News Feature | December 8, 2015

What The IoT Can Do For Your Manufacturing IT Clients' Labor Shortage

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer


One of the biggest challenges in industry is the shortage of skilled labor. As the number of retiring workers increases, the challenge will only become greater. Can the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Big Data/predictive analytics help ease this burden?

In an LNS Research blog, Dan Miklovic addresses the “Great Shift Change” and the role that technology may play in easing the challenge. According to Miklovic, “The great shift (or crew) change is the term used to describe the waves of retirement that happen in an industry due to generational maturing.” Workers have cycled through industries since WWII, but he explains, “The problem becomes severe when the economic cycles combine with an aging workforce to create a need to downsize an industry due to tight margins, just as a group of workers concurrently become eligible for retirement.”

The IIoT and predictive analytics can not only address immediate issues that occur, but also redefine roles for workers in the future. For example, work that must be performed in remote or dangerous locations may be able to be accomplished via augmented reality solutions. An example is the mining industry that uses equipment operators in control rooms rather than an employee in the mine. Benefits include not only an enhanced ability to recruit new employees, but also performance data that is captured during work.

Miklovic stresses the importance of speaking to your clients now about how they can leverage technology to help with the problem. One strong argument is that their competition probably is — Accenture estimates that the IIoT could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, and argues that it is poised to redefine many sectors and accelerate growth.

Another argument is that economic cycles will continue, and the problem will recur. Miklovic states, “If the industry just invests minimally in remote location technology and stops there it will face another “great shift change” in another 15 to 20 years. The industry can kick the can down the road, or it can finally change the way it does business. The choice is there — businesses just need to make it.”

To read Miklovic’s blog, click here