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How To Address the IT Skills Gap In The Manufacturing Industry

Posted by John Carl Villanueva on Sat, Aug 03, 2019 @ 07:45 PM

While the IT skills gap is sometimes exaggerated, there are some industries where the tech talent shortage is really a major issue. One of those industries is manufacturing. Despite growing adoption of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, analytics, robotics and automation, which are often perceived to eliminate jobs, manufacturers are actually faced with a widening skills gap. Meaning, there are actually more jobs to fill. 

THe IT SKills Gap manufacturing

Just how serious is the IT skills gap?

In a recent study jointly conducted by global audit and consulting services provider Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, it was revealed that the skills gap in the manufacturing industry would leave about 2.4 million vacancies between 2018 and 2028. 

The study also identified the key skills expected to be in high demand in the future manufacturing workplace. This included:

  • digital skills,
  • technology and computer skills,
  • programming skills for robots and automation,
  • critical thinking, and
  • skills for working with tools and techniques

It further added that positions for digital talent are expected to be three times as difficult to fill in the next three years. Clearly, the tech/IT talent shortage is going to hound manufacturers in (at least) the next few years.

Why manufacturers are experiencing a tech talent shortage

Ironically, the manufacturing industry has been experiencing tremendous growth lately, which has of course translated to more jobs. That's supposed to be a good thing. But while growth is good, too many job vacancies is not. What's really bad is that the number of vacancies is growing.

That's because, in addition to the job openings brought about by the industry's growth, existing positions are being vacated by the aging workforce. Baby Boomers are now in their retirable age. And as they leave their positions, they take along with them precious skills and expertise. 

But aren't these positions going to be filled by the younger generations, the Millennials and the Gen-Zers? Not necessarily. Turns out, younger generations don't find industries like manufacturing appealing enough. 

While the labor shortage can be partly addressed by employing technologies like robotics and automation, it will still be hard to implement those technologies if no one is there to deploy and manage them. 

Importance of automation AND ease of use

Business processes automation solutions can help alleviate the labor shortage because they can reduce the time and effort needed to accomplish certain tasks and, in turn, enable employees to work more efficiently. 

The problem is, these solutions normally require a lot of scripting and coding. These skills are usually found in highly experienced, highly skilled IT professionals. Because of the talent shortage in manufacturing, highly skilled IT professionals can be pretty scarce. And because of the law of supply and demand, even if you do find one, his/her rate will likely be too expensive.

Thus, in conditions like this where you have a talent shortage, it's important to factor in the usability of a given solution. Even if a particular automation solution is touted to be extremely 'powerful', if it's just too complicated for your IT staff, it will only gather dust.

Thus, when picking a business process automation solution, it's important to consider ease of use. The less coding or scripting a solution requires, the more viable it will be for your organization's needs. So, instead of looking for highly skilled IT professionals to manage the solution, you can easily roll out and manage that solution through the IT generalists in your team.

How JSCAPE MFT Server can help you close that skills gap

One particular business process automation solution that's perfect for these types of conditions is JSCAPE MFT Server. JSCAPE MFT Server enables manufacturers to automate a wide range of business processes, including those that involve multiple departments or trading partners. 

JSCAPE MFT Server fully supports:

It also comes with a REST API for easy integration with your generic and LOB (line-of-business) solutions. 

Best of all, JSCAPE MFT Server is accompanied by a powerful GUI-based automation-enabling tool known as Triggers. Although Triggers readily supports scripts, most triggers can be built with practically zero script-writing knowledge.

In other words, you can maximize its full potential regardless whether you have a highly trained IT specialist or an IT generalist. It's certainly one way you can close that skills gap.

Would you like to try a free managed file transfer solution with easy to use automation-enabling features and supports a wide range of file transfer protocols like SFTP, AS2, OFTP, WebDAV, and others? Download the Starter Edition of JSCAPE MFT Server now.

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Topics: JSCAPE MFT Server, Managed File Transfer, Business Process Automation, SFTP, Triggers, FTPS, AS2