Volume 4, Number 8 - August 8, 2006

The loss of over 3,000,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 10 years is well documented. From that one fact it is easy to assume that manufacturers have now gained the luxury of a bevy of experienced workers from which to choose. Yet right now manufacturers across the country are searching unsuccessfully for all kinds of skilled resources, from production to professional. The well known demographics of baby boomers approaching retirement, even if ineffective retirement planning means that many will work to 65 and beyond, suggest that the challenge of finding needed resources will only get worse.

The Macroeconomics of this may be interesting, but for a business owner, actively planning for the shortage can mean the difference between economic success and failure. The concept of knowledge management has been around for years, but few small or mid sized manufacturers have done much with it. There are software tools that can help capture the valuable experience of workers solving problems and make it searchable to answer questions like “have we ever had this problem before?” or “What did we do about it then, and why?”

Competitive advantage is delivered to the market every day on the backs of skilled and knowledgeable employees. As they disappear, so too will competitive advantage, unless steps are taken to transfer the requisite information to the organization and both its remaining and future employees.

Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.
For reprint permission, just give Rebecca a call
or e-mail her at [email protected]