Setting The Knowledge Base
The progression of technology has changed organizational processes over the years. Despite some recent unfavorable claims, the manufacturing industry continues to grow. However, the ongoing debate is how to adapt to present day requirements and leave yesterday’s standards behind. Physical labor used to be the crux of manufacturing. Now, a valuable manufacturer means less manual labor and a more technologically based skill set. Manufacturing efforts spill over divided lines for industries like healthcare, automotive and food and beverage. We need to reevaluate the lens we have historically used to view industry best practices.
Level Setting Expectations
“New collar” refers to the notion of preferred skills in our current manufacturing climate, replacing traditional “blue collar” standards. Specifically, there is a lingering misconception that manufacturing equals a low-tech skill set 1. The concept behind that outdated mindset is virtually obsolete in today’s production facilities. Now, innovation and automation initiatives are the driving forces. Manufacturing has been touted as a less relevant sector of the U.S. economy. Although manufacturing’s U.S. GDP is more than 50% less than it was in the 1950s, the overall U.S. GDP is 10 times higher now. The ratio of manufacturing output has basically remained the same.
The front-runners of innovation will be the ones to change the narrative. Tentree International, Inc., a Vancouver-based brand, is a great example. The company’s CEO and Founder, Derrick Emsley, is the mastermind behind the success of their Mobius line. The product line includes backpacks, totes and travel bags made from recycled materials. Tentree uses algae to create the foam 2 padding for their bags. The result is a highly sustainable, eco-friendly product that is finding great success. Manufacturing will continue to intertwine with technological advances. So, we must remember to remain ahead of the curve with modern and inventive ideas.