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Supply chain disruption. Layoffs. The Great Resignation. Hiring wars. The past few years have not been smooth sailing for the manufacturing industry. Dealing with ongoing challenges can take more time out of your day than simply getting the job done.
So, how do manufacturers survive in this tumultuous business climate? Our subject matter experts here at USC Consulting Group have identified and examined six challenges as the most common issues bedeviling manufacturing right now, along with the strategies we offer to our clients to tackle them.
Manufacturing challenges include:
- The ongoing hiring wars
- The skills gap
- Creating a better frontline worker experience
- Digital transformation
- Supply chain disruption and inventory management
- Change management
Dive deeper into each one of these issues and learn the solutions to overcome them in our free white paper “The Consultant’s Guide to Overcoming Today’s Manufacturing Challenges.”
1. The Ongoing Hiring Wars
Like most other industries these days, manufacturing is grappling with the most challenging hiring market in decades. IndustryWeek reports that 54% of U.S. manufacturers are finding it difficult to attract skilled workers to get the job done. That’s up from 38% before the pandemic.
2. The Skills Gap
The hiring wars and the skills gap are giving manufacturing a one-two punch. Not only is it incredibly challenging to fill open positions, but filling them with people who have the skills and experience to get the job done right is proving to be nearly impossible. Hence, the skills gap.
3. A Better Frontline Worker Experience
Just 36% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and 74% are actively looking for new jobs, according to a Gallup survey. With all of the hiring challenges and shortages of skilled workers, it’s more important than ever to focus on your frontline workforce.
4. Digital Transformation
Digital transformation has been an industry term for several years now. What it means, at its core, is utilizing digital technology to make processes faster, easier, safer and more efficient. The pandemic kicked digital transformation up a notch for manufacturers.
5. Supply Chain Disruption and Inventory Management
Supply chain and inventory management issues have long been a challenge for manufacturers, made worse by the pandemic. These are separate issues, but two sides of the same coin.
6. Change Management
All of these challenges represent and require some degree of organizational change. The term “change management” may seem like the jargon of the moment, but really, it’s about laying the groundwork for change to be successful in your organization.
Learn about each of these challenges in more detail and how to overcome each issue by downloading our white paper:
The Consultant’s Guide to Overcoming Today’s Manufacturing Challenges
If you’re grappling with any of these manufacturing challenges, USC Consulting Group is here to help. We are a global operations management consulting firm that has been helping organizations through more than 50 years of challenges. It’s our specialty. Give us a call today to talk about how we can help you.
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When’s the last time you walked the shop floor and engaged with your people who get the job done on the line day after day? If you’re a manager, COO or CEO, you’re dealing with bottom lines, efficiencies, throughput, supply chain headaches, hiring woes and everything else on your plate. It can seem like there aren’t enough hours in your busy workday to visit with the folks on the shop floor. We’d ask you to rethink that. Engaging with your employees might not seem like a bottom-line priority, but it’s more important now than ever, especially as it pertains to employee retention.
Here are a few stats to illustrate why:
- More than 1 million manufacturing jobs are unfilled in the U.S., according to a report released in March 2022 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s a record high in manufacturing, and the trend doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. If you’ve been on the front lines of hiring to fill those open positions, or if you’re vexed that your productivity is suffering because of a short staff, you know how tough it is to get people in the door, and the consequences for your bottom line if you don’t.
- Just 36% of U.S. employees are engaged at work, and 74% are actively looking for new jobs, according to a Gallup survey.
- 94% of employees say they’d stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development, LinkedIn reports.
- The pandemic-wrought supply chain disruptions and inventory uncertainty continue to plague manufacturers.
What those varied numbers and stats add up to is, it’s really tough out there. Hiring is more difficult than ever, the skills gap is widening, employees still on the job are not engaged, and all of it is affecting your bottom line, productivity, throughput, efficiency… the whole nine yards.
One simple way to start tackling all of those problems is walking the floor, talking to employees and getting a sense of what’s happening on the line day to day. We guarantee you’ll find it illuminating.
For over 50 years, we at USC Consulting Group have leveraged the benefits of doing just that. Here are six reasons why you should too:
1. You’ll gain a better understanding of your operations
At USC, that’s why we work side by side with frontline workers when we engage with a company. There are no better sources of truth of the day-to-day operations than the men and women on your shop floor. Experience first-hand the ins-and-outs of what makes your operations hum and what is hindering it.
2. Employee engagement equals business success
We’ve seen this time and time again. Just one example: We recently worked with a manufacturer that was dealing with dwindling efficiency due to challenges on many different fronts. They were having employee hiring and retention problems, machinery issues and operations and communications breakdowns. Management had let slip decades-old initiatives that had given them shop floor controls and visibility. This was a key piece to the puzzle. We helped them create a Management Operations System that involved them getting on the front lines and engaging with those employees. The result was a boost in production improvement. Read more about it in our case study, “Construction Materials Supplier Builds Up Equipment and Employee Engagement Programs.”
3. Build a promotion pipeline from your front lines
As you get to know your employees better, you can spot talent that could benefit from increased training and development for internal promotions. This has cascading benefits. Remember that LinkedIn statistic? Ninety-four percent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development. That’s not just for white-collar jobs. And your whole staff will see your commitment to developing and promoting your people on the line. Internal promotions increase employee retention companywide.
4. You can also spot trouble sooner
Just as you’ll notice who is doing a stellar job, you may well find some people who aren’t. The weak links in the operation. You can also spot breakdowns in efficiency and opportunities to improve what may be going wrong by simply walking around on a frequent basis.
5. You’ll get great ideas to help improve operations
Our clients are all different, with unique challenges. The one thing we see everywhere we go is, the people on the line, the ones who do the job every day, can have the most informed and effective ideas — ideas that may not have occurred to management — about how to improve productivity, efficiency or any other challenges that arise.
6. You’ll help boost morale
Workers feel more valued and appreciated when the “higher-ups” take the time to get to know them, listen to them and are concerned about any issues they may be experiencing.
The bottom line is, take the time to walk around your facilities from time to time. There’s no downside to engaging with your workers on the shop floor. You’ll develop relationships with your staff, gain a good handle on what’s going on day to day, and create engagement up and down the line. Read more about it in “How to Increase Employee Engagement and Training to Improve Retention.”
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There’s no sugar-coating it. It’s tough out there for manufacturers on the front lines of the hiring wars. We are in an unprecedented hiring-and-retention situation in this country. The Great Resignation numbers just keep climbing. According to CNN, 47.4 million people left their jobs in 2021. That’s a lot of open positions and a lot of people out of work. You’d think it would be a hirer’s market. It’s just the opposite.
“54% of U.S. manufacturers are finding it difficult to attract skilled workers to get the job done. That’s up from 38% before the pandemic.”
Companies in all industries are feeling the hiring pain, but manufacturing is getting hit especially hard. IndustryWeek reports that 54% of U.S. manufacturers are finding it difficult to attract skilled workers to get the job done. That’s up from 38% before the pandemic. Competition for skilled workers to fill all of those jobs has never been more intense. And that competition isn’t just coming from other manufacturers. It’s also coming from other industries, like transportation, warehousing, even retail.
Hiring is only one part of the challenge. It’s also about retention. From a study by the Workforce Institute at HR solutions company UKG, manufacturers are getting “ghosted” by workers who simply don’t show up for their shifts. A shocking 68% of manufacturers said they let employees go because of it between January and March 2021.
So, what’s going on? Instead of the Great Resignation, you might call it the Great Reassessment. As Industry Week puts it, workers aren’t just reassessing what they do for their 9-to-5 and walking out the door, they’re also thinking about where they do it and why they do it. People have streamed out of the workplace in record numbers because they want more. More pay, more flexibility, more benefits, more meaning and more happiness.
Manufacturers who understand that is the key to winning the hiring wars. Let’s look at how to put that into practice when you’re trying to hire and retain employees.
What manufacturers can do to hire and retain workers
Here are six strategies to help you attract and keep the people you need to get the job done.
1. Open your company purse strings. To borrow a line from Cuba Gooding Jr., show them the money. With McDonald’s paying more than $20 an hour to flip burgers, it’s tough to compete with that. But look at what your competition is paying and match it, or if possible, exceed it. Job seekers today are ultra-choosy, and a high salary is one of the most important weapons in your hiring arsenal.
2. Cast your net wider. Do you have a background check that excludes people who have had felonies or other arrests? Would you consider hiring a retiree? How about someone with special needs? From the same Workforce Institute study, 62% of manufacturers have hired or considered hiring people with special needs, 56% have hired retirees, and 52% are considering hiring people who have been incarcerated. You may not have considered this talent pool in the past, but there are great advantages to hiring people who traditionally have trouble getting a break. Increased loyalty is a big one.
3. Work with schools to train and recruit students. The National Law Review points out that an entire generation of manufacturing workers is getting ready for retirement, and younger workers simply don’t have the skills to take up the mantle. By training students and those just out of school, you’ll be creating a pool of new employees who have the skills to get the job done in your workplace. This, in turn, will help reduce the skills gap that separates your new hires from your seasoned veterans and retirees.
4. Rethink your benefits. Your benefits package is especially important in luring Great Resigners back into the workplace. As we said, many people have quit their jobs because they’re looking for something more, and benefits are a big part of that. Robust health care that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg is a must. But think outside the box, too. Industries like retail and hospitality are luring younger workers by offering to pay off their student debt, cover childcare expenses and grant generous PTO.
5. Invest in upskilling and training. This is vital for retention, but it’s important for hiring, too. If your candidates know you are committed to your current employees’ futures, giving them the opportunity to learn new and valuable skills, it’s a big plus. It shows you’re in it for the long term, not just hiring a warm body to fill a hole on the line. For your employees who are already on the job, upskilling and training can increase their engagement exponentially. One of our clients recently put a new training program in place for longtime employees and awarded certificates when they completed the course successfully. Engagement went through the roof, along with employees’ pride of achievement. A benefit for you, along with happier, more engaged employees, lies in cross training your people. That way, if and when an employee “ghosts” you on a shift, you’ll have a pool of qualified people to step in and do the job.
6. Consider your efficiency. Are your machines breaking down frequently? Are there stoppages on the line? The same client of ours that invested in training and upskilling realized that their employees were continually frustrated with snafus on the line day in and day out. Correcting those problems and making your operations as efficient as possible gives employee satisfaction a boost and helps with retention. Also, it’s crucial to involve employees at all levels, from the corner office to the line on the shop floor, in the process of improving your operation’s efficiency. People with varying viewpoints of the job bring a variety of opinions and ideas to the table.
At USC Consulting Group, we’ve spent more than 50 years helping companies improve employee engagement and realize greater efficiency in their operations. Ready to talk about what we can do for you? Give us a call.
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After a couple of difficult years, manufacturing is roaring back in the U.S. There’s a lot to be optimistic about. Consumers are consuming again, fueling high demand. Manufacturers in many facets of the industry are reporting a big uptick in orders, and it shows no signs of slowing down. But, that doesn’t mean manufacturing will enjoy a challenge-free year. There are several factors that continue to bedevil the industry. Here’s a run-down of some of the manufacturing challenges you might be facing in 2022, and strategies to handle them.
Challenge: Shortages of skilled workers
This is a big problem for many industries, and manufacturing is getting hit especially hard. IndustryWeek reports that 54% of U.S. manufacturers are finding it difficult to attract skilled workers to get the job done. That’s up from 38% before the pandemic. From a study by the Workforce Institute at HR solutions company UKG, pain points for employers include getting “ghosted” by workers who simply don’t show up for their shifts (a shocking 68% of manufacturers said they let employees go because of it between January and March 2021), high turnover and intense competition for skilled workers.
Strategy: Focus on retention and hiring
One of the best ways to win the talent war is to keep your people from walking out the door. Employee retention means focusing on their needs, their experience in your workplace, and their future. Promote from within. Provide your people with opportunities for increased training and upskilling, so they can learn and grow. Lay out career paths for your frontline workers who you think may be able to move up the ladder, so they can see the future with your company is about more than their current job. Involve them in the process when you’re looking at your operations with an eye toward greater efficiency. Another powerful way to boost your overall efficiency is to cross-train your people to do more than one job, so that when someone doesn’t show up for a shift, someone else can easily step in. All of this training and upskilling helps employees feel engaged. It lets them know you believe they are important to your company’s success.
When you do need to hire externally, cast your net wide. From the same Workforce Institute study, 62% of manufacturers have hired or considered hiring people with special needs, 56% have hired retirees, and 52% are considering hiring people who have been incarcerated. You may not have considered this talent pool in the past, but there are great advantages to hiring people who traditionally have trouble getting a break. Increased loyalty is a big one.
Challenge: Supply chain disruptions
This has been a major headache for manufacturers since the start of the pandemic, and it is still causing problems.
Strategy: Look at solutions to address time, pricing, production, inventory and information
According to David Newman, Supply Chain Practice Leader for USC Consulting Group, there are a number of tactics to use to combat supply chain disruption, but none are perfect. The most common and easiest to employ are the time solutions. Things like expediting freight (which is a supply-side response), or delaying order fulfillment (which is a demand-side response). But, if your customers have other options and they have low customer loyalty, delaying delivery dates can significantly reduce your revenues. Alternatively, premium freight if you have a low margin product can wipe out profits. Prices can skyrocket, and if you can’t pass those costs on to the consumer, it can erode your margins.
For more supply chain expert advice, watch Newman’s full video, “How to avoid supply chain disruptions” below as he shares his best insights for manufacturers to get around this vexing challenge.
Challenge: Inventory uncertainty
Supply chain disruptions naturally lead to worries about inventory. Manufacturers who have been committed to Lean methodologies have been tempted to stockpile inventory, just in case. But that’s a slippery slope that can erode your efficiency and margins.
It’s about adding inventory to your sales and operations planning process. It’s a powerful way to balance your inventory, achieving the optimal level between not enough and too much. Between just-in-time and just-in-case. It helps you settle back into Lean, eliminate waste and ramp up your efficiency.
The SIOP planning horizon should be at least a rolling 14-month period. We recommend that our clients update their plans monthly. Some do it more often than that. The point is covering a sufficient span of time to make sure the necessary resources will be available when you need them. The plans take into account projections made by the sales and marketing departments and the resources available from manufacturing, engineering, purchasing and finance. All of that together works toward hitting the company’s goals and objectives.
If you’d like to learn more about SIOP, download our (free) eBook, “Sales, Inventory & Operations Planning: It’s About Time.”
2022 will present its share of challenges for manufacturing. To talk with the experts at USCCG about how to solve them, contact us anytime.
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It seems most people struggle when it comes to creating an effective resume. People don’t seem to like to talk about their personal and professional achievements. However, if you want to make a career change or earn that promotion, then you need to be able to write an eye-catching resume that will attract attention. This is including a position for a manufacturing operations manager. Here are six tips for creating the perfect operations manager resume that will aid you in getting the job.
1. Understand the position you are applying for before writing your resume
Seems like a no brainer, right? “A lot of job candidates don’t really understand the position they are hiring for, and it costs them the job,” says Mary Kreger, a career blogger at Paperfellows and Essayroo. So, before sitting down make sure you understand the duties of a manufacturing operations manager and makes sure those are responsibilities you are willing to take on.
2. Decide on the format
Once you are sure you can do the job of an operations manager, the next step is to figure out which resume format you would like to use; reverse-chronological, functional or combination. For an operations management position, it’s recommended that you use the reverse-chronological format as it’s the most popular within this field. This is the most popular because it shows off all of your most recent achievements first, highlighting those skills that will make you great at an operations management position.
3. Pick the right layout
After you have decided on a format, you then need to make sure your layout is correct. For an operations management resume here are some layout recommendations:
- Margins: 1” margins on all sides
- Line spacing: 1 or 1.15 line spacing
- Font size: use either 11-12pt for normal text and 14-16pt for headers
- Length of your resume: Do not go over one page if at all possible.
These layout tips will help make your resume easy to follow and legible for the hiring department.
4. Include the right information
Now it’s time to write the resume. However, what should you include and what shouldn’t you include? “These are good questions to ask yourself. If you have been working in a similar field and are trying for a promotion within your company, chances are you probably have many years of job experience that could be relevant,” says Carl Carey, a writer at Boomessays and Lia Help. However, it could be way too much information to condense down to one page.
The main sections on your resume should be the following:
- Contact information: this should include your name, job title, email address, phone number, and a link to your digital portfolio if you have one
- Work Experience: any work experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for
- Portfolio: You can make it an entire section or just include a link to it here.
- Education: Include where and when studied and what was your overall GPA. You can also include any honours or courses you took.
- Skills: Hiring managers usually have a checklist of required skills, so if you skip this part, more than likely your resume will go straight to the ‘no’ pile. List your skills and how they are relevant to an operations manager position.
5. Proofread your resume
Before you move onto submitting your finished resume, you should make sure that you have no typos, grammatical errors, and all the information you included is correct. When you take the time to edit your resume, you can save yourself from looking uneducated or not getting a call back because you typed your phone number wrong.
If you struggle with editing your own work, tools like Resumention, OXEssays, Bigassignments, Elite Assignment Help, Best Essay Services, Simplegrad can help.
6. Write a matching cover letter
After you put all the work into crafting a great operations manager resume, don’t forget to write a matching cover letter. Cover letters demonstrate that you want to work for that specific company not just any company, making them important to the hiring process.
Using the right format, layout, and including the right information in your operations manager resume will ensure you a fair chance at getting hired.
*This article was written by Emily Henry. Emily is a writer at Academic Writing Service and Essay Services. She writes about resume writing. Emily is also a blogger at Do my homework UK.
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