Conquering the Labour Shortage

Conquering the Labour Shortage

Smart products are the key to combating labour shortages in the manufacturing sector. From robots and automation to IoT and wearable technology, digital transformation of the manufacturing facility is an essential strategy moving forward. 

In recent years, skilled labour has become increasingly difficult for manufacturers to find. In fact, 80% of Canadian manufacturers claim to be feeling the effects of this trend. 

But what is the cause of such a wide scale shortage in the industry? It is mainly fueled by the baby boomer generation retiring. They possess much of the skilled labour required to complete the difficult jobs around the manufacturing line. Add to that, the younger generations coming up are not pursuing manufacturing as a career path, leaving gaps that are not being filled for companies to continue to succeed.

Luckily, smart products are taking the industry by storm, and a lot of which are focused on automation, efficiency, and productivity; all essential benefits to solve the labour constraints. 

Automation is effective at taking over monotonous, time consuming tasks so that workers are freed up to complete more meaningful and difficult activities. Honda is a great example of robotic automation in a manufacturing setting. The company installed a series of robots into its V6 engine assembly line. Repetitive tasks like carrying casings and installing gaskets are now fully robotic, freeing up labour across the facility. 

IoT sensors are great tools when it comes to improving efficiency. Tasks like inspecting machines and equipment can take hours when performed by a human. Hyundai has implemented a series of IoT sensors across its engine production operation. The sensors are able to collect real-time data on machine operation for more efficient and higher quality insights. 

Lastly, smart products known as “wearables” are an effective way to increase productivity of workers so they can output more per person — an effective way to combat a shrinking workforce. The company Aucobo has designed smart watches that enable communication between members across the manufacturing floor. Teams can send messages and tasks remotely to each other for a significant increase in productivity. The hands free nature of it adds even more to the effectiveness. 

Although the looming labour shortage may cause disruptions to some manufacturers, companies who choose to undergo digital transformation and deploy cyber physical systems will continue to succeed.