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High-Tech Manufacturing: Next-Gen Plants for Next-Gen Workers

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When it comes to recruitment, the U.S. manufacturing industry has taken a multi-decade hit. High school and college institutions have reduced the emphasis on skills-based education and public perception has been tarnished by recessions and layoffs—not to mention the inaccurate perception that manufacturing is outdated, dirty, repetitive work. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Today’s manufacturing plant floor is a vibrant network of people, materials, and high-tech equipment that moves with precision and efficiency. MFC Netform Corporation, maker of cold-formed metal components used for powertrains in automotive and agriculture, is a perfect example. Enterprise business computing analyst, Den Howlett of Diginomica, remarked in a post entitled, Factory of the Future, that the level of manufacturing automation on MFC Netform’s plant floor was “truly impressive” and that “robots and automated machining lines do much of the ‘work.’” He also noted that the company has “one of the cleanest plant floors I’ve ever seen.” The company's management attributes its cloud ERP investment during the great recession as a critical factor in surviving the downturn and being able to run leaner. Equally important, the company sees cloud ERP as an example of the type of technology investment that will enable them to attract and hire a new generation of technology-savvy workers.

In the 2016 State of Manufacturing Technology Report, based on a survey of nearly 200 manufacturers, nearly one in five is looking for employees who have data analysis skills and 40 percent want to hire employees with lean manufacturing skills. To attract these kinds of workers, manufacturers will need to promote jobs as high-tech careers—something that industry leaders like Tesla, GE, and Caterpillar are already doing. GE’s advertising campaign is a prime example, equating train production with software development. The next generation workforce wants to solve problems using technology and innovation. And as more companies like MFC Netform promote their operations as modern, lean, and technology-forward, public perception will finally meet reality.

Discover more about how trendsetting manufacturers are leading the industry into the future with technology. Download: 2016 State of Manufacturing Technology Report.

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