The Supply Chain Needs More Skilled Workers, Now and In Every Category

by George Prest, CEO, MHI

No doubt, hiring, training and retention of workers is the most important issue facing this industry.

More than 11 million people work in the supply chain, which is 8.6 percent of the nation’s workforce. However, a shortage of skilled workers remains.

An estimated 600,000 manufacturing positions in the U.S. are unfilled for a lack of qualified workers. In addition to that, projections call for 270,000 new jobs in the material handling, logistics and supply chain industry annually through 2018 with a median wage of $80,000 per year.

With unemployment at roughly 7% nationwide, how can this be? What is causing this shortage?

Multiple factors are contributing to this shortage including an aging workforce and the negative perception of manufacturing and supply chain jobs to the younger demographic. However, the changing skillsets necessary for these jobs in the supply chain is the biggest factor.

The sophistication of the skillsets required to operate leading-edge equipment and system solutions require an equally sophisticated and well-trained workforce.

The supply chain workforce shortage was most important trend that came out of the recently released U.S. Roadmap Material Handling for Material Handling and Logistics.

In addition, at MODEX 2014, MHI will release a new report titled Innovations That Drive Supply Chains–The 2014 MHI Annual Report  that also points to the workforce shortage as the most important challenge facing our industry.

The current issue of MHI Solutions  focuses on this important topic, from best practices in hiring and developing supply chain talent to certification to how to work with the new generation of supply chain workers.

In the current economy, many are looking for jobs. With so many supply chain jobs available, we as an industry need to better communicate potential job opportunities, and then effectively train these workers to create a more robust supply chain workforce.

This topic is on top of MHI’s agenda with the work we are doing with our Technical Career Education Program and College-Industry Council on Material Handling Education. Both are holding Career Days at MODEX 2014. MHI is also organizing a Career Forum at MODEX where MODEX attendees can view and interview for jobs that are available from MODEX exhibitors.

That’s a start, but we need to do much more.

I hope this issue of MHI Solutions  helps provide the information and resources you need to address workforce issues in your supply chain. Click here to read this issue.