Ingenuity in the industrial industry

May 19, 2022

The industrial industry is one filled with innovation and a long history of leadership for the changes facing the world. The pandemic gave manufacturers the perfect platform to showcase this ingenuity. Here are a few ways the industry has shifted the past three years and what to expect as you develop your work environment to hire incoming talent.

The biggest changes coming out of the pandemic

The industrial industry has been at the heart of conversion for the Western world since 1760 and continues to push the bounds of what is possible still today. When something needs to change, manufacturers find ways to adjust and develop new solutions. During lockdowns and social distancing protocols, the industry needed to continue to push forward with varying levels of ingenuity. As a result, the industrial space has changed forever.

Automation and robotics

With the space and necessity to face new challenges, automation and robotics development accelerated to new levels to accommodate social distancing. Automation allowed employers to reduce the headcount necessary to run the business while allowing employees to upskill their repertoire to learn how to work these new systems. Robotics did the same and helped reduce the need for manual labor.

McKinsey cites these inevitable shifts as "Industry 4.0" and has been tracking changes since 2017. They found that 56% of respondents say these new technologies were critical to making it through the pandemic.

Online business practices

E-commerce has opened the doors for manufacturers to circumvent distribution challenges. As a result of the pandemic, online and direct to customer sales is here to stay. The convenience of selling products directly to customers has helped change the supply chain for manufacturers and provides protection from sudden shocks to the industry. Having a bigger voice directly to buyers can help expand businesses' customer base.

The digital transformation age, or the time in which customers not only have more access to online shopping, but are more comfortable with ordering online, was inevitable for the industrial industry. McKinsey notes in their article that "Companies that had not implemented Industry 4.0 prior to COVID-19 have had a wake-up call." Those businesses resistant to these changes ahead of time have struggled to keep up.

Hiring during the inflection point for manufacturers

Hiring in the past was straightforward and simple: There is space for someone in the warehouse, and you put out an ad to find new employees. While this remains true today, the digital transformation era we're in calls for more technical skills to handle and continue to progress new technology. These are new hires who can not only manage programming, but move the industry forward with new ideas.