Over the past two years, the manufacturing industry has been hit with challenges, from supply chain unpredictability to labor shortages. While these challenges have created turbulence in production lines and warehouse facilities worldwide, they have also led to new insights that can help manufacturers become more agile in their operations.
Staffing agencies, whose role is to alleviate labor concerns from their clients, can play a huge part in helping companies achieve this agility and rebound from past economic disruption in 2022. By overcoming labor shortage obstacles from the last two years, we have learned the importance of flexibility when it comes to staffing and gained foresight on how to succeed in an unpredictable manufacturing climate. With our acquired knowledge, below are four trends to watch in 2022 for the manufacturing industry related to staffing.
1. Overcoming Supply Chain Instability
From 2020 into 2021, manufacturers across the globe have been hit with supply chain disruptions fueled by material shortages and an unstable labor force. While there needs to be a continued focus on communication between manufacturers to break through bottlenecks in the supply chain, the partnership between staffing agencies and manufacturing facilities will also be essential in 2022 in helping to navigate the unstable labor force.
Staffing flexibility can mitigate supply chain gridlock while reducing overhead for manufacturers. If a client is experiencing weeks without product but is suddenly hit with backorders when they need staff, temporary staffing can fill the void, providing extra employees on short notice. This means the client does not need to pay for having employees around when they don’t have work to do. As shown in our “Staffing to Meet Emergency Needs” case study, strong client relationships allow our team to find skilled employees in quick turnaround times, creating stable labor forces for clients so their manufacturing processes are not stalled.
2. Averting Workforce Shortages
As a shortage of available workers continues to affect hiring across all industries, staffing organizations need to ensure that they are not only practicing proper recruitment methods to fill open positions, but that they are placing an emphasis on employee retention. According to HR Dive, focusing on the employee experience by conducting opinion polls, being open for feedback and change, and upskilling workers through proper training are just some actions that help to boost talent retention.
Proper training ensures that employees feel comfortable and confident in their position while boosting job commitment. At AdvantaStaff, we have implemented an orientation that extends beyond general warehouse procedures, to cover important areas such as manufacturing safety protocols and assignment-specific first day training. By assigning an account manager to each employee, we provide a resource for staff to give feedback, receive performance reviews, and advance in their position. Also, we acknowledge employees with recognitions like “Employee of the Month” and attendance bonuses to maintain a positive workplace culture, leading to higher retention.
3. Digital Transformations On and Off The Manufacturing Floor
Digital advancements continue to influence the light manufacturing industry year over year, with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies changing the workflow of warehouse management, according to Manufacturing Global. While increased automation will continue in 2022, employees should not fear replacement, but instead be empowered. New machines will change how employees complete their tasks, and employees will establish new skills that are driven by data.
Off of the warehouse floor, the use of technologies will also be essential in 2022 to increase the flexibility, resilience, and risk management of staffing resources. Mobile texting capabilities, which is just one of the technologies AdvantaStaff utilizes, allows for rapid communication with their employees to inform them of alerts, real-time updates, and essential information. Additionally, the use of social media recruitment beyond Indeed and LinkedIn will be critical in 2022 as Generation Z enters the workforce. As new talent is essential to fill the generational skills gap, expanded digital advertising campaigns on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have helped to successfully reach a younger audience of workers.
4. Treating COVID as a New Normal
Over the past two years, it has become apparent that COVID is not going away any time soon. While there are new strains of the virus continuously popping up, there is hope that an increase in immunity within the population will eventually lead to COVID being comparable to influenza strains that circulate today, as stated in this article from TIME Magazine. Accepting that COVID will never be completely eradicated does not mean that we stop our safety precautions, but instead that we continue to practice hygienic procedures while investing in new learning tools to prepare for disruptions caused by COVID. AI and machine learning technologies enable us to plan ahead in uncertain times by forecasting demand and inventory positioning, as stated by Manufacturing Global. This means that manufacturers can better predict their labor demand, communicate needs with staffing companies, and be prepared for fluctuating labor demand.
While 2022 seems poised to present continued challenges, working with the right staffing partner to navigate disruptions can help manufacturing facilities remain agile. If you are interested in exploring how AdvantaStaff can positively impact your day-to-day production operations and bottom line, contact our client services manager, JT Wauford, to see how we can help you get ahead in 2022.