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Augmentir’s take on the trending Workforce Institute’s staggering survey numbers.

Everyone is talking about it. The skilled labor shortage. It’s not a temporary problem. It’s here to stay. So instead of panicking and trying to use the same old strategies to identify, recruit and retain the increasingly rare skilled and experienced worker, let us present a different way of looking at the labor challenge. Spoiler alert: we see opportunity!

But first, let’s unpack some recent survey findings about the labor market. 

According to a survey by the Workforce Institute, a whopping 87 percent of manufacturers are feeling the ramifications of the lack of skilled labor, including staff misalignment along the production lines, burnout, and supply chain disruption. 

Finding workers with the right skills, education and certifications can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack–hopeless and painful. The shrinking talent pool is forcing companies to rehire former employees who previously quit with limited skills or individuals with no manufacturing experience; it probably feels like the only viable option for production survival.

Where do you start with this new variable workforce? Standardized training programs? Excel spreadsheets for tracking and monitoring? These methods pose a concern for all workers on your production lines, regardless of their experience or skill set. Who needs what training? Who is responsible for tracking productivity and capturing relevant data? How confident are you in endorsing skills and assigning production teams with limited or imprecise information?

The old way would have led to panic. Today, there’s a better, smarter way. Today’s variable workforce in the manufacturing world is perfectly suited to adopt smart technology that will reduce, if not eliminate, the challenges associated with the labor shortage. Remember that thing we said about opportunity? Here it is.

Stay calm and carry on: smart digital tech can have an immediate and direct impact on learning about and managing worker skills.

Imagine if you could learn about a worker’s skills by tracking their performance in real time, immediately deliver training resources tailored to them based on their proficiency and certifications and then match them confidently to a production team where they’ll make a meaningful contribution. Sound like wishful thinking? It’s not.

Smart connected worker technology can collect data on worker patterns by tracking their performance journeys. It pulls relevant resources from the company inventory to deliver customized training programs. With the right training in place workers are engaged and feel safe while performing tasks. And, your teams are equipped to meet productivity goals.

The labor shortage is just a statistic. A smart connected worker suite is the solution.

Augmentir’s smart connected worker suite closes the gap between training and worker execution. Digitized instruction and skills management programs display and organize workers’ proficiencies based on levels of expertise. AI-driven insights monitor and easily match workers with procedures by assigning skills criteria. This proprietary Smart AI technology intelligently prompts workers for continuous training and accurately identifies appropriate skills endorsements to managers, helping them create better production lines. It’s the only solution of its kind on the market.

Kylene Zenk, Director of the Manufacturing Practice at UKG sees opportunity, too:

“If you can offer training or can tailor a job to meet candidates’ flexible qualifications, filling open headcount becomes more realistic in a tight labor market.”

We couldn’t agree more. Find out more about how and why manufacturers are taking smarter approaches to building a strong talent pipeline with Augmentir. Contact us for a demo today.

Augmentir’s take on the trending Workforce Institute’s staggering survey numbers.

Do you remember when offshoring–the outsourcing of production internationally–was once considered the “gold standard” for manufacturers because of reduced costs? Funny how things change. We can partly thank the global pandemic for this. Reshoring, also referred to as ‘onshoring’,  is now the way to go–the apparent panacea to supply chain disruptions and a healthier economy. This should have manufacturers cheering and dancing in the streets, right? Not so fast. We’ve also got a massive labor shortage to deal with. But don’t fret. There are solutions to be found, and they happen to exist in software tools already being embraced by organizations on their journey to digital transformation.

The perks and pressures of reshoring

If your organization isn’t already thinking about reshoring its operations, maybe you should be. Reshoring for manufacturers means greater resiliency, agility, and sustainability by shortening the distances between process and delivery. Less travel means reduced emissions and adherence to ESG standards. Reshoring addresses issues associated with shipping costs, lead times, and new regulations. Working in familiar markets can help identify supply and demand trends more accurately. National employment rates are likely to increase when hiring residents and working with other domestic business partners.

But labor shortages and the variability of today’s workforce have not made reshoring an easy shift. So while there is tremendous opportunity to bring production home, the lack of affordable and skilled labor is having a tremendous impact on our domestic production capacity.

Here’s how you make onshoring work for you. First, stop thinking the old way of recruiting, training, and retaining workers will still work today.

Work with what you’ve got

What’s wrong with training today? Yes, training programs can help improve worker knowledge and skills development. But only if they are meeting the unique needs of individual workers with content-rich, high-impact learning and hands-on training programs. Forget those standard training programs–they are useless in the face of the variable workforce we have available today. The workers you can find are showing up with a mixed bag of experience and skills. That doesn’t have to be a disadvantage anymore. Because there is a smarter way to train and optimize the skills of each of those workers to meet productivity goals individually and fulfill the potential for your organization’s production capacity.

Smart digitization is the ticket to effective onboarding, training, and more–from hire to retire

“The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

This new era of workforce instability is forcing manufacturers to change. It’s forcing them to turn to digital technology and look at smarter ways to hire, onboard, train, and retain their workers. At Augmentir, we call this Smart Digitization.

What do we mean by ‘smart’ digitization? Smart digitization involves adopting modern, digital tools, mobile technology, and supporting workers throughout their entire lifecycle.

smart digitization throughout worker lifecycle

 

Modern connected worker tools are at the core of the solution that supports workers throughout their employment, from training to troubleshooting in real-time to ongoing learning and development. If you look at the entire employee lifecycle, this means:

  1. Using software tools to digitize and automate onboarding and skills tracking to help get workers operational faster, regardless of their skill and experience.
  2. Once on the job, digitizing and personalizing work instructions based on the individual needs of the worker – whether they are a novice worker or an expert.
  3. Proving instant access to support, within the flow of work.
  4. And finally, using an AI-based system to analyze how workers are performing on the job, and intelligently targeting upskilling and reskilling based on actual work performance.

Workers have access to a suite of digital tools and knowledge resources at their fingertips – digital work instructions, collaboration, and support tools to guide them on the job and quickly problem-solve complex tasks, allowing them to do their personal best.

For employers, this means not only more engaged and collaborative workers, it also means deeper insights into work performance that can help drive continuous improvement efforts.

skills job proficiency mapping

AI-based smart insights intelligently optimize workers’ performance by identifying and tracking their skills in real-time. Smart insights pull from these performance metrics and learn to prompt workers who need new training programs or work opportunities, continuously upskilling and reskilling.

It’s the advanced medicine needed to maximize productivity and operational health.

So as you plan to bring more of your production back home, make sure you’re ready to seize the opportunity and address the challenges of a restricted labor market at the same time.

 

Find out how and why so many manufacturers are turning to Augmentir to turn their workers into efficient, productive, and long-term assets for their businesses.

Check out our latest webinar – Smart Digitization of Frontline Workers to learn more.