Overcoming the manufacturing labor crisis



Lastly, manufacturers need to invest consistently and courageously in the development and expansion of new technologies. The COVID-19 pandemic was a wake-up call that “catapulted us another ten years into the digital future”, according to Rainer Strack, Senior Advisor and former Managing Director at the Boston Consulting Group. Most manufacturers are adjusting their business in new ways to achieve growth as products need to get to market faster and more cost effectively than ever. And the digitalization of manufacturing processes favors automation. Even partial automation can cushion the effects of demographic change, increase efficiency and reliability for companies while allowing manufactures to continue to produce at full capacity.  

Urgent labor gaps can be filled by collaborative automation, as cobots can be delivered within a matter of weeks and change their position and role in production as gaps in the manufacturing floor occur. Finally, automating hard, repetitive processes allows companies to upskill existing employees towards more valuable, fulfilling work while increasing attractiveness as an employer. 

In conclusion, the lack of skilled labor is a complicated challenge that we need to overcome. It touches upon every aspect of society, and as such must be addressed from every angle, policymakers as well as industry players. With decisive action, we can adapt our industry and nurture our workforce to defy the shortage of skilled workers. 


written by andrea alboni, general manager for western europe