Plant managers increasingly report their inability to find qualified workers to fill positions is becoming the new norm. This challenge is not unique to any single industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics indicates a significant gap in the number of jobs vs. potential applicants at nearly 500,000. This gap is predicted to widen over the next 10 years to nearly 2.4 million unfilled positions.
Younger generations of workers are not even considering manufacturing positions. “Earn a college degree, move to a major city, and land a white‐collar job in the knowledge economy—that’s the path many millennials have been taught to follow.” The misconception that factory work is dirty and doesn’t the have potential to grow and advance their careers still prevails. Factory work has advanced greatly in the past two generations. Robots have become standard additions to end of line automation greatly reducing the number of workers required to palletize products.
The tight labor market is driving workers to change jobs at an ever-increasing pace. The ability to attract, train and retain workers with sufficient skill to do manual work is a challenge for plant managers throughout the U.S. “We’re hiring people on Monday, we train them Tuesday and Wednesday, and we find their badge often in the trash on Thursday or Friday. We never see them again.” This has a very real impact on yield and disruption in the workflow creating a lack of efficiency.
These three challenges can be helped specifically at the end of the manufacturing line through robotic palletizing. Robots fill the employment gap for factories struggling to find qualified workers. With the ever-widening gap for labor at manufacturing plants, robotic palletizing is an easy way to increase line efficiency allowing workers to be re-tasked in other areas. Robots actually create new jobs for controls engineering that have higher technical demands and may be more appealing to the younger generations.