How digitalization will affect the manufacturing workforce
Manufacturing NI had the great pleasure of attending SMART Construct last week in Cookstown and took part in 2 panel discussions on ‘Skills and workforce problems and on the sector in general. Throughout the day we were struck at the very obvious turn of tide across the industry and how technology and digitalisation are continuously improving performance, productivity across manufacturing. Impressive case studies were presented from companies such as The McAvoy Group and Encirc who have applied digital solutions to improve efficiency.
Digitalization often creates the impression that human labour is being completely replaced by machines. This generates fear and creates resistance against new technologies as repetitive routine tasks are at risk of being substituted by machines and far less employees are required. The opposite is true. In fact, many studies to date have shown that digitalization has measurably boosted productivity and employment globally and will further accelerate as nations move forward to more advanced stages of digitalization. Mid to long term, it is an essential key factor to manufacturing, enabling profitable growth and sustainable competiveness.
The needs of the future manufacturing workforce are relevant too for local strategy and Manufacturing NI has been working closely with the Department for the Economy reflecting the existing key skills challenges, considering the challenging and changing global context and 4.0 industrial revolution and playing our part in informing the future direction for skills.