Organizations across the light industrial and manufacturing industry are faced with a wide range of challenges, from inconsistent demand and talent shortages to shifting customer expectations. To stay competitive, businesses must be able to react quickly and adapt to changes as they come, and a flexible workforce will prove a powerful tool to achieve this.
When individuals think about a “flexible workforce,” they often assume this refers solely to the working arrangement whereby employees and employers adopt a unique work style (as opposed to the traditional 9 to 5 approach). But, this flexibility also includes elastic staffing. This is essentially the use of any mix of full-time, part-time, and contingent workers (e.g., freelancers, independent contractors, consultants, or other outsourced or non-permanent workers) to accurately meet variable demand. In other words, using a flexible workforce gives organizations the ability to quickly scale and adapt depending on the short-term and long-term needs of the business.
Today, utilizing elastic talent is gaining traction quickly. In fact, the trend of hiring contingent workers is expected to continue accelerating, and Intuit reports that more than 80% of large corporations are planning to substantially increase their use of a flexible workforce in the coming years. Here are just some of the industries that are poised to benefit as the reliance on flexible workers continues to grow:
With the flexibility and expertise of elastic hourly workers in mind, it’s no surprise that corporations are embracing them as a key component of their overall workforce strategy. So, how are these workers supporting businesses in the industry today?
Workforce and workplace flexibility are gaining momentum across almost all industries, but using skilled hourly workers may be most salient in the light industrial and manufacturing industry. Why? Because prioritizing greater flexibility and contingent talent can help teams tackle industry challenges more efficiently and effectively. Some of the most common issues these companies face include:
A skills gap and talent shortage
The manufacturing industry is battling a skilled labor shortage, and the projections for the near future are an increasing cause for concern. Deloitte found that not only will 22% of existing skilled manufacturing workers be retired by 2025, but it’s also predicted that there’ll be a shortage of more than two million American manufacturing workers by 2030. Leveraging an elastic workforce gives organizations access to a diverse talent pool with specialized skills and expertise. The flexibility and adaptability that these workers provide help quickly fill critical skills gaps and contribute to efficiency and productivity.
Employee recruitment and retention
The light industrial and manufacturing space is experiencing a rapidly aging workforce and a growing demand for skilled labor, but companies are finding it difficult to strengthen recruitment efforts and lasting employee retention to stay competitive. This shortage of qualified talent is leading to high turnover rates and increased competition for capable workers — ultimately driving costs, overworking employees, negatively impacting morale and productivity, and hindering the ability to meet production demands.
Using a contingent workforce with specialized skills boosts efficiency, output, and performance, fostering a more flexible and supportive work environment that values individual contributions. This creates a positive company culture of teamwork, professionalism, and continuous improvement, inevitably advancing efforts to attract and retain top talent.
Increasing consumer expectations
According to Forbes, 93% of customer service teams report that customers have higher expectations than ever before. This is often attributed to the rise of e-commerce and the breadth of products and information available online. And, because this trend is only anticipated to continue, manufacturers have the added pressure of delivering high-quality products, convenience, and more personalized experiences. Leveraging skilled contingent workers ensures organizations can meet the demands of today’s fast-paced and dynamic business environment, which promotes long-term customer satisfaction.
Inflation and supply chain disruptions
Another challenge that’s projected to endure is the rising cost of raw materials (e.g., steel, aluminum, and oil). This is making it increasingly difficult for manufacturers and other industry professionals to keep costs low while maintaining quality. What’s more, organizations are navigating continued supply chain disruptions that have affected virtually every industry in recent years. This can cause significant losses in terms of finances (62%), logistics (54%), and reputation (54%), as reported by Finances Online. With the resulting increased costs, lower product quality, and longer lead times, organizations are struggling with repercussions to their production schedules, customer satisfaction, and overall long-term profitability.
An elastic workforce provides support by increasing flexibility and reducing fixed labor costs, which are significant factors in combating inflation. Moreover, as teams work to overcome supply chain issues, contingent workers with the right expertise guarantee companies are prepared to adequately address variable demand. This demonstrates the value of flexible workforces for companies looking to maintain their competitiveness in an increasingly challenging economic environment.
As organizations make use of more flexible work options, they stand to see several advantages along the way. Here’s a closer look at the top benefits of an elastic workforce in the light industrial and manufacturing industry:
Both the market and your labor needs are ever-changing, and when you’re trying to not only tackle industry challenges but also maintain a competitive edge in the process, greater flexibility can help you keep up. But, how are organizations building a flexible workforce?
To get the most out of skilled elastic labor, consider these seven strategies:
Today, a flexible workforce model can help your teams thrive in a world of disruption, and Bluecrew can support you along the way. With our advanced workforce-as-a-service solutions, your business has access to pre-screened, elastic hourly workers to help you address demand forecasting challenges in the most efficient way possible.
Quickly scale teams up or down on an as-needed basis with qualified W-2 Crew Members, while boosting your workforce management through our robust platform — streamlining everything from recruiting, employee scheduling, and time tracking to forecasting, compliance, and more.
Ready to take on industry challenges with confidence and promote long-term productivity with an elastic workforce? Contact Bluecrew today to learn more and get started.
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