A newsletters to industry professionals with a focus on software, automation and integration


Automation and the Manufacturing Skills Gap
Recently our interest was piqued by an article in an industry publication (“Manufacturing talent shortage and what to do about it”, Robert Dalheim, Woodworking Network). Basically, a short summary of the 2018 “Skills Gap and the Future of Work Study” by Deloitte Consulting and the Manufacturing Institute.

The 2018 Work Study comes to some pretty astonishing conclusions, most notably: 1)Difficulties with filling open positions in the manufacturing industry, either vacant or new, are reaching “serious levels” and 2) The gap between having open jobs and filling them, is widening and is estimated to get worse. In other words, demand for manufactured products will require more skilled workers but there won’t be nearly enough.

If we look at the demographic data, that makes a lot of sense. With the baby boomers hitting retirement age, about 2.69 million workers will leave the manufacturing work force in the near future. Along with the desire for increased production and thus the demand for new workers creating new openings, an estimated 4.6 million manufacturing positions will become available. Estimated hires for these jobs, in other words how many people are coming through the system and want to enter a profession in manufacturing, only amount to 1.96 million. So incoming hires will not even be able to replace the baby boomers going out. That leaves a whopping 2.6 million estimated jobs left vacant, meaning Employers will only be able to fill half of the positions they would like to in order to meet market demands.

That has pretty serious potential implications for the economy (U.S.). We’ve always heard that manufacturing is the backbone of the economy and the statistics bear this out. Every dollar in output from the manufacturing industry generates another US$1.89 of additional value and every direct job creates 2.5 additional jobs in the US economy. In the best case scenario that means that up to 454 billion dollars’ worth of revenue contributing to national GDP are simply never generated.


Dealing with the hiring shortfall can be tackled from multiple angles. One readily available solution is to increase automation on the shop floor. For instance, one of the hottest and most interesting production line developments in recent years have been Storage and Retrieval systems (S&Rs). To date, Eurosoft has been involved in more than 45 projects involving S&R systems, a good portion of those due to our close partnership with Biesse America as the go-to integration provider but also in conjunction with our other partners such as the IMA Schelling Group, Giben America and custom systems developed alongside Dakota Automation. What do these S&R's bring to the table? Well, Biesse estimates that their S&R increases production line performance by 25%, reduces product delivery times by 35%, reduces raw material consumption by 10% (compared to conventional production handling) and the average implementation brings a ROI within 1 year. Other S&R systems will have similar results and returns. Software plays its role to tie the automated system together, reading the data (parts list) out of the design software and sending the S&R system on its way to start preparing materials and loading machines as soon as the job is sent down from the office and into production. In conjunction with a part tracking or MES solution such as our SquareOne software , bottlenecks along the production line can be quickly identified and fixed, leading to greater efficiency in the line as a whole.

That’s where Eurosoft’s expertise really comes in to play. We’ve dealt with pretty much every software and machine on the market and have well developed partnerships to achieve efficient implementations. Despite the challenges, we are excited by what future technologies are adopted by the manufacturing industry and our role in shaping that future.

Below some videos on current trends in manufacturing automation:
Automation at Indiana Furniture Industries: Kuka Robot Unloading and Stacking
Amazon's Warehouse Robots: Inventory Delivery Robots

Alex Liedl
Alex Liedl is Director of Administration and Marketing at Eurosoft, Inc.

Any views and/or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Eurosoft, Inc.

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