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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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.

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