Ever since the first industrial revolution, manufacturing has been the sector leading the transformation of societies around the world. Though we’ve seen a slight decline in manufacturing demand since the 1970s, when the industry contributed to 25% of the UK’s GDP, the United Kingdom is still the 8th largest manufacturing nation in the world.
As the new year looms closer, manufacturing experts are left to wonder what 2019, and the fourth industrial revolution, will bring to the marketplace. Already, we’ve begun to see how the inefficient shop floor of the past is gradually being replaced by smarter, more digitally-enhanced strategies for the future.
As specialists in the manufacturing field, the team at Sigma explored the latest trends appearing in the industry, to prepare your team for 2019.
1. Business Strategies and Employee Roles Will Change
Positions in the manufacturing space are growing more diverse and demanding, as companies search for ways to accelerate their time to market and improve customer satisfaction. The average manufacturing technician doesn’t just “manufacture” anymore, they also innovate, collaborate, and even sell their solutions to others.
In 2019, manufacturing companies seeking out opportunities for differentiation will continue to explore new service offerings. For instance, General Electric began building on their jet engine, turbine, and medical equipment sales last year with new asset management services. As your business starts to grow and branch into new markets, remember to plan for:
- Training and mentorship to support existing employees
- Additional hiring strategies to source and retain new talent
- The creation of new roles within your company
2. Data Will Play More of a Role in Manufacturing
Disruptive concepts like analytics and big data began in the technology market. Now, they’re moving into every industry with companies trying to make more informed growth decisions. Organisations with an eye on the future may find that developing their teams means hiring people who know how to turn everyday business metrics into actionable insights.
In 2019, it’s likely that we’ll see more companies searching for candidates with a history in manufacturing and an understanding of the emerging analytics world. Used correctly, a strategy for ongoing analytics can help your business to improve in almost every aspect, including:
- Workforce productivity
- Machine utilisation
- Time to market
- Design and production
- Cost reduction
- Supply chain management
Some manufacturing organisations are even beginning to align analytical strategies with other disruptive technology like IoT. Sensors in your plant equipment can reveal data that shows how often a piece of plant equipment needs to be serviced, for instance.
3. A Commitment to Constant Education Will Be Essential
The manufacturing space is evolving faster today than ever before. Smart companies know that they need to embrace the change to stay ahead. According to a study by PwC, 72% of manufacturing companies expect to be “digitally advanced” by 2020.
With so much transformation taking place in the industry, modern manufacturing employees will need to be open to constant training and upskilling to meet with new demands. For instance:
- Companies hoping to automate more repetitive tasks may need to teach their employees how to use AI assistants to manage certain jobs, while they focus their skills on challenges that require a human touch.
- Businesses that want to track their performance through IoT sensors in their manufacturing machines will need employees that can read the output on analytical devices.
- Organisations that hope to enhance their product development strategies may teach their teams how to use augmented reality to work together on creating new ideas in a virtual environment.
Now that the fourth industrial revolution is here, the manufacturing space will require agile leaders, capable of delivering the forward-thinking support their teams need.
4. Everyone will Become More Comfortable with Technology
Technology is everywhere in the manufacturing space today. According to the Boston consulting group, manufacturing teams will spend $267 billion on IoT technologies alone by the end of next year. For candidates to thrive in this revitalised industry, they’ll need to be comfortable with both traditional practices, and new technology.
In 2019 employers will need to focus on building familiarity with technology as part of their company culture. This might mean introducing candidates to the technology they’ll be using as part of an interview process or explaining the benefits of innovation before presenting it to the team.
For instance, a lot of today’s employees are concerned that things like automation and robotics may end up replacing human jobs. However, the truth is that most manufacturing companies are relying on robots to supplement their human workers. With AI getting rid of repetitive and tedious tasks, future manufacturers will be able to spend more of their career on the work they love. Technology may even make manufacturing a more attractive job for future graduates.
5. Recruitment Processes Will Grow More Refined
Finally, as the manufacturing sector continues to evolve and the demand for new, advanced skillsets increases, companies will need to work harder to attract and retain the talent they need. The easiest way for modern businesses to improve their hiring strategy is to work with a specialist like Sigma Recruitment and leverage their knowledge of changing candidates.
Other useful strategies will include:
- Using behavioural testing: The CIPD suggests that behavioural testing might be crucial to finding the ideal talent for your team. With support from Sigma Recruitment, you can track down the people most likely to thrive in the changing manufacturing environment.
- Enhancing the interview process: Look for ways to optimise your interview process by asking competency-based questions to gauge your candidate’s proficiency for a role. You can also introduce potential employees to the technology they’ll be using and ask if they have any questions about it.
- Embracing diversity: As the manufacturing space becomes more diverse, the talent in your team will need to broaden too. Look beyond people with an extensive history in your sector, consider graduate employees and avoid making biased decisions.
It’s also a good idea to implement an onboarding strategy that will welcome your people into your team and help them access any additional training they might need to take advantage of the latest trends. Remember to show your people a future in your business too, by giving them a development plan they can use to track their progress.
About Sigma Recruitment
We are ‘South Wales Recruitment Specialists’ based in Cardiff, Wales.
We offer a full range of permanent recruitment solutions to many of South Wales’ and the South Wests’ leading manufacturing, technical, automotive and life science organisations. This includes companies in Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Ebbw Vale, Port Talbot, Bridgend and the surrounding areas in South Wales.
Sigma Recruitment has one of the largest and most comprehensive recruitment candidate databases in the area. To get in touch with our team call us now on 02920 450 100. Alternatively, contact us here.