Many reshoring manufacturers have ambitious goals for their transition. For them, it’s not primarily about saving costs or simplifying logistics and compliance processes. They want to get closer to their customers through greater responsiveness and direct collaboration. They aim to profit from fast-moving, high-value innovation.
An educated, motivated workforce is essential in achieving these goals. For some manufacturers, that will mean learning how to attract and retain the best people. In many offshore locations, economic necessity and the relative scarceness of good jobs may make it easy to recruit outstanding professionals. In the reshore operation, that may be more of a challenge.
The people you won’t expect you to provide contemporary technology to help them succeed
Mid-career professionals, as well as younger workers, will expect you to provide a professional work environment that helps them grow in their careers and achieve their personal goals. In a recent Gallup poll quoted in a Forbes article, “87 percent of millennials surveyed said professional development was an important part of their job.” Correcting common perceptions, the article also points out that “though they often carry a reputation as the ‘job hopping’ generation, millennials have a record of remaining with companies that offer personal and professional development opportunities.”
A survey sponsored by Dell and Intel found that 42 percent of the millennials interviewed would quit their jobs if the workplace technologies are not “smart enough.” Sixty-three percent of millennials and 55 percent of their colleagues older than 35 would prefer state-of-the-art technology such as augmented or virtual reality tools over employment perks such as free food.
Innovation comes to manufacturing roles
You may not think of your manufacturing workforce as highly demanding when it comes to technology and the work environment. However, with robotics, virtual reality, and smart-factory technologies quickly transforming manufacturing operations, you want employees who both appreciate and understand what technology can help them do as well as enjoy working with it.
What’s more, with wide-ranging automation and machine learning becoming a practical discipline, there are not many jobs left where all you do is follow instructions and go through the same routines day after day. Manufacturing production workers need to understand the sophisticated equipment, make sure it runs at best performance levels with minimal unplanned downtimes, and collaborate with colleagues in other business groups to get things done. They have to access information and make proper decisions.
As a reshoring manufacturer, you need to create your workforce in the reshore location with your long-term business requirements in mind. They have to play a key role in ensuring your ability to innovate, compete, and make customers happy. Modern technology is one essential building block in accomplishing this.
At a minimum, you need to provide workers with technology that is easy to use and learn and does not represent a step back from the apps they use on their smartphones. Microsoft and other technology leaders have vastly improved the interfaces, navigation, and usability of their applications, investing millions of dollars in user observation and experimentation.
Enterprise mobility combines optimal usability, cloud data access, and ERP capabilities
When you deploy such resources as Office 365 or Microsoft Dynamics 365, you can rely on consistent, familiar user interfaces that are comfortable for most users. Screens and dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics 365 can be configured by users to reflect their roles and meet their information needs. Standardized integrations between the cloud ERP software and other systems, either in the cloud or on-premise, make it easy to access information without having to request assistance or log into several software tools. That alone eliminates a once common source of frustration for many workers.
For most of us, mobility is an essential aspect of our lives. The workers in your reshored manufacturing operation will not be happy if they need to stand by a machine terminal or walk to a computer whenever they have to determine whether production throughput meets targets or a certain part is in inventory. Providing them with mobile ERP technology can go a long way toward retaining and motivating them. It also speeds up your business processes and minimizes errors.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 renders cloud-based ERP and CRM capabilities on smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. The portfolio of partner-developed mobile solutions for Dynamics 365 is growing every day. That can be a boon for all your manufacturing employees. More than that, it can be essential in designing and offering new services—such as predictive maintenance—to your customers and enabling your people to deliver them effectively.
Powerful, modern ERP in the cloud boosts your ability to recruit and hang on to a highly motivated, educated workforce that shares your innovative and competitive drive. With Microsoft Dynamics 365, reshoring manufacturers can create the technology environment that makes this possible.
Sikich manufacturing and technology expertise can help you perform a successful reshoring initiative and increase the competitive standing and long-term viability of your business. Get started today.