This October brought the latest installment of Manufacturing Month, kicked off by a very successful Manufacturing Day on October 7th. The aim of this month-long celebration is to drive awareness to the manufacturing sector by highlighting companies and jobs that many people might not even be aware of otherwise. It also initiates conversations about the challenges facing this sector, and what we can do to solve them.
As a manufacturer and global supplier of bearing products, we are very familiar with the challenges facing not only our own industry, but also those of our customers. The agricultural community in particular is facing an issue felt by manufacturers – an aging workforce and an uninterested generation of potential workers. Farming, like manufacturing, is seen as a dirty, dangerous job that’s reserved for people with little education or other options. What they don’t see, is how far both of these industries have come thanks to new technologies.
Newer, more adaptable robots are being introduced on the shop floor each day. But these robots need highly skilled programmers to guide them. With so many lower level jobs now being automated, the manufacturing sector needs skilled workers to keep the process moving, and to design the next generation of machinery. Similarly, agriculture is seeing a shift as more farms are taking advantage of technology to keep operations running smoothly and efficiently. Drones can track livestock and keep an eye on crops, while mobile apps can analyze data and track trends that can influence production. And, of course, there’s the introduction of a self-driving tractor to take some of the burden off farmers.
But how can we get more people interested in these fields? Promoting new innovations and research during Manufacturing Month in October is one way to get the word out. Hosting student groups and promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiatives is another great way to get kids excited about different career opportunities at a young age. Most importantly, we all need to make an effort to draw attention to our work all year round.