MHI Solutions

Education

Does the Skilled Labor Shortage Have You Down?

MHI, in partnership with Smart Workforce Strategies, published a white paper documenting the successes that supply chain companies and local schools have had with collaborations.

By Patrick Davison

The skilled labor shortage phenomenon has been gaining traction in the news lately. A perfect storm of demographics and changes in educational initiatives are creating conditions where employers are having a difficult time finding job candidates with the skills or credentials needed to fill their job openings.

According to the World Economic Forum, this issue is being exacerbated by changes in technology, creating conditions where talent shortages, mass underemployment and unemployment as well as growing inequality, reskilling and upskilling of today’s and tomorrow’s workers will be critical. It will also be critical that businesses, educators and individuals take a more active role in supporting workforce considerations in lifelong learning and retraining.

Material handling and supply chain are not immune to this predicament. And, in fact, some estimates are particularly bleak in the sense that the rapid demand in growth and technological change experienced in the industry may not be offset by proportional rises in job candidates with the skills needed to perform these jobs.

What are businesses to do? One first step could be to proactively collaborate with local educational institutions to identify programming and curricula addressing the needed skills or certifications. “No company can solve critical skill shortages alone,” says Dr. David DeLong, president of Smart Workforce Strategies and a research fellow at the MIT AgeLab. “Effective partnerships and collaboration between industry and academia are going to be essential to closing the skills gap in this country.”

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According to the recently released 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Adoption,” eight out of ten survey respondents believe these supply chains will be the predominant model within just five years. However, the report found that the adoption of some of these technologies was slower than originally reported when MHI started the annual report in 2014. The report cites three top barriers to adoption of these technologies: 1. Making the business case for NextGen supply chain investments. 2. Tackling the supply chain skills gap and workforce shortage. 3. Building trust and security in digital, always-on supply chains. This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on the adoption of these digital solutions, from best practices in robotics and artificial intelligence to blockchain and innovations in last mile delivery.

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