Give technicians the tools they need to succeed
With an average of six out of 10 jobs going unfilled today in manufacturing, the lack of qualified technicians will continue to take its toll on industrial businesses. The demand for skilled technicians has been on the rise for years. With a proactive business mindset, however, service organizations can make the most of the qualified technicians by equipping the service team with an all-in-one service management solution.
The AED Foundation researched and analyzed the growing skills gap in field service and manufacturing and the impact it has in the industry. The survey's findings explain how the technician shortage affects businesses and offers advice on what organizations can do to overcome ongoing challenges.
According to AED manufacturing executives surveyed in the report, 87% believe the high school systems are to blame in the lack of technical workers. Along with the increasingly poor perception of vocational careers, students are being encouraged to pursue a four-year program instead of a technical degree. And, according to the report, those who do attend a two-year technical program are not gaining the preparation and experience they need.
AED reported, "67% of executives answered that employees lack the hard skills that they need in the industry." They end up applying to open positions in which they do not have the experience needed in tasks like maintaining and repairing equipment. Manufacturers need to make the most of their existing technicians during this shortage by equipping them with the tools and information they need to do their jobs efficiently and accurately. Eliminate paper by automating the process with a mobile service app so techs can complete a work order and sync with the back office for instant accessibility and faster billing.
Using visual schedule software as part of a field service management suite allows companies to schedule work orders in the most efficient pattern for each technician. Dispatchers can filter by tech availability and skill-set so they assign the best worker for each job.
Also, give techs access to service history, parts and inventory information so they know what they need before they get to the job site By giving technicians mobile access to the history of the site and the needs for the service call, they will know which parts they need for the job. This will save time and eliminate the need for return visits. Invest in your workforce for increased retention. It's harder than ever to attract talented service technicians and it doesn't look like it's going to get easier any time soon.
Manufacturers should make the most of the existing workforce by giving them the tools and support they need to be more efficient. Manufacturers should recognize technicians' efforts with incentives and rewards so they know they're valued.
Emily Poklar is a content marketing specialist at MSI Data, a CFE Media Content Partner.
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey