No End In Sight For Labor Shortages...

The U.S. economic outlook is healthy, but as we move into the new year, employers nationwide are faced with the same dilemma: too many open jobs, not enough workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported US unemployment to be a 10-year low by the end of 2017, remaining at 4.1%. Still, the public and private sectors added an average of 175,000 jobs each month.


An industry that is especially hurting is the manufacturing industry, which according to The Manufacturing Institute, is expected to see a huge shortage of 2 million workers by 2020. Rocket Industrial's Automation & Robotics Engineer, Mike DeBroux, has been seeing the rise of labor-related issues to be a major driving force to automate facilities quickly. He has worked with various manufacturers that are facing many of the following issues and have turned to automation solutions to remain competitive.


Finding people

America’s businesses are growing, but the labor force is diminishing. The skills gap continues to grow with the inability to find works to fill specialized roles, but even jobs with basic requirements have become hard to fill. Raising compensation rates and offering more attractive benefits isn’t enough to combat the issue. This is especially difficult for smaller operations, who may not be able to find the manpower to grow their production levels. A survey done by U.S. Bank shows that 61 percent of small business owners are experiencing moderate to extreme difficulty finding quality employees to expand their business.


Keeping people

It’s a competitive market. People are often leaving their current employer to make more money elsewhere, even if it’s a small amount. Also, workers don’t enjoy doing mindless, repetitive jobs for eight hours straight. Automation allows for these workers to be reallocated to more rewarding tasks that require human intelligence.


Ergonomics, injuries, and safety

Repetitive motions, heavy lifting, and hazardous environments put a strain on human workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported over 400,000 injuries were reported in the manufacturing industry in 2016. Automation can eliminate many of these health and safety issues by relieving workers of heavy lifting and routine tasks that overexert or strain the muscles.


Performance bottlenecks and quality consistency

Workers don’t always operate at 100%. Fatigue sets in, mistakes happen, which lead to reduced productivity, hold ups, and damages, ultimately leading to a loss of time and money. Automation remains consistent and any downtime can be quickly remedied or often times, prevented entirely.


What’s the solution?

The labor shortage is real and becoming more apparent every year. The problem isn’t going to go away. The number of workers retiring will grow along with a lack of skilled workers, and younger workers lacking the desire to work in manufacturing. If you have less labor, you’re going to have less growth and you need to find a way to compensate for this by increasing productivity. Embracing technology and automation now can serve as an immediate solution, while also being a competitive advantage.


Automation Case Study

Automation solves problems. Rocket Industrial excels in discovering projects, applying our experience to the issue, and providing creative solutions that fit your business entirely. Contact our engineers by email or by phone at 1-800-826-4405 to explore automation opportunities for your business.