Over the past few years, organizations have been struggling to fill manufacturing jobs because they cannot find qualified applicants. To close the skills gap, there is a need to address both demand and supply sides of the equation.
Older and younger IT workers often struggle to collaborate effectively. Most organizations find themselves with two islands of employees; the older generation handling business applications such as ERP and related servers and the younger generation handling networking and emerging technologies like cloud computing.
As organizations adopt new technologies like cloud, mobile and social, the older and younger generations must work together to further develop ERP applications. Some of the solutions proposed on bridging the skills gap in manufacturing are centered on education.
Creating Educational Interest in Manufacturing
The Manufacturing Institute and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) are working with EverFi to produce more sophisticated STEM training materials for K-12 schools and beyond.
The EverFi program will use interactive digital learning courses to provide students with technical skills that will make them more competitive globally. The program will also provide information about exciting, high-growth careers in the manufacturing industry and the training required.
Other proposals are based on recruitment, such as finding creative ways to attract millennials into the manufacturing industry workforce.
However, manufacturers like to take control of activities related to the workplace and these proposed solutions are advanced by non-manufacturing partners. ERP is a staple of the manufacturing industry and still plays an important role in many organizations. So, how can ERP help to reduce the skills in the manufacturing industries?
Role of ERP in Bridging the Manufacturing Skills Gap
Social, mobile and cloud technologies are increasingly being used in ERP solutions. These technologies provide opportunities for younger and older IT professionals to collaborate and learn from one another. Below are some ways through which a modern ERP can help to bridge the skills gap in the manufacturing sector:
1. Break Down the Walls
The days when IT was for two separate camps are long gone. Organizations need to break down walls separating the older workers running ERP and the rest of the IT team handling other technologies. New technologies such as cloud and virtualization have evolved and are being integrated into ERP applications. This provides a good opportunity for older and younger workers to learn from each other.
ERP solutions can help the older and younger IT personnel collaborate and better optimize their budgets by combining the same acquisition for multiple types of applications. Moreover, when knowledge and ideas are exchange freely, virtualization applications can be taken to new heights. On the same note, social media can be embraced as a best practice and existing ERP systems can be fortified with powerful capabilities such as business intelligence and analytics.
2. Working to Improve the ERP Processes
Modern ERPs are no longer the complicated applications they were decades ago that primarily focused on manufacturing, financials and business processes. Today’s technologies are breaking new ground for ERP, allowing for new user experiences and richer interfaces like voice and touch screens.
It takes collaboration between the younger and older IT personnel to evolve processes and ensure they comply with government regulations, industry standards, and customer requirements. With their deeper knowledge of mobile and virtualization, younger workers can make a significant contribution in the evolution process. Working together, the two factions can make the next generation of ERPs easier to use like Facebook is on a tablet.
3. Developing and Training Millennials
Apart from attracting younger workers to manufacturing, ERP can also play a role in the development and training of the individuals. Modern ERPs can be integrated with developing and learning models linked to the direction that the company is headed.
For example, the manufacturing ERP can be linked to the processes happening on the floor and can recommend training modules for new workers based on the skills they lack. The trainee employees can then be recommended to work on upcoming orders that will cement the skills they have learned. They employees can undertake the orders under the supervision of more experienced workers.
Attracting younger workers to the manufacturing industry has to be done by all stakeholders, from organizations to ERP vendors.