Upskilling Manufacturing Talent: The Key to Factory…

Upskilling Manufacturing Talent: The Key to Factory…

Jun 29, 2016

“Upskilling Manufacturing Talent: The Key to Factory of the Future” By Robert McCutcheon, US Industrial Products Leader at PwC I’ve been talking about how emerging digital technology is going to disrupt our manufacturing industry, but one question remains: Who is going to know how to work the technology? So today, I’m here to talk about talent. PwC and the Manufacturing Institute surveyed 120 U.S. manufacturers to get a closer look at the talent picture and see how advanced manufacturing technologies are impacting workforce dynamics. Our survey shows that manufacturers are working to close the skills gap, but we’re still in the early stages. Manufacturers are under greater pressure to produce faster and more productively by using advanced manufacturing technologies like 3D printing or robotics. So naturally, there is a growing need for qualified talent to drive this effort. What we found through our survey is that manufacturers today are either developing a talent pipeline to exploit advanced manufacturing technology, or are in the process of ramping up their efforts. Here are some key findings from our study: Manufacturers are not speaking in a unified voice on the skills shortage issue – PwC’s survey reveals that 44 percent believe there is no skills shortage presently but will see a shortage in the next three years, and 25 percent believe a skills shortage has already peaked, while 29 percent believe the skills shortage is worsening and will continue to worsen over the next three years. Manufacturers are struggling to secure talent to exploit advanced technology – Two out of three manufacturers are encountering difficulty in finding high-tech skilled personnel, while only 13 percent of manufactures said they have encountered no difficulty in acquiring talent to exploit advanced manufacturing technology. Robots are not stealing manufacturing jobs – More than one-third of U.S. manufacturers believe that the adoption of advanced manufacturing technologies will result in their hiring additional employees, while 45 percent said it will have no impact on hiring. Only 17 percent said it will result in hiring fewer employees. Advanced technology is changing job requirements and descriptions – Nearly three-quarters of non-factory floor level jobs like R&D, mechanical engineering, and prototype design, are being filled by those with post-secondary school educations....

Productivity in America unexpectedly rose in the third quarter

Productivity in America unexpectedly rose in the third quarter

Nov 11, 2015

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters, Business Insider WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. nonfarm productivity unexpectedly rose in the third quarter as a decline in self-employed workers contributed to overall hours worked falling for the first time in six years, restraining labor-related production costs. The Labor Department said on Thursday that productivity, which measures hourly output per worker, increased at a 1.6 percent annual rate after increasing at an upwardly revised 3.5 percent rate in the second quarter. Manufacturing productivity increased at its fastest pace in four years, led by the durable goods sector. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast productivity falling at a 0.2 percent rate last quarter after expanding at a previously reported 3.3 percent pace in the second quarter. Despite the surprise rise in the third quarter, the trend in productivity remained weak. Productivity increased only 0.4 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014. Economists blame softer productivity on lack of investment, which they say has led to an unprecedented decline in capital intensity. While weak productivity has boosted employment growth as companies hired more workers to increase output, economists say it has contributed to stagnant wages and lowered the economy’s speed limit. Economists say persistently anemic productivity could continue to limit wage growth even as the labor market approaches full employment. In the third quarter, hours worked declined at a 0.5 percent rate, the first decline since the third quarter of 2009. Unit labor costs, the price of labor per single unit of output, increased at a 1.4 percent rate in the third quarter. They had dropped at revised 1.8 percent rate in the second quarter, which was previously reported as a 1.4 percent pace of decline. Unit labor costs rose 2.0 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014. Compensation per hour rose at 3.0 percent rate in the third quarter after increasing at a 1.7 percent rate in the second quarter. Compensation was up 2.4 percent compared to the third quarter of 2014.   (Reporting By Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci) Read the original article on Reuters. Copyright 2015. Follow Reuters onTwitter....

7 Silent Project Killers

7 Silent Project Killers

Mar 25, 2015

By Jacob Beningo, EDN Network There are few things more discouraging to an engineer than pouring their heart, sweat and tears into a project only to have it fail. Failure can and does provide insights and growth experiences to those involved but the loss of time and effort can strike a devastating blow. There are many reasons that an embedded systems project can fail but there are seven key indicators that a project is dying a slow and silent death. #7 – Team turnover  Every company experiences employee or contractor turn over but excessive turnover of key personal can be a leading indicator that a project is doomed for failure. There are many reasons why turnover can have a detrimental effect on the project. First, it has a psychological effect on other team members that can decrease productivity. Second, the loss of key personal can result in historical and critical information being lost forever, which will slow down the development. Finally, replacing team members requires training and bringing up to speed a new team member. This can be a distraction that takes others away from development work, with the end result an increase in development costs and delivery timeframe. #6 – Go stop go syndrome There is an old saying that children are taught; “Don’t cry wolf.” The saying is a warning to not raise false alarms. This warning is ignored in projects that have a “GO! STOP! GO!” cycle. A manager, client, or some other entity pushes his team hard, claiming that the project has to get out the door by a certain date. Developers work weekends and put in extra effort. Then, just as quickly as the big push came the project is stopped dead in its tracks. Months later it is once again an emergency. “Hurry we have to ship by X!” And the same thing happens again. The repeated urgency followed by stopping the project that is later urgently started again has a psychological effect on the development team. The developers come to no longer believe that there is any urgency. In fact, they start to get the mindset that this project isn’t a serious project and that it will...

5 Issues Facing Small Businesses in 2013

By: Joyce Rosenberg, Associated Press, NBCNews.com In 2013, small business owners will contend with many of the same issues that made it hard to run their companies over the last 12 months. They’re also heading into the new year with a lot of uncertainty. It’s unlikely that negotiations in Congress will resolve all of lawmakers’ disagreements over tax and budget issues that affect small businesses. And there are still many questions about the implications of the health care law for small companies. That points to continued caution — and perhaps slow hiring — among the nation’s small companies. “Uncertainty is the bane of every small business,” says Scott Shane, a professor of entrepreneurship at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland. “Their only rational response is to pull in their horns and slow down.” Small businesses aren’t likely to get much encouragement from the economy. It’s expected to grow by no more than 3 percent in 2013, according to the Federal Reserve. That’s a moderate pace, better than the 1.7 percent that the economy grew during the first three quarters of 2012. But it’s also far from robust. Here’s a look at some of the issues facing small businesses in the coming year: Taxes Lawmakers are still haggling over what’s called the fiscal cliff, the combination of billions of dollars in tax increases and budget cuts. Even if Congress reaches an agreement, small business owners won’t have the certainty they need, according to Todd McCracken, president of the National Small Business Association, a group that lobbies on behalf of small companies. “It almost surely won’t be comprehensive enough that we won’t be revisiting it next year,” McCracken says. He’s concerned that there’ll be another fiscal cliff in six months — which would mean more negotiations and more uncertainty. Many small business owners are worried about their personal tax rates. Sole proprietors, partners and owners of what are called S corporations, all report the income from their businesses on their individual Form 1040 returns. That means their companies are in effect taxed at personal rates, which can be higher than corporate rates. One of the most important tax provisions for small businesses,...

Raise productyivity By Investing In Labor

By: Mike Schmidt, Manufacturing Business Technology Keeping labor costs down has long been a preferred method for manufacturers around the globe to achieve sustained success and profitability. However, lately it seems manufacturers have found investing in efforts to raise workforce productivity to be a reasonable and desirable alternative. At least that’s according to a recent study conducted by IDC Manufacturing Insights, a provider of market research, analysis, and consulting services. The study, which surveyed 550 individuals across 11 manufacturing companies, found labor productivity was rated as the highest factor for achieving success in manufacturing among all countries, ahead of modern infrastructure, government support, and foreign direct investment. It also was revealed that 70 percent of respondents identified manufacturing as either the single most important industry or the most critical to their country’s economic health. The survey goes on to suggest that respondents from mature economies fared similar to emerging nations when rating manufacturing critical for their countries’ economic well-being. Forty-eight percent of U.S. respondents rated manufacturing as a critical element for economic growth. Other nations responded in a similar fashion: Australia with 52 percent, Brazil with 40 percent, Canada with 54 percent, China with 42 percent, France with 40 percent, Mexico with 42 percent, Spain with 50 percent, and U.K. with 62 percent. Germany and India scored the lowest, both with 32 percent. Study respondents were also asked about factors related to global competitiveness for manufacturers. According to the results, labor productivity ranked the highest in all countries and 42 percent in the U.S. rated it as “extremely important.” With more complexities being added in products, supply chains, and sales processes, a productive workforce is a competitive differentiator across all geographies. With that fact in mind, manufacturers are focused on cultivating a better relationship between management and labor. “The piece of data that I love most out of the survey was that an overwhelming percentage of people that we interviewed said that the workers cared deeply about quality, and almost an equal percentage said that management truly appreciates the efforts of the people in the organization,” says Bob Parker, IDC’s VP of Research. “The age of the contentious management-labor relationship in manufacturing is over.”...