By Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG.
There is a widely held view about what is coming in manufacturing. It goes something like: Move over, humans. We don’t need you anymore. Robots will take it from here.
But it isn’t true. This is not manufacturing’s future.
People have feared the march of the machine for centuries. Yet for just as long, machines have changed work; they have not replaced it. And the emerging fourth industrial revolution — even with its digital, automated assembly lines — is not an exception to this trend. As this new way of doing business becomes a reality, humans and machines will each play a critical role in manufacturing’s success.
Here are a couple reasons why.
First, it is true that digital manufacturing does cut out the middle-man. More and more routine, repetitive assembly tasks will be taken over by machines. But as certain jobs disappear, new ones open up in other parts of the factory. Germany in many ways exemplifies this trend. Today, German manufacturers deploy three times more robots than U.S. companies, but they also still employ more humans. Relative to the size of our economies, German’s manufacturing workforce is twice the size of America’s.
Second, from its very beginning, the fourth industrial revolution has never presented manufacturers with an either-or choice — robots or humans. It has always been about combining the talents of both. Ultimately, it is the convergence of artificial and human intelligence that will enable manufacturers to achieve a new era of speed, flexibility, efficiency and connectivity in the 21st century. Machines have the ability to assemble things faster than any human ever could, but humans possess the analytics, domain expertise and valuable knowledge required to solve problems and optimize factory floor production.
This is precisely what we now see at Siemens’ Amberg Electronics Plant in, yes, Germany. Over the past 25 years, Amberg has evolved into a fully digital plant, with automation rising tremendously. But what has changed the most during this time isn’t the number of employees; what has changed is productivity. The same size workforce — about 1,200 workers who have been trained and retrained for digital manufacturing — has increased productivity by more than 1,000%.
For now, Amberg is something of an exception. But it won’t be for long.
Where we are now is only beginning. Artificial intelligence is here and being rapidly commercialized, with new applications being created not just for manufacturing, but also for energy, healthcare and oil and gas. This will change how we all do business. There has never been a bigger opportunity for us to add value for customers — and that’s what makes this new machine age unstoppable.
At the same time, companies have both a business need and social responsibility to be equally invested in humans. The transformation of the factory floor must be met by a large-scale, company-led commitment to industrial reskilling for current and aspiring employees. The responsibility is now ours to ensure that digital manufacturing is accessible to anyone willing to learn, work hard and pursue new pathways in training.
Germany has long confronted the human challenge with a dual system of education — a public-private system that invests in, promotes and continuously updates training and educational pathways to established and growing industries. Participants attend public vocational schools while receiving on-the-job training on industry standards through a paid apprenticeship in a private-sector company.
This system also serves a dual purpose to both business and society: companies win by having a strong pipeline of workers with relevant skills and knowledge; society wins as young people gain fast tracks into good-paying jobs and exciting careers with ladders to climb, increasing economic opportunity and strengthening the middle class.
Industry leaders just have to remember that, while robots are programmable, with humans, trust is earned. We have to prove that digital manufacturing is inclusive. Then, the true narrative will emerge: Welcome, robots. You’ll help us. But humans are still our future.
Business owners often seek to control the perception of their companies so that they accurately reflect reality. This is easier said than done. Perceptions are like habits – they tend to die hard. The staffing business has long battled a sometimes lackluster perception. At BARRYSTAFF, here are the most common misconceptions we run into … and how we set the record straight.
“Temporary” employees are nothing more than short-term fixes. In truth, the term “temp” is outdated. We no longer refer to ourselves as a “temp agency,” but rather as a “staffing company.” There’s a significant difference. Gone are the days when folks would show up to the local agency each morning and collect a paycheck for a single job later that afternoon. In reality, what we’re doing is probably much different than what people are prone to imagining.
We give companies employees to try out on a limited basis. If an employee is working out then companies may extend a permanent job offer after 90 days. We handle everything until that job offer is extended. This process allows the company – and the employee – to feel each other out. One of the key analytics we study is our retention rate. In other words, we want our companies and employees to stick together. That’s our goal.
We only staff for one industry. While it’s true that staffing companies have specializations (BARRYSTAFF’s is manufacturing), many agencies are capable of recruiting for many, many fields. At BARRYSTAFF, we have placed architects, engineers and chemists. We have an entire team solely dedicated to filling clerical positions. So while manufacturing is our wheelhouse, we’ll never turn away someone looking for a communications position. Or graphic design. Or IT. We can help them too.
Job seekers have to pay to use our service. Job seekers pay nothing. Zero. Zilch. That’s not how we make money. Instead, the companies we partner with pay us to help them find quality employees. No job seeker will ever need to pay a dime to a company like BARRYSTAFF.
We only offer dead end jobs. The fact of the matter is that there is plenty of room for advancement in the jobs we hire for. Many of our placements have gone on to management positions.
We only work with struggling companies (Why else would they need a staffing company?) This is one we have to push back against fairly often. We work with big companies and small companies. Some are international. Others are hyper local. They use us because it is time-consuming to search, interview and drug screen candidates. It’s expensive. It cuts down on production. Advertising alone can run up a hefty tab. And these days, the job search is changing drastically from year to year. We live in a fast-paced digital world now, and our clients need to stay focused on what they’re doing. More of them are trusting experts like BARRYSTAFF to handle this work. It’s a specialized service during a time of rapid change.
And our services don’t stop at staffing. We often find ourselves working as a fully- functional HR branch for companies. It’s just another amenity we’re proud to offer.
Does your business need short-term help during a busy period? Are you short-staffed, yet not ready to hire a full-time employee? Maybe you’re wondering, “How do staffing agencies work — and do I need one when I have only temporary or seasonal hiring needs?”
Hiring solutions come in all sizes. Full time, yes, but also temporary, temporary-to-full-time, contract and project. Whatever your hiring needs, a top-rated, professional staffing agency gives you quick access to highly skilled professionals you might not find on your own. That eases the workload and provides peace of mind that none of your important projects will be delayed and no details will slip through the cracks.
So how do staffing agencies work — and how can you work most effectively with them? Here are five tips for optimizing your experience as a staffing agency client.
When you work with a staffing agency, make sure it specializes in the type of staff you need. Non-specialized or generalist firms work with a broad variety of candidates, so finding someone with the exact skills and qualifications you need is more difficult and takes longer than if you work with a firm that’s focused on your field.
In addition, specialized staffing firms have a better sense of the candidate marketplace in your industry and geographic area and can effectively evaluate candidates’ experience and skills. Getting a good match the first time saves you time and money.
Try to speak with a staffing manager directly rather than communicating only via email. He or she will ask you about your staffing requirements and the length of time you need extra staff.
Make sure you create a job description that completely describes the position’s responsibilities so your recruiter knows the skills the candidate must have. (We’ve come up with a blueprint for creating a job description that can simplify the process.) Mention any policies your business follows, such as dress code, hours (including how you handle overtime) and breaks. These details help your representative get a sense of your corporate culture and what type of professional is likely to succeed there. When you feel you’ve clearly defined your needs, let the recruiter know. He or she will start the search immediately.
Prepare your business and the office itself to accommodate a temporary professional. Maximize the benefits of temporary staff to your company and team by setting up in advance. Create a designated workspace. If a computer or phone is necessary, make sure it’s installed and functioning before the interim worker’s first day. And once you’ve brought in your new temporary worker, make him feel part of the team:
Providing feedback about the new worker to your staffing agency representative helps both the recruiter and yourself with any future talent searches. Notify the agency at once if there are any problems, and let the recruiter know what specific aspects of the individual’s performance have stood out.
For you, the client, there are fees associated with using a staffing agency, but the overall cost is typically a net savings for you if you go with the right firm. Because finding qualified, skilled employees can be time-consuming, you save time and money when you turn this process over to staffing experts. Plus, the most reputable staffing agencies are likely to offer a satisfaction guarantee. So if you aren’t happy with the employee, the firm will identify a replacement.
Communicate your goals and needs to the staffing agency recruiters every step of the way, and you’ll be in the best position to maximize your working relationship with them.
A few months ago Herb Thompson was homeless. Now he has a fully furnished apartment and a new outlook.
He’s also accepted a promotion.
“What more can you ask for?” he says with a smile.
Born and raised on a Preble County farm, Thompson moved to Dayton at 18 and immediately found work in manufacturing.
“At 19 years old I was firing up million dollar equipment,” he recently told us.
He enlisted in the Navy worked as a technician for six years. Specifically, he specialized in electronic surveillance on submarines. When he returned to Dayton in the late 1990s, he learned that manufacturing had “fallen off completely.” So he worked for Auto Zone. And Time Warner Cable. For a while he operated a tow truck.
It became increasingly hard to find steady work. A tough job market mixed with a bad break or two led to homelessness.
Eventually the military veteran linked up with Volunteers of America. They referred him to BarryStaff. Within a week of interviewing with Barry, he was working at the ASPM plant in Vandalia.
Even then, he wasn’t super optimistic to begin working as a machine operator.
“It was the type of job I tried to avoid all my life,” he says. “I thought it would be mind numbing.”
Nevermind the repetitiveness, he was told. Work hard and you’ll quickly advance.
He took the advice and used the foot in the door to his advantage. He rolled up his sleeves and hunkered down. Within weeks, he could keep up with workers half his age. Thompson’s confidence grew. The promotion quickly followed.
“I now have an apartment — a wonderful little apartment. I’m gainfully employed. And I feel my value is being appreciated.”
He’s now working as a material handler, which comes with more responsibilities. Does he look back? Yes and no.
“I try not to look back too much,” he says. “However, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.”
Then Thompson, who has a way with words, quickly sizes up his journey.
“I’m happy,” he says. “If I was any happier I couldn’t stand myself.”
Employment in manufacturing peaked in the late 1970s at over 19 million. Since then, despite occasional positive bumps, manufacturing employment has shown a long-term secular decline. Today, fewer than 13 million workers are employed in factory jobs. This long-run, large scale decline in employment is largely attributable to automation and the offshoring of jobs to low-wage countries. The workers most affected by these technological and global shifts are unfortunately those with the least skills, whose jobs are most susceptible to these causes of displacement. The Carrier deal that President-elect Trump pushed through prevented fewer than a thousand jobs from being offshored, but as the CEO of United Technologies put it to CNBC, many of these jobs will be automated anyway; hence the benefit to US workers is likely very low. Even a thousand such deals are not the solution to the displacement occurring in manufacturing. The correct response to this predicament is skill upgradation, so that workers can work with these new technologies, as complements rather than substitutes. Beyond that, manufacturing also badly needs an image makeover.
In an interview, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, claimed the lack of skilled workers in the U.S. as the reason for the company doing its actual production in China. While some speculate that the skills gap is more fiction than fact, there is clearly a problem in the manufacturing jobs market. Between 2005 and 2016, employment in manufacturing declined by 14%. There many potential reasons for this decline in employment: slow hiring, a small supply of workers, or turnover from workers quitting or being fired. The charts below, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ JOLTS survey, are fairly revealing. Over the same period of employment decline, the number of job vacancies increased from 303,000 to 346,000 while the number of people hired for jobs declined from 369,000 to 272,000.
In addition, as the chart below shows, people were less likely to quit their factory jobs during the recession, but the quit rate is returning to pre-recession levels. Layoffs have fallen and remain low, bringing total separations down as well.
Today, there are 322,000 vacancies that are unfilled. Clearly, manufacturing jobs exist, and employers are ready to hire, but for some reason workers and firms are not matching up to fill these jobs. What could explain that?
As a recent study in the Journal of Economic Perspectives shows, there has been a global shift towards the value added by high skill workers in manufacturing and a shift away from low and medium skill workers. As manufacturing has become more technologically advanced, the demand for skilled workers to occupy positions has grown, but many companies appear unable to find people with the requisite skills. As per a recent report by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, 70% of companies reported shortages of workers with adequate technology, computer and technical skills, despite their willingness to pay higher than the market wage in their area. As a result, nearly 2 million jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to this skills gap.
But there is more to the skills gap than just workers who don’t have the basic problem-solving or computing skills that companies want. A significant problem facing companies is also the lack of demand for these jobs amongst workers with skills. Many workers are simply no longer interested in manufacturing jobs, and there appears to be a stigma attached to manufacturing work. A survey on the Public Perception of Manufacturing shows that while most Americans perceive manufacturing as the backbone of a strong domestic economy, few parents want their children to work in this industry, and manufacturing is the last career choice for people between the ages of 19 and 33.
US manufacturers had a strong start to the fourth quarter and are looking forward to the end of the presidential election, according to Markit Economics’ preliminary report on the sector for October.
The flash purchasing manager’s index (PMI) rose to 53.2, Markit said on Monday. The index is based on a survey of manufacturers, and the “flash” reading is based on 85% to 90% of all responses collected every month.
Economists had predicted that the PMI was unchanged at 51.5, according to Bloomberg. A reading above 50 indicates that the sector is still in expansion.
“Both output and new orders are rising at the fastest rates for a year amid increasingly widespread optimism that demand will pick up again after the presidential election, which has been commonly cited as a key factor that has subdued spending and investment in recent months,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit, in the data release.
Manufacturing production increased for a fifth straight month, and new export orders improved from September. The rise in unfinished work due to backlogs was the most in a year. Also, companies said there was more capacity pressures at their plants, partly because they had slowed the pace of hiring.
The manufacturing sector has not yet fully recovered since the dollar’s rise and weak global economic conditions crushed demand for US goods last year.
In September, the PMI rebounded from a contractionary reading of 49.4 — the first slip into that territory since February. Some respondents to Markit’s survey reported a rise in domestic and international sales, with some customers buying ahead of anticipated price increases.
Manufacturing has been a hot button topic in the presidential campaign. Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly said the US does not make things anymore, and has vowed to bring back manufacturing jobs from Mexico and China.
It’s worth noting that manufacturing now makes a much smaller contribution to the US economy compared to the services sector, where two-thirds of all activity takes place.
This piece was originally posted by Business Insider.
By Glenn Richardson
Managing Director – Advanced Manufacturing and Aerospace & Aviation
Advanced manufacturing is one of the key industries driving innovation and job creation in Ohio. The Buckeye State has a rich legacy as a manufacturing hub, and not only has the third-largest American manufacturing workforce, but is considered the best state for manufacturing jobs east of the Mississippi River. Nevertheless, many have an outdated perception of what exactly manufacturing in the 21st Century means.
Here are some facts that might surprise you about a career in today’s manufacturing sector.
This piece was originally posted on jobs-ohio.com.
BARRYSTAFF Interviews Dozens at Job Fair
There were several unknowns.
Did people know about the new office? If not, were they willing to find it?
Luckily, there was nothing to worry about.
Roughly 25 people interviewed over the span of a few hours. More than 50 percent of the applicants interviewed were qualified to fill positions at Clark County area companies.
Within the next week, BarryStaff had three people already on the job. Five more were awaiting interviews.
One applicant was placed the day of the job fair.
“I took all the applications to a couple new customers,” said BarryStaff’s Pam Bartee. “I also have after-work functions that I’m hoping will benefit.”
One man, who said he saw advertisements for the job fair in the newspaper and on TV, said people are willing to do anything to work.
“There are a lot of good workers who aren’t working,” said Carl Quesinberry. “Springfield needs something to get going.”
BarryStaff is currently in the middle of planning another job fair, this time at the company’s headquarters in Dayton. Details will be released as plans are finalized.
BARRYSTAFF Celebrates One Year in New Facility
The company’s brand new 13,000-square-foot facility opened June 1, 2015 on Webster Street. One year later, BarryStaff continues to work with local companies to supply industrial, clerical and permanent job placements.
BarryStaff is also the only business in Dayton licensed to screen travelers for the TSA Pre-Check program.
“Our new facility has allowed us the space to better serve our applicants and expand our services to our clients,” said President Doug Barry.
The Pam and Warren Barry Community Room also opened in 2015. To date, more than 50 businesses and organizations have requested to utilize the room for off-site meetings. With enough space for 80 people, white boards and an exquisite view of downtown Dayton, BarryStaff is proud to serve business professionals on its home turf.
The company has operated from three other downtown locations since 1982.
Employee Spotlight: Kaytee Ryan of Active Electric
Her online pursuit led her to BarryStaff, and the staffing agency became one of her first stops once she got to Dayton.
“I got a good vibe from everyone,” she recalled.
Ryan now works as an administrative assistant with Active Electric in Moraine. She was full-time after 90 days and she’s been with the company over a year.
“I’m definitely staying here,” she said. “This will be my second home for a while.”
At a time when so many job seekers struggle to stand out above hordes of other applicants, Ryan said she felt relieved when BarryStaff offered to send a video resume to clients. Videos are kept short – 60 seconds.
“I think it sped up the hiring process,” Ryan said. “Everything seemed seamless.”
Client Spotlight: Steve Jones of ASPM
Roughly 100 BarryStaff employees work under him. What’s more, a BarryStaff recruiter has remained on site for a handful of years. The goal is to ensure immediate communication with one of the company’s longtime partners.
What makes BarryStaff different, according to Jones, is the longevity of BarryStaff employees.
And longevity is important to Jones. Eighty percent of upper-level employees at ASPM held entry-level positions at one time.
That means current employees should take note.
“We want them to understand the opportunities at ASPM,” he said. “It’s easy to get wrapped up in leaving for a quarter raise. But if they stay, they’ll find themselves promoted to different positions.
“Stay with us and we’ll give you a career,” he said.
Random Business Fact: Wal-Mart averages a profit of $1.8 million every hour.