Why Sandvik Coromant's View on Manufacturing Skills Gap is Scary

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Manufacturing

Sandvik Coromant (which looks deceptively like “cormorant,” one of the more interesting and resilient waterbirds out there) doesn’t want to be left behind in the new global manufacturing economy.

The supplier of metal cutting tools and tooling solutions for automotive, aerospace and energy industries recently released a pretty cool video series addressing the supply chain challenges that manufactuers have in the future. In one of these videos, Sandvik addresses the manufacturing skills gap, and how hyperspecialization will change the way companies will source their employees.

One thing is clear from the video: skills are becoming more and more scarce.

What are some of the challenges facing your company? Are you on the front lines of experiencing the manufacturing skills gap? Leave a comment and let us know! Or send us an email!

According to a company release, “for example, previously outsourcing was a matter of cost. In the future it will be a means to access required skills. Work as such will be constructed differently by distributing it to specialists around the world and then bringing it back together again for delivery.”

(Hmm, unless you’re a backwater organization, that sounds like what many of our most leading-edge readers already do.)

At any rate, as far as hyperspecialization goes, “It is very much an orchestrated network where specific project managers will coordinate a set of experts just like a conductor leads the way in a philharmonic orchestra. This way of working opens up for new partnerships and cooperation between manufacturers, tool makers, machine makers, universities and research centers,” Klas Forsström, Sandvik’s president, is quoted as saying.

However, the coolest – and most (potentially) frightening – component of the video are statistics showing the declining numbers of people who will have to support retirees.

Back in 2010, four people supported one person in retirement. In 2020, it will be 3-to-1. In 2050, it will be less than 2-to-1. “That will create quite the challenges for us,” says Mikael Lövblad, who works in business intelligence at Sandvik.

What are some of the challenges facing your company? Are you on the front lines of experiencing the manufacturing skills gap? Leave a comment and let us know! Or send us an email!

Comment (1)

  1. David DeLong says:

    A thought-provoking video, but as someone who continually studies the emerging “skills gap,” I have a couple of concerns. First, we are still talking about skill shortages as an amorphous problem. In reality, the shortage of welders or machinists is a very different problem than the shortage of geoscientists or primary care physicians. We need to start parsing the problem more thoughtfully to address different shortages successfully. Some shortages will be much more amenable to hyperspecialization than others.

    One other thing the video failed to mention is the serious shortage of leadership talent and how effective organizations are going to accelerate leadership development as more and more experienced executives retire. This is just one of several aspects of the skills gap problem that I have continued to address since the publication of my book “Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce.”

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