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Updated by Charles Bystock on 09/28/2023
labor manufacturing

Although the labor market in the United States is difficult for many industries, manufacturing is one of the hardest hit. According to research from Deloitte, the U.S. manufacturing industry is “expected to have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030.” These shortages fall across both entry-level and skilled positions alike. As a result, “even if every unemployed person with experience in the durable goods manufacturing industry were employed, the industry would only fill half of the vacant jobs.

The market outlook is bleak, which is why many manufacturers are turning to IT outsourcing to address their staffing shortages. While IT outsourcing adds value for manufacturers in numerous ways, the following three benefits address staffing shortages directly:

Filling the gap left by retiring workers

Manufacturing is undergoing a rapid digital transformation in workflows, processes, and IT infrastructure. Outsourcing your IT can help transform and maintain your systems and infrastructure in this fast-changing world. As more workers retire, IT outsourcing can address IT staff shortages by allowing companies to access a larger pool of IT professionals. Many manufacturers struggle to find and retain qualified IT staff. By outsourcing these tasks to a third-party provider, manufacturing companies can benefit from the expertise of highly skilled professionals.

IT outsourcing can also provide cost savings. By outsourcing their IT tasks, manufacturers can avoid the expense of hiring and training their own IT staff, which can be especially valuable for smaller companies or those operating on a tight budget.

IT outsourcing can even have an impact on manufacturing workers. As more companies turn to automation and digitalization, there is a growing demand for IT professionals with expertise in areas like robotics, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. This shift can potentially lead to job losses for manufacturing workers who may be replaced by machines or automated systems.

On the other hand, IT outsourcing can also create new job opportunities for manufacturing workers who are willing to learn new skills and adapt to changing technologies. For example, workers who are trained in IT and data analytics may be able to find new roles within the manufacturing sector, such as working on smart factories or developing new technologies.

improving automation

Improving automation to increase efficiency

With declining workforce numbers, IT outsourcing allows your team to develop and implement the necessary automation or artificial intelligence (AI) to support your workforce and increase efficiency. Not only can these solutions make your employees more effective and productive, but they can also reduce liability and injuries, improve workplace processes, and strengthen job satisfaction, leading to increased employee retention.

For example, consider the rising use of automation or “co-bots” working alongside human employees. These co-bots can reduce the required headcount, alleviating staffing concerns while simultaneously improving productivity and safety. This is only one example of the automation technology manufacturers can harness to improve their processes and decrease their staffing needs. Other options include:

  • Robotic process automation (RPA)
  • Production optimization
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Machine vision

IT outsourcing teams can implement these and other AI technologies to reduce the burden on internal teams, optimize efficiency, and protect your company against declining workforce numbers.

Upskilling or reskilling workers

In the manufacturing industry, reskilling or upskilling existing workers is becoming increasingly important. As technology continues to transform manufacturing processes, existing employees must be reskilled to understand and use updated tools and technologies. Likewise, new employees must be upskilled as technology transforms to create more skilled manufacturing workers.

Outsourcing your IT can make growth easier. For example, an IT outsourcing partner can provide the necessary technology to implement national or global programs for reskilling or training new employees. Non-core tasks can be offloaded onto outsourcing partners to allow internal staff more bandwidth for developing and providing upskilling and reskilling strategies.

While this may sound like another initiative your organization doesn’t have time for or can’t support, consider McKinsey’s research on how “unfilled jobs were a primary reason that seven in ten companies fell behind in scheduled production.” Labor shortages are bad news not only for the production line but also for the bottom line in general. Therefore, manufacturers must consider what they can do to fill the gaps left by aging workers, create new skilled workers for open roles, and harness technology to reduce the reliance on skilled labor.

A good IT outsourcing provider can offer support and solutions for each of these stages, whether through offloading support and maintenance or by developing AI and technological solutions to fill gaps directly. To discover how to leverage IT outsourcing for the staffing shortages you are encountering, connect with a Windsor Group expert today.