How to Overcome Labor Shortages in Manufacturing with Smart Factory Technology

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By Peggy Fonrose - March 31, 2022

It’s harder than ever before to find the right talent for the shop floor. The labor shortage is real and widespread—and the manufacturing industry isn’t exempt. To continue to meet demand and stay competitive, manufacturers have turned to digital technology to overcome the labor shortage.


Not only can smart factories beat the labor shortage using Industry 4.0 technology, but they can also make all production more productive, lean, and efficient; better manage workforces; and improve overall performance for a better work environment.


How to Overcome Labor Shortages Using Smart Factory Technology

It’s easy to think of digital factory efficiencies coming in the form of radically futuristic robotics and AI replacing humans. But the efficiencies of a Smart Factory look a lot more subtle. With a healthy Wi-Fi connection and the right data collection technology, manufacturers can use real-time data and customized reporting to get a microscopically detailed view of factory performance—all of which can help factories combat the labor shortage.  


Use Digital Technology to Manage Factory Workforces

If you use monitoring software, automatic data collection, and data analytics in your factory, you’ll get a real-time picture of the performance of not just floor equipment but also employee behavior. Getting a real view of when and how equipment is started and handled, which shifts have the most defects, and where there is hidden unplanned downtime can help you make your workforce more efficient.


Once your Smart Factory analysis shows where improvements can be made, take a lean manufacturing approach, and improve human processes the same way you would production processes. The same methods you use to reduce factory waste can be used to improve employee processes. Take your current training programs and map their value stream to get the same improvements in your workforce as you do production processes.


Use the Labor Shortage in Manufacturing to Learn to Do More with Less

The labor shortage in manufacturing is a big problem for many, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Using smart sensors and a Wi-Fi connection, factories can monitor performance, collect data, and analyze it for better insights that lead to streamlined solutions.


When you have reportable, actionable data, you can make the best possible decisions about production lines. With the right Smart Factory solution, you’ll be able to monitor every piece of equipment and process or just the ones you’ve determined are the most crucial KPIs, such as downtime, throughput, and attainment. You can measure what is crucial to your organization so you can make the best possible improvements.


Many factories have discovered that the labor shortage they were dealing with wasn’t much of a shortage—it was more of an inefficient process and performance problem. When organizations can continually find ways to reduce downtime and improve throughput, labor shortages become much less of a problem if they remain a problem at all.


Create a Better Place to Work and Attract the Best Workers

These days, a job isn’t just a job. Employees are looking for more than a paycheck. They want to feel good about going to work every day—and nobody ever feels good about working in an environment that is inefficient and chaotic. 


When operations are running as smoothly as possible, your employees are doing their best and going home with a sense of accomplishment, not defeat that they failed to meet goals again. Workers who constantly meet goals, perform well, and get rewarded for it are more likely to not just stay at their job but also care about their job.


Creating a healthy, functional environment is the best way to prevent a labor shortage in your factory. And the best way to do that is to collect, analyze, and use data.


Learn How to Use Manufacturing Excellence to Beat the Labor Shortage

Industry 4.0 is here—and there’s no going back. The only way for factories to succeed is to go digital and embrace Smart Factory solutions. Even without a labor shortage, Smart Factory analytics help manufacturers go from trying to keep up to leading the pack. But given that we are clearly well into a significant labor shortage in manufacturing, it’s time to use Industry 4.0 technology to make manufacturing more efficient and give workers a place they love to work.


Worximity’s Smart Factory solutions are helping manufacturers around the globe find the efficiencies they need to battle the labor shortage. Learn more about what Smart Factory analytics can do for your organization—download our e-book now.

Smart Factory Analytics Ebook


Worximity provides simple realtime technologies to solve food processor pains such as downtime, rejects, waste, overtime; helping them gain profit velocity by improving throughput, yield and OEE.

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