During the most recent PACK EXPO International in Chicago, we talked with more than 140 packaging and processing professionals from operations and engineering, including CPGs, contract packagers and OEMs, about challenges they face in workforce developments, along with possible solutions they see to the issues raised.
Some of the major challenges:
- Community colleges and technical schools need to provide adequate training for a more versatile maintenance and operations skill set.
- How to foster workforce engagement to improve uptime reliability.
- Balancing the increasing use of robotics to offset labor shortages.
- Lack of availability of skilled talent at all levels, especially where automation is involved.
- Resistance to change among the workforce.
- Uncertainty regarding skill requirements for the future.
- Dedicating training time—taking people off the production floor to train.
- Finding—and affording—high-quality labor.
Solutions being considered or implemented:
- Substantially upgrading technical training.
- Connecting with teachers/professors in local community colleges to make them aware of our needs and help us connect with their students.
- Actively participating in and sponsoring FIRST Robotics programs and other events involving students to recruit them as interns.
- Inviting students to see what a career in manufacturing could be like for them.
- Partnering with charter schools and other educational institutions to feed internship programs.
- Looking at the traditional European model of apprenticeships.
- Expanding mentorship programs.
- Making training videos in-house (YouTube) where seasoned veterans demonstrate proper techniques, procedures, etc., in production operations.
- Documenting the ROI of technical training more effectively to show that it clearly works.
- Using OEM-produced videos to help operators with training and troubleshooting of equipment.
Learn more about key manufacturing challenges that were discussed during Vision 2025, and download the entire free 20-page report.
Learn more about PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2019 here.