we move into a time of economic uncertainty due to inflationary pressures and a shifting global landscape, it's crucial that manufacturers take the necessary steps to build a more efficient workforce.

Here are five ways to do just that:

1. Identify inefficiencies

It may seem simple, but the first step in improving your workforce is identifying exactly where it's falling short. Take a look at each aspect of your operation — from production to shipping to quality control and more — and determine where there are opportunities for improvement.

2. Enhance internal communication

A well-oiled machine is one that runs smoothly, and that's impossible if your employees aren't on the same page. Take action to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal by setting clear expectations and communicating them clearly.

What's more, it's also vital that employees are aware of what their coworkers are doing and how it affects them. This will help ensure that there's no overlap of duties or missed deadlines.

3. Integrate technology

Technology should be an integral part of every aspect of your company's operations and can help you improve efficiency across the board.

Automate time-consuming or repetitive tasks using software that allows you to manage inventory, track production and even monitor employee performance.

This way, employees will have more time to focus on highly-skilled tasks, and you'll be able to manage your business more effectively.

4. Encourage employee development

Employee development is a critical part of any company's growth strategy and should be something you take seriously.

Offer training opportunities for your employees to develop their skills and become agile workers who can adapt to changing conditions.

According to The National Association of Manufacturers Q2 2022 Outlook Survey, 58.1% of companies are already implementing internal training programs to fill knowledge gaps and improve employee retention.

5. Prepare a contingency plan

By now, indicators of a downturn are clear, and you need to be prepared to ride out the storm so you can thrive afterward. A contingency plan will minimize impact and ensure that you can continue to operate even when things get tough.

After all, with the right set of tools and strategies in place, you'll be able to build a more efficient workforce today and into the future.