Change in Manufacturing Workforce

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, almost 7 per cent of Australia’s employed workforce is from the manufacturing industry in 2019. There is a widening skills gap as the workforce is ageing and the industry struggle to attract young talents.

Automation has reduced the intake for non-skilled positions and the present skilled positions requirements are changing rapidly. Gen Z work force that are entering the job markets are characterised as being technologically advanced, independent and entrepreneurial and they lack excitement towards manufacturing careers.

In fact, LinkedIn’s top 15 emerging jobs for 2020 in Australia, in the fields of robotics, automation, AR, AI and data scientist will play a huge role in the future of manufacturing.


Retain your existing people by retaining them. Create future skills matrix and invest in cross-skilling your workforce in technical domain that will required in the future.

Promote your workforce from within by developing confident leaders by integrating both technical and soft skills to set them apart. We often see soft skills listed as requirements in job descriptions, but, how often are they included in skills matrices and development plans.

Give equal priority to soft skills development along with hard skills. It can create confident leaders who you can promote with confidence.

A fresh Gen Z graduate typically welcomes change and has an entrepreneurial spirit, so create roles that offer job rotations, flexible working and real responsibility from day one. Providing development opportunities in areas such as automation, data analytics will interest them.

In summary, create a plan for the future rather than struggling for workforce. Cross-train to retain existing people, develop soft skills to promote from within and understand your audience to better design and market the positions to attract top talent.

Future of Manufacturing – Smart Factories

The main driver of competition by 2025 will be the smart factories which believed by 86 per cent of manufacturers in United States. 83 percent believe that smart factories will transform the way products are made. [Deloitte analysis]

Leaders have a broad range of choices and opportunities in terms of which technologies to use, and how to deploy them.

How do they start, succeed, and realize the value in these efforts? What lessons can be learned from those who have already done it? In addition, how can leaders translate those lessons into value not just for smart factories but also for their whole organizations?

Learning from the themes of smart factory initiatives [Deloitte Analysis]

The familiar themes – discovering change management themes

  • Human-centered design based on real user needs
    Focus on the needs of end users and enable them to harness the value of data that comes from a connected facility
  • Top-down, bottom-up approach
    Prioritize support at a leadership level, as well as on the ground, to gain organizational buy-in and strategic consideration, and ensure adoption.
  • Diverse teams with a broad variety of skill sets
    Identify and deploy the many unique skill sets required for smart factory success, such as engineering, master data management, and analytics, to ensure the value extends far beyond the four walls of the facility.
  • Ongoing support and learning
    Develop and access the skills required for the long term to ensure ongoing success as the smart factory evolves.

The specific themes – integrating Information Technology (IT) and Operations Technology (OT) in the smart factory

  • Connectivity as critical
    Before focusing on adding smart capabilities, make sure the internal digital infrastructure, whether wired or wireless, is in place to support it.
  • Managing the reality of multiple devices
    A variety of different equipment, sensors and other devices means a variety of issues need to be resolved on the shop floor to maximize results.
  • Bridging the IT/OT divide
    Cultures differ across different parts of the company. Bringing together the IT and OT communities can be critical to ensuring not only that smart factory transformation initiatives are successful, but that they can scale on a broader level to other areas of the network and digital supply networks (DSNs).

Smart factory transformation – turning lessons into outcomes [Deloitte Analysis]

  • Illuminate the hidden factory
    Connected smart factories provide data that leaders have often never had access to before, illuminating things that were perhaps always there but in the ‘dark’ due to lack of digitization.
  • Augment current systems for new value
    Companies can evolve and improve upon familiar methodologies and disciplines, such as lean manufacturing and talent management, to uncover new ways to create value, drive greater productivity, make faster decisions, respond more quickly, and more effectively leverage talent.
  • Harness AI to get to the next level
    Once everything is connected, data abounds. Companies need tools to make sense of all that information in a way that humans cannot – to drive value quickly, proactively, and flexibly.
  • Scale the smart factory throughout the network and ecosystem
    While significant value can be realized by transforming a single facility into a smart one, the value that can be realized by scaling across the facility network is exponentially greater.

There is no single approach to smart factory deployment; each lesson can lead to a significant value.