How to fill the labor gap without sacrificing quality or your bottom line
It’s often considered an oxymoron to say automation and craftsmanship in the same sentence. But imagine running your shop without your CNC or your CAD/CAM engineering software? It would be nearly impossible to find skilled workers without those tools to facilitate their craft.
Nowadays, with the challenge of labor shortage, not only is it difficult to find good employees, keeping them is a whole other problem. With a large percentage of your current workforce reaching retirement age within the next 5-10 years, and a lack of interest in trades with millennials, there’s a large gap to be filled.
It’s why it makes so much sense for small and medium companies to invest wisely in new technology to fill those gaps. It doesn’t have to be a costly investment or a new incredibly complex system that will take years to get a return on investment. In other words, no need for a bazooka to kill a fly. It’s a matter of finding the right solutions to fill your immediate needs, empower your current workforce, and attract the next generation. And stay productive and profitable.
If you’re like many SMBs, you probably rely heavily on your existing workers to train new ones, sharing what’s referred to as “tribal knowledge”. That knowledge of your company culture, products, and processes is invaluable, and why retaining employees is so essential to your success and path forward. But that also means your best workers are taking time away from their jobs to train others. Imagine having technology that amps up both, so your best employees have more time to focus on their crafts with solutions do be faster and more efficient, while at the same time having intuitive software that can get new hires up and running in just hours!
Instead of driving your already worked-to-the-hilt staff to put in overtime to meet unmet demand, imagine empowering your staff to get more done faster! You don’t necessarily need to hire more people when you can boost efficiency, productivity, and upskill with technology in just a few hours. Technology can also automate dull, tedious, dirty, and repetitive tasks, some of which can help minimize injuries on the shop floor, and eliminate a lot of manual errors that often add up and cut into profits..
Technology unifies your workforce into a team all working with the same timely information, a seamlessly orchestrated process, eliminating frustrations and friction caused by lost information or miscommunications. With unified information and a single source of truth for every project, everyone has access to the real-time reality. This unity among employees and access to information also means that someone could step up or step in when there’s a a big push. You can upskill someone in an hour if needed!
Here are 5 ways you can reduce your labor burden by maximizing talent and capabilities:
1) Empower employees to be more efficient
If your workforce can focus on their job rather than time spent training, or searching for parts and information, or fixing manual errors, more work will get done better, and faster.
2) Improve processes to reduce churn
Employee burnout, work-related injuries, or simply just being unfulfilled happen often when staff is overworked or feels unappreciated and unsafe.
3) Retain skilled workers by making them happy
Enabling your staff to do the job they love better and faster, and easily learn new skills, will encourage them to stick around and spread the word about their great work environment.
4) Attract the next generation
Even young tradespeople rely on digital in their day-to-day, so working in a shop that invests in automation and innovation fills this real-life expectation.
5) Provide a safer environment
Less manual labor, less risk on the production floor, less human errors, and less work-related injuries, all add up to big wins in everyone’s column.
You can’t control all the industry challenges that come your way, supply chain being a perfect example right now, but you can take charge of labor shortage issues by empowering skilled workers with the best tools and digital solutions. In return, you build a culture of like-minded people who share your values and work ethic and can help sustain the reputation you’ve worked so hard to establish.
Investing in technology is investing in your workforce and it is also investing in the long term sustainability of your business. It’s providing them all the best tools so they can do what they love, and love what they do.