Millennials and Manufacturing

Tech upgrades abound in the manufacturing industry.

The days of the analog plant are over. Digital is taking over in every aspect of manufacturing, and it’s generally a good thing. Embracing new technology generally makes a business more competitive by increasing productivity and expanding opportunities.

There’s another good reason to embrace technology which may be less obvious. Consider this: In order to attract younger workers, you need to be on top of your tech game. For this reason, technological adoption is a win-win.

Attracting Younger Workers Is Crucial

The shortage of skilled labor is old news. Recruitment and retention are often cited as top-of-list challenges for manufacturers. If you want to attract a vibrant young work force, you need to demonstrate that you’ve made technology a priority.

Remember, millennials are digital natives. They were practically born with a cell phone in hand, and they are unlikely to get excited about working for a company which resists tech advances.

In order to feel engaged and challenged, they want to work in a digital, connected environment. Not only do they want to use their tech skills, they want to stay on the cutting edge. A work environment of manual time-clocks and fax machines is not going to keep them engaged.

Reinventing the Manufacturing Environment

The manufacturing industry is already at a disadvantage, with a reputation as boring, dismal and outdated. While this is increasingly false, it’s up to individual businesses and the industry as a whole to shift that impression. Embracing all things tech, ranging from developing a social media presence to digitizing inventory to making forays into the Internet of Things, is crucial to win the loyalty of today’s younger employees.

Increasing your in-house tech capabilities has other happy byproducts, such as improving mobility. With cloud computing, workers have the freedom to complete work-related tasks on their own schedule, from their chosen work space. For some positions, full-time remote work may be an option, which expands the hiring pool significantly.

Technology can also facilitate communication, at a faster pace and less location-dependent than ever. Millennials expect workplace technology to enable them to book off a shift, adjust their schedule, and communicate leave with ease.

Tech also helps improve labor efficiencies. With data analytics, highly accurate demand-based scheduling can ensure that staff always feel fully occupied and engaged while also being supported with additional help when the crunch comes.

If you know of a manufacturing company that struggles to fill positions or retain employees, ask yourself: Are they tech savvy? Are they keeping up with the times? If the answer is no, they’re doubtless due for a tech overhaul.