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Skilled Employees a Limited Resource? Advanced Planning and Scheduling Can Optimize Staff Utilization

4/3/2012

As the steady recovery in manufacturing continues, sources both nationally and regionally point to the dearth of skilled manufacturing workers as a looming issue. In an opinion piece in The Huffington Post, the former president of the National Association of Manufacturers points to an inherent problem facing the U.S. manufacturing sector. “The problem is a workforce woefully lacking in the skills needed to work in modern manufacturing. Right now we have about 600,000 good manufacturing jobs going begging,” says Jerry Jasinowski.

The same week that Jasinowski’s article appeared, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune posted in a blog entitled “Manufacturers’ Workforce Worries Deserve Heed” the results of Minnesota’s annual State of Manufacturing survey, in which a jump in worry about the ability to attract and retain qualified workers is cited as the most notable concern of manufacturing executives. The concern has doubled over the past year.

While these articles were forward-looking, manufacturers are currently dealing with what NFL teams might call “lack of depth”: outstanding or even competent ability is often a short commodity within the enterprise. One way manufacturers are coping with this issue is to leverage advanced planning and scheduling tools to best utilize the limited employee resources that they have.

“With systems such as Epicor APS manufacturing software, manufacturers can leverage capability-based scheduling to track employee skills and to leverage those skills where they are needed at any time within the manufacturing enterprise,” says Christine Hansen, product marketing manager at Epicor. “It also helps with the higher levels of cross-training companies are doing to help cope with the staffing issues they face. With this kind of system, you know who knows what and what they can do.”

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