2022 Manufacturing Trends: Reaching the Future of Work

by Robin Fleming

The following article appears in this month’s issue of Manufacturing Outlook Digital Magazine. For a limited time, we’re offering Manufacturing Talk Radio listeners a FREE subscription. Visit Manufacturingoutlook.com to subscribe today!

As 2021 comes to an end, the manufacturing industry is looking forward and determining ways to overcome and navigate new industry challenges.

One of the biggest focuses for the new year is reaching the future of work, which will push manufacturers to aggressively adopt digital technologies that increase worker productivity and bridge communication gaps. This can be accomplished in the coming year and beyond by investing in digital transformation, prioritizing data-driven business tools, and a concerted effort to address a generational skills gap.

Adopting these strategies will be essential for manufacturing businesses to thrive and keep pace with economic demands in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Invest In Digital Transformation 

The industry continues to face the residual economic impacts of the pandemic. As a result, more manufacturers will continue to adopt an increasingly cost-conscious mindset that seeks to do more with less in the coming year. That’s why digital transformation will continue to be a critical priority, with many companies shifting spending toward tools like mobile Connected Worker applications that support increased agility and better risk management. 

Implementing mobile Connected Worker applications is imperative for those looking to invest more in tools that support digital transformation, especially at this pivotal point in industrial innovation. Mobile Connected Worker applications can save time and resources, making workers more productive, as well as unlocking critical data with easy-to-use technology. They can also provide leading indicators that analyze data in real-time and support continuous improvements over time, unlike data trapped on paper and electronic forms.

As McKinsey & Company notes, digital is no longer optional. Companies who are in the midst of or completing digital transformation will have the competitive advantage over those still on paper and with no digital transformation plans already in place. Investing in mobile Connected Worker applications that capture data in real-time gives businesses greater insight into productivity analytics to better track metrics and indicators. With these tools at their disposal, companies will be more resilient in the wake of tough times.

Address The Generational Skills Gap

Preparing for the future of work can be key to resolving the ongoing lack of talent. The industry faces a critical skills gap, which has only been made worse by the pandemic. By 2030, the skills gap could lead to 2.1 million unfilled manufacturing jobs and a $1 trillion negative impact on the economy. 

Addressing this workplace shortage is necessary, or else the “Great Resignation,” or the widespread trend of workers leaving their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, will continue to impact the industry negatively. One of the biggest challenges for manufacturers today is attracting and retaining new talent, especially among Millennials and Gen-Z. The industry must make a concerted effort to address this skills gap and labor shortage, including the use of mobile Connected Worker applications.

According to a 2021 Recruiter Nation Report by Jobvite, one factor behind the Great Resignation is that workers now want their voices heard more than ever before. Organizations that prioritize worker productivity and enablement will emerge as leading employers and recruit the best talent. Mobile connected worker applications provide in-the-moment worker support and also capture actionable worker knowledge and feedback that enable continuous improvements. As a result, employers create a safer, more engaging work environment and increase overall efficiency and profitability.

The Future Of Work Relies On A Connected Workforce 

Industry and market trends will continue to further catalyze organizational changes in 2022, which is why reaching the future of work is essential for manufacturing businesses to thrive. Companies that enable a Connected Workforce through data-driven mobile applications will be more resilient in the face of future challenges. 

About the author:
Robin Fleming is the co-founder of Anvl, an award winning software company helping companies unlock real-time data to improve product quality, safety and productivity. Anvl’s easy-to-use connected worker platform has collected over 11 million leading data points and routinely sees over 90% engagement from their user base.

She is an entrepreneur and leader focused on developing innovative software technology solutions. Having previously served in leadership roles for brands such as Angie’s List (now ANGI Home Services) and Match.com, Robin is now applying her expertise to workplace innovation for the millions of “deskless” workers with connective mobile solutions. Robin serves as a member of the NSC Work to Zero Advisory Council, American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) Indiana, Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ).