Category: The Skills Gap

People & Robots Can Co-Exist Successfully

May 23rd, 2019

We held an engaging executive panel discussion at our APICS Inland Empire spring symposium on the topic: “The Talent Transformation: People or Robots? There is quite a lot of hoopla in Inland Southern California as this geography is larger than all but 24 states (and soon will take over Lousiana) with a strong manufacturing and logistics base.  Yet, the threat and opportunity of automation is close at hand. According to a University of Redlands study, most large metropolitan areas are subject to losing 55% of their current jobs due to automation. In Inland Southern CA, that number expands to 62%. What will this mean? Disaster or opportunity?

According to a robotics expert with a background in industry, Carnegie Mellon and Harvey Mudd, the CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), a Director at Honeywell and a recruiter and practice lead at Aerotek, we can rest assured that people and robots can co-exist successfully. Of course, this assumes we are proactive in thinking about automation, retraining and educating our workforce and providing the insights and collaboration opportunities such as the executive panel event.

We had some probing questions from the manufacturing and distribution professionals in the audience, but it was unanimous that a solution exists. We also talked about Middle Harbor which is a high-tech area of the ports. This has proven more challenging as negotiations have put some people out of a job yet still getting paid for it. With that said, there were many examples of success with business growing 3-fold while the company doubled the workforce and more. Hiding under a rock is definitely not the route to success. Instead, be a part of the collaborative effort.

As a Board member of IEEP and a supply chain expert, I am helping to lead a consortium for advanced manufacturing and logistics success to address just this topic (resulting from the Brookings study research). If you are interested in staying in the loop with updates, please email me. I’ve created a special interest list for this topic.

The students from Harvey Mudd presented some exciting robotics research they are conducting with industry on how to successfully navigate cluttered workspaces (as most manufacturing and distribution clients require). Much progress is being made.  And, robots aren’t going away. There are many positives in terms of consistency of quality, replacing competitive motion tasks, reducing workers compensation and labor risks in addition to cost savings. With that said, there are also some challenges to overcome such as what happens when technology goes wrong (like with the Boeing 737 Max). There is always risks to mitigate and people who are overlooked. The panel discussed the Challenger disaster and the employee who warned ahead of time to the technical glitch.

What are you doing to evaluate technology from a strategic standpoint? Will you be left in the dust? Grocery stores might have been a bit complacent before Amazon bought Whole Foods. Are you complacent? On the other hand, please don’t follow fads. When everyone thought outsourcing was great and Boards insisted on following the trend no matter the total impact, several companies outsourced and were sorry later when service went down and costs weren’t saved. If you’d like an assessment, contact us.

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Profit Through People

The Talent Transformation: People or Robots?

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The Talent Transformation: People or Robots?

April 14th, 2019

automationNo matter the industry and geography, the topic of “People vs. Robots” is a hot topic!

Certainly, manufacturing has been focused on technology and automation for quite some time to navigate the path to thrive in the modern environment of high costs, regulations, and elevated customer demands.

The Manufacturing and Technology Expo in Pittsburgh is going back to the theme of the 1939 World’s Fair, “The World of Tomorrow”. The Manufacturing sector has seen positive job growth not seen in 79 years. As Industry Week says, “We don’t have smoking robots but we have ones that perform lung surgery.”

Our APICS Inland Empire Chapter is hosting an executive panel and networking symposium on just this topic, “The Talent Transformation: People or Robots?” on April 13th at Harvey Mudd. We have an intriguing panel of executives and experts to discuss automation, robots, IoT, AI and much more. How do we co-exist successfully? Join us to learn more and probe further.

In logistics circles, there is quite a bit of worry and opportunity. According to a University of Redlands study, most large metropolitan areas are subject to losing 55% of their current jobs due to automation. In Inland Southern CA, that number expands to 62%. However, it depends on your thought process. UPS automated a section of their facility that reduced the number of people they needed by 100 yet they ended up hiring as they absorbed additional volume. Additionally, it depends on whether you are furthering your education and skills. We find proactive employees and employers in our Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM)’s APICS certification classes who want to learn and grow.

For Inland Southern California, we have a particularly unique opportunity or challenge, depending on how you want to look at it. According to a Brookings study, we must focus on advancing the capabilities and competitiveness of local firms in opportunity-rich manufacturing and logistics industries. What an opportunity for us to leverage technology hand-in-hand with talent to THRIVE.

If you are interested in discussing whether your organization is prepared to leverage these opportunities and what priorities should emerge, contact us. We are experts and would love to see the U.S., California and the Inland Empire take advantage of this tremendous opportunity to enable scalable, profitable growth.

Find out how to navigate disruption and achieve peak performance.

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Industry Week’s Salary Survey Finds Good Morale Yet Not Higher Wages

What’s Ahead for People

Profit Through People



What’s Ahead for People?

January 23rd, 2019

People make a business thrive. That’s why even the most technical of companies like Google value people.  In our experience, people are the #1 asset of any organization. Hands down, we can help any organization with good people quicker and to a FAR larger degree than an organization with very few good people.

In thinking about what’s ahead for people, there are many transitions and trends to be aware of:

 

  1. Baby Boomers  – As baby boomers retire, they will be harder to replace than what appears at first glance. Typically speaking, they aren’t up-to-speed on the latest technology.  They might have old fashioned ideas but they know “what works”. Don’t be too quick to hurry the process along. Instead, value their knowledge and find a way to transition it for a win-win.
  2. The Skills Gap – It is hard not to have a skills gap when technologies change daily. Jobs are being automated and new jobs are being created with entirely new skill requirements. The world is becoming more complex and global and customers expect more for less. Are you prioritizing the retention of your top talent? Is your company attractive to top talent?
  3. Diversity– We are not believers in mandates and regulations but we have found diversity to propel success. Are you actively attracting people who do NOT think like you? That’s a tough one (after all, don’t we all prefer people who agree with us?), but it is important if you want your team and organization to thrive.
  4. Spark an Innovative Culture – With the high demands of customers, bard members and the like, solid leadership is no longer enough. Sparking innovation has become a “must” for success.
  5. Back to the Leadership Basics – There is no coincidence that every successful client has a strong leader. Whereas long-term struggling clients and contacts (as struggling leaders rarely hire consultants) have weak leaders. Being a strong leader is “hard work” and requires courage. What are you doing to build your leadership bench strength?

The core tenets of successful people do not change. The requirements and challenges we face continue to expand. Yet, the route to success is clear. We choose to see this fact with hope as it does not require rocket science to become a good leader.  We’ve seen plenty of examples of mediocre leaders who transform into exceptional leaders through mentoring, coaching and experience.

Did you like this article? Continue reading on this topic: Profit Through People 

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Top Two Issues According to Wells Fargo Customers

January 18th, 2019

In listening to a Wells Fargo commercial banking executive’s speech, he mentioned that the two top issues as we head into 2019 according to clients are:  labor (shortages) and cyber-security. This isn’t surprising, given what our clients face. We cannot think of a client who isn’t experiencing some sort of talent shortage.  Luckily, the same is not true for cyber-security.  Yet, it is a relevant, pressing and serious topic. When it rains, it pours BIG TIME when it comes to cyber-security.  Are you proactively addressing these topics?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
For talent and labor shortages, it is often more complex than our clients need “2 more people”.  Invariably, they might have the “right” number of people in total.  Yet. they may not have what they need.  One of the following is often the issue: 1) Skills aren’t allocated properly. 2) There isn’t enough of specific skills and more than needed in others.  3) Cross-training is lacking. 4) People are not working to their maximum (or even regular) potential.

One of the best places to start is to understand your situation.  Don’t think about whether you can afford it or where you’ll cut back to afford it.  Just start by understanding your situation. We often go into clients and find “hidden” talents. Actually,m it occurs more frequently than you’d think. The good news is that these “hidden” talents can often be reallocated for the benefit of the organization almost immediately – at least a lot quicker than hiring and assimilating new talent.  We also typically find people who are not working to regular, let alone, maximum potential. Why? Because they might be working in an area that doesn’t align with their best skills or they work for someone who is stifling their progress. Finding these hidden opportunities can avoid making new hires for the vast majority of clients.

Beyond talent, you had better protect your company from cyber-security threats.  It is as simple as “get an expert immediately if you aren’t already working with one”, no matter your organization’s size.  Small organizations are more likely to be attacked! I’m happy to refer you to a top notch organization. Contact me if you are interested.

Are you searching for these opportunities and addressing risks?  They will certainly create a more resilient organization. For additional strategies to create a resilient supply chain, check out our new series:

 



Industry Week’s Salary Survey Finds Good Morale Yet Not Higher Wages

October 17th, 2018

According to Industry Week’s salary survey, almost 70% of respondents are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their current job yet salaries took a 6% dip since last year.   I wonder if the baby boomer retirement ramp up is impacting these numbers as the survey finds that the people with the most seniority make the most money.  

A few interesting statistics:
1) Not surprisingly, bigger companies pay more.
2) Medical devices pay the most, followed by chemicals and food & beverage. Apparel/textiles is at the bottom of the list.
3) VP Manufacturing/Production makes the highest salary ($187,100).

What’s Matters to the Workforce
Yet, the article made a point of saying that salary wasn’t most important to the respondents.  

In terms of what matters most in the job, the respondents said:
1) Challenging work.
2) Base salary.
3) Job stability.

How Employees See It
And, the overwhelming challenge faced in manufacturing by respondents goes back to the skills gap with #1 being the lack of skilled labor.  A distant second (tied) was the adoption of technology and leadership lacking. Lastly, foreign competition and governmental regulation were next. Do you know how your employees feel about their jobs?

What Should We Consider and/or What Impacts Could Arise?
Do these survey results surprise you?  We find that our clients largely seem to follow in line.  There haven’t been significant pay increases.  However, they are starting to lose top talent to the competition due to the intangibles (location, vacation etc.) as well as pay.  Thus, it’s important to watch the market carefully – is saving 3% worth losing one of your best employees? I doubt it!

Our clients definitely are experiencing the skills gap.  They are automating as quickly as possible to keep up with demand while also pursuing new strategies to gain employees (such as reducing degree requirements) and mentor, train and educate employees to promote with the needs of the business.  Only the proactive companies with excellent leaders (as everyone can “look up” their new potential boss and see what others’ think) will thrive!

What are you doing to stand out from the competition when it comes to talent?