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To keep pace with this fast-changing world and steadily grow in your career, you must be aware of how industries are keeping up with innovation. As companies shift to more automation, the World Economic Forum predicts the loss of 75 million jobs as well as the addition of 133 million new jobs by 2022. As technological advancements take over in the manufacturing industry, many low-skilled jobs are replaced by high-skilled jobs that require new technology to further optimize products and manufacturing processes. If you continually adapt to these new skills, you may find that many new and innovative career paths will open up for you.
Smart Manufacturing Calls for Smart Workers
Process innovations in manufacturing have led to automation and software-powered conveyor solutions, which leads to improved production output and a reduced need for some types of workers. But this in turn also leads to product innovation and the creation of new industries and professions. Both process and product innovations make it necessary for workers to acquire new specialized skills. In a 2020 survey, 75% of industrial organizations said that it is crucial for their success to reskill their workforce towards new automation technologies.
The needed skills include but are not limited to: computer-aided manufacturing, understanding industrial control software and connected equipment, understanding and working with robots and automated equipment, monitoring and controlling automated processes, system design, process twin development, teaming, and data analytics. In a nutshell, these not only involve technological and analytical skills, but also the ability to intelligently optimize business processes. To stay competitive, companies will need both computer-savvy factory workers and expert managers for complex global supply chains.
Manufacturing Professions in the Age of Technology
Engineers will continue to design, develop, test, and maintain manufacturing equipment, as well as innovative new products. They often specialize in different parts of the process that are all equally important, such as managing electrical systems of manufacturing equipment, developing chemical manufacturing processes, or designing the manufacturing process for innovative new products such as biotech. These engineers also design systems and products using computer software.
Operations research analysts use data and analytics to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of manufacturing processes and help manufacturing companies reduce costs and make better decisions. Supply chain managers streamline complex production processes from sourcing raw materials to ensuring that the final products reach customers safely. Chief productivity officers ensure that manufacturing companies remain efficient, quality compliant, and organized with the use of data analysis and leadership skills. All these professionals are essential to the manufacturing process as they keep up with the pace of innovation.
Exciting New Frontiers
Manufacturing has been at the forefront of technological innovations that shape society and push the boundaries of what’s possible. These innovations include 3D printing, nanotech, biotech, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT), among many others. Professionals in manufacturing may find it exciting and honorable to be able to work on groundbreaking new technology before the public gets their hands on it.
Professional careers in manufacturing are both challenging and rewarding, especially in the age of technology. People who work in this industry must enjoy solving problems and developing things that change society for the better. As society’s technology becomes more complex and advanced, engineers, analysts, and process managers will continue to be in high demand.