We’ve all noticed the problem. You’ve probably felt it in your work, and we hear the same thing nearly every day as an OEM manufacturer of CNC routers. We could interview manufacturers across the nation and hear the same report: the manufacturing skills gap is real. We agree on the problem, but the solution is not so clear. How might CNC manufacturers mend the skills gap?
According to a study by Deloitte and the Manufacturing Institute, US Manufacturing is expected to have 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030. Add to that sobering figure the impact of the pandemic on the global workforce and things look even more dismal today. This issue deserves our attention as manufacturers. Technology has certainly played a role in closing the skills gap as many jobs have been replaced or augmented by robotics and autonomous vehicles or machines. However, the gap continues to grow as the vast majority of products across the world still rely on people.
At Diversified Machine Systems (DMS) we’ve applied ourselves to address the skills gap in our CNC manufacturing, and we’ve learned a few things along the way. The skills gap is a real problem, but not an impossible one. We can solve it by implementing a threefold approach of innovation, automation, and training.
The technologies that built our companies are not the technologies we will need to build the future. We need to innovate continually to bring creative solutions to increasingly complex problems. At DMS one of the chief ways we’re innovating is through our new hybrid line of machines.
Subtractive manufacturing has long been our bread and butter, but we recognize that 3D printing presents some amazing new opportunities for manufacturing. We chose to combine the benefits of subtractive and additive manufacturing with our hybrid line to push the limits of what’s possible using CNC technology. Combining these technologies gives new capabilities to companies who can now do more with one machine and a trained operator on a platform they are already familiar with.
The skills gap goes deeper than a lack of education or book knowledge. The US chamber of commerce noted in a recent study that in today’s economy, competencies—not degrees—are the most important factors when filling a job. Competencies are defined as knowledge and skills that can be observed, measured, or otherwise assessed. These are slowly but surely taking the place of academic credentials in the modern economy. When we talk about the skills gap, we are talking about a lack of competency.
With competent workers in short demand automation is the quickest way to meet market demands without stretching your staff to the breaking point. CNC routers help accomplish this by automating processes that can be labor intensive and require a large amount of precision and repetition.
Rather than making people obsolete, automation frees up competent workers to apply their skills to the tasks that people do best. This not only helps retain talent by lifting the load but it can also eliminate monotony and focus workers on more fulfilling tasks. Additionally, when you do have turn over, CNC technology can help reduce the time it takes to train new employees. We are a longtime partner of Fagor Automation, and their controls come standard on most DMS CNC machines. With a presence in over 50 countries this partnership utilizes a worldwide network of trained CNC operators and technical support technicians to keep customers up and running.
As competencies replace degrees, we recognize training is the most critical service we can offer our customers. We provide onsite training, monthly webinars, and hosted training workshops at our facility in Colorado Springs, CO. These training options ensure our customers get the most out of their machines and help reduce the burden of keeping operators up to date on the latest technologies in the CNC world. Post-training support also ensures operators can continue to be high producers for your company using the technology you purchased.
Through innovation, automation, and training DMS is continuing to serve our customers with excellence. The skills gap is a real challenge, but challenges always come with an opportunity—a chance to rise higher together and push the boundaries of what is possible.
We’d like to hear from you! Message us on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram to let us know how you are addressing the skills gap within your company.