How can digitalization help with the lack of workers in manufacturing?

One of the daunting challenges for industrial companies today is scarcity of qualified workforce in manufacturing. According to last year’s survey by the Employment Service of Slovenia (ESS), 1 in 5 companies had to reject orders, while more than 10% of them postponed their planned expansion, and the same amount reduced production volume. Adding to the challenge is retirement of experienced workers, as their valuable knowledge and experience are key for efficient process execution.

Staff shortages in industrial companies are often compensated through overtime work or outsourcing, but neither of them is a sustainable long-term solution. 

How can digitalization of manufacturing help?

Preservation and transfer of knowledge. In many industries, manufacturing data is dispersed among various databases, machines and spreadsheets, and sometimes even in paper records. The same goes for (most) procedures. Therefore, production planning, machine maintenance and operations’ stabilization largely depend on the “magic” touch of experienced workers, who possess the needed knowledge and intuition for proper process execution.

Digitization enables us to document their experience and convert it into algorithms, which combined with automatic data acquisition, processing and workflow help preserve practical knowledge. Thus, digital tools can become a virtual storage of knowledge for development of workers’ competencies and faster introduction of new employees, which enables manufacturing companies to maintain and increase their productivity despite workforce fluctuation.

More attractive jobs. A common (mis)perception is that work in manufacturing is monotonous and based on proven, but mature technologies. Therefore, such jobs are often viewed as less attractive for the generations that grew up with smartphones and tablets.

Digital solutions help us create a more technologically advanced work environment, where repetitive processes are automated and thus workers’ time is dedicated to more complex tasks for managing process stabilization and efficiency. Thus, jobs in manufacturing can become more interesting even for younger and more educated personnel.

Development of existing employees. In introducing digital tools, we must be careful to avoid partial implementations on the one hand or too fast a dynamic on the other, as we can endanger the stability of manufacturing processes or cause resistance among employees who are used to existing ways of working.

For that reason, structured and gradual introduction of new technologies is essential for stable modernization of manufacturing, attraction of new employees and retention of existing ones. The basis for that is a carefully prepared digital strategy, which addresses both technological and human resource aspects.

Furthermore, it is also crucial that the introduced digital tools are intuitive to use, which helps new and existing employees to get up to speed fast while having a good experience.

How can we help you at Metronik?

At Metronik, we are specialists for automation and digitization of manufacturing processes –and we can help industrial companies in several ways.

Digitization is much more than a software solution for collection and processing of manufacturing data. It must be carefully and comprehensively planned, and thoughtfully put into practice to enable achievement of key goals such as productivity increase, cost reduction, process stabilization, quality improvement, maintenance excellence and the like.

Therefore, at Metronik we can offer technical and operational consulting for carving out a digital strategy and implementing it with the help of proven solutions. This way, we can ensure the fastest possible results with lowest possible disruptions in manufacturing.

With advanced manufacturing digitization platform MePIS, we can support industrial companies also with practical tools that help them achieve operational excellence, efficient management of manufacturing processes, energy efficiency, higher process stability and product quality, and other processes improvements. 

Our solutions are based on more than 30 years of experience in automation and digitalization of manufacturing plants. Their modules are flexible and configurable, so they can easily be adjusted to cover specific characteristics/requirements of various industries, such as pharmaceutical, food, chemical, automotive and others.

The common characteristic of our solutions are intuitive and user-friendly functionalities that enable quick learning, introduction, and are easy to use.

For more information about how we can help you in your specific situation, please contact Mr. Vanja Tomažič at