Is There a Skills Gap in Industrial Metal Cutting?

July 15, 2015 / , , , , , , , ,

Over the last few years, manufacturing experts and industry leaders have been discussing the shortage of skilled production workers.  From Forbes and IndustryWeek to the Harvard Business Review, everyone is weighing in on the “skills gap” and how the manufacturing industry should be addressing it. In fact, the LENOX Institute of Technology has written a white paper and several blogs about the hot-button topic.

However, with all of this “talk,” one has to wonder if the so-called “skills gap” truly exists, or if it is just an industry trend that is being fabricated or blown out of proportion.  To dig into this issue, the LENOX Institute of Technology turned to a few industrial metal-cutting companies to discuss the skills gap, whether or not it is affecting their organization, and, if so, how they are handling it.


The Gap is Real
All three organizations we interviewed agreed that there is indeed a skills gap in the industrial metal-cutting industry. “I have felt the impact of this,” says Matthew Dobratzl, production supervisor at Thyssen Krupp. “It seems that as more of the skilled guys are retiring, they are being replaced by employees who have not had the proper training.”

Barry Grider, operations manager at Standard Locknut, LLC, and Brandon Dodds, operations manager at EMJ, part of the Reliance Group, admit they are also feeling the affects of the skills gap. Specifically, Dodds says it is getting harder and harder to find workers that meet the level of quality his company expects.

To tackle this issue, Dobratzl, Grider and Dodds say it is imperative for companies to be both proactive and strategic. Below are three ways they are addressing—and filling—the skills gaps within their own organizations:

Moving Forward
As the above feedback confirms, industrial metal-cutting companies are feeling the effects of the manufacturing skills gap. With more and more workers retiring, this gap stands to only grow larger, unless companies start acting now.

Today’s managers will need to be strategic in the way they hire, train, and maintain their employees if they want to successfully move forward. These days, industry leaders are finding that human capital is not just valuable, but an essential part of success.
How is your metal-cutting organization approaching and equipping its next generation of workers?