As the manufacturing industry continues to change and grow, it's essential to remember the basic skills that can help you do well. With strong hard and soft skills, you will be better able to avoid falling into the skills gap in the manufacturing industry. This happens when there aren't enough people with the right manual, operational, or technological skills to work in manufacturing. So what are the contributing factors to this skills gap, and what can be done about it?

There are many factors that are affecting the skills gap. One presenting problem is that as the baby boomer generation gets closer to retirement age, manufacturers are losing the labour force that once held these jobs. Further to this, as machine technology gets better, more and more people with highly specialised skills are needed to run, program, and design machines. Employers want to hire people who know about IoT, robotics, Industry 4.0, and machine monitoring, but it can be hard to find people with these specific skills. 

Also, more and more, people are moving away from blue-collar jobs and turning towards white-collar jobs which seemingly offer more money, job security, and opportunities to move up in their careers. Because of this, there aren't enough key blue-collar workers, which makes it hard to hire and train people who are good at making things. Essentially, the manufacturing skills gap happens when a manufacturing plant needs highly skilled workers but can't find enough people with those skills to fill the jobs. This can make it hard for these businesses to find the skilled workers they need to run and grow a business well.

So what are the most important manufacturing skills to learn, and how can you use them to close the skills gap in your factory?

1. Tech and digital skills 

As the manufacturing world continues to focus more on technology, it's important that your staff knows how to use the digital tools that are becoming more common on the floor. You want them to get better at using new systems, technologies, platforms, software, and AI tools for digital data. This includes being able to service your machinery, including robotic monitoring and having multiple staff who are trained to support this vital function too.

2. Problem-solving and critical thinking

Some jobs in the factory can be done by machines or robots, but there are also many jobs that can only be done by people. Human skills include things like being able to solve hard problems and think critically. When you know how to analyse and solve problems at work, you can solve problems quickly, figure out what's wrong, and respond to changes or problems in the right way. 

3. Effective communication 

These kinds of soft skills don't depend on technical knowledge and know-how. Instead, they focus on the important, complicated relationships between people. People who want to work in management or leadership need these skills the most. Communication is especially important because it helps people build the verbal skills they need to work well with others and solve problems between them at work. 

4. Keep manufacturing lean

As a business owner, you need to take a step back and look at the big picture of how your factory works. This helps you think more strategically about the processes you use and can help you find ways to make them smoother and more efficient. Learning about lean manufacturing can help you find waste in your factory lines and get rid of it without compromising the quality of your products. 

5.  Get creative

Many people might think that if they work in manufacturing, they can't be creative or use their creative skills, but that's not true. Creativity is important in manufacturing jobs, especially when it comes to designing new products. In a factory, being able to take an idea and turn it into a real sellable product is a very valuable skill that opens up a lot of new doors for employees. 

The bottom line

Manufacturing is a highly specialised sector with specific hard and soft skills. Ensuring your business has all the working parts in various staff members will ensure a strong manufacturing business and an operation which fills the skills gap and runs itself. So, to fund the upskilling of your manufacturing team in 48 hours, contact Merchant Capital today.


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