Thermoforming Report

September Thermoforming Report: Targeting Tech-Savvy Talent in Manufacturing

by Keith Brown, President & Owner, Siena Group.

September 2023.

The topic of technology is ever-present – how and when to leverage it in order to drive real results is key. A variety of different kinds of technology is making its way onto the manufacturing floor. Hiring the right talent (and training those already on your team) is critical to being nimble and leveraging these new and more complex tools. Implementing tech isn’t a new idea… but it does seem to be happening at a faster pace these days!

As usual, we have several great articles relevant to our industry and quite a few amazing All Stars to highlight! Check them out down below in the links on the right. We also have more extraordinary talent in the Featured Talent tab.

Targeting Tech-Savvy Talent

Like most areas of industry, the manufacturing sector has shifted dramatically since 2020. Global disruption from various factors has caused manufacturers to look to technological solutions to streamline their processes and protect their employees. Automation, robotics, and advanced manufacturing technologies help organizations stay ahead of competitors in this rapidly evolving landscape. But, without talent that understands these types of tech, manufacturing enterprises can get left in the dust.

HR directors need to look at their current manufacturing hiring practices and understand if they’re attracting the right talent, and how to make the right transformation to ensure their organization is fit for the future.

Growth via Technology

The manufacturing workforce is steadily decreasing, and as of 2022, only 12.6 million people work in manufacturing in the United States (CBInsights, 2022). While some of this is due to manufacturing shifting overseas to countries like China, another driving factor is the changing ways that manufacturing facilities produce goods. Automation in manufacturing means fewer manual checks and measures are required. Robotics handle dangerous or repetitive jobs that used to be in the purview of humans.  

As skilled factory workers age and retire, there’s a fear that there will be fewer skilled employees to replace them. However, if manufacturing hiring practices are adjusted to focus on talent familiar with these new innovations, organizations could reap the benefits. 

Data skills are also vital for manufacturers. Supply and demand are more complex to understand than ever, especially with ongoing challenges surrounding supply chain logistics. Employees or leaders who are comfortable with business intelligence tools, data integration, and in-depth data analysis could help manufacturers manage and boost their bottom line. Growth is only possible if you avoid stagnation, and hiring tech experts – or at a minimum tech-savvy team members – keeps you ahead of the curve. 

Future-Proof Your Manufacturing Hiring Practices

Recruiting for manufacturing technology roles doesn’t need to be prohibitively challenging. While previous manufacturing hiring practices may have focused solely on practical, hands-on skills, new outlooks need to consider not only the data and tech skills required for now, but also what might be needed later down the line. 

This is a vital consideration as the world of manufacturing tech evolves so quickly. IoT (Internet of Things) sensors and remote activation of equipment in hazardous environments are becoming increasingly commonplace.

While those technologies require fewer employees on the factory floor, what they do need is knowledgeable Technicians to set up, maintain, and understand the input from these devices. As AI and machine learning start to move into the realm of manufacturing, the necessity of having people who are open-minded to the possibility of integrating – and embracing – such technology is paramount!

This might mean working with a completely different recruitment model from the one your teams are used to. Consider utilizing external recruiters to help you make the necessary shifts to gain and retain top talent that can drive your organization into the future. 

From product assembly to packing and shipping, robotics and automation in manufacturing are now a familiar part of many facilities. However, hiring the right talent can seem tough in a highly competitive market. Applicants can demand high salaries, especially in roles such as leadership, programming, or analytics. Manufacturing organizations need to be open to making big investments in the right talent, and then nurturing that talent so that the risk of employee churn is low. Protect your acquisitions by providing your people with learning and development opportunities, great benefits, and a promising career trajectory. 

Need further details on attracting & retaining Top Talent? Check out our August blog!

Wrapping It Up

Investing in the right people now could position your company as THE place to work for tech-savvy staff. As manufacturing technology advances, the right people give your organization the best chance at sustainable growth. 

A well-known quote sums it up: “If you aren’t improving, you are falling behind.” 

As your Thermoforming Talent Partner, we represent clients AND candidates! We’re here to help in any and every way possible! We provide hiring strategies, priority candidate searches, job searches, client & candidate introductions, interview tips, résumé facelifts, resignation strategies, and much much more. LET’S STRENGTHEN YOUR SEARCH!

“As manufacturing technology advances, the right people give your organization the best chance at sustainable growth.” Keith Brown, Owner/President, Siena Group

  • Future Market Insights: Thermoformed Tubs Market Outlook, published July 2023. via FMI.
  • Future Market Insights: Thermoforming Machines Market Outlook, published August 2023. via FMI.
  • PP, Engineering Resin Prices Slip. via Plastics News.
  • Report: US Plastics Shipments Grow 3%, workforce tops 1M. via Plastics News.
  • Flexible Packaging Suppliers: The Top 21. via Plastics Today.
  • Resin Price Report: Supply Tightness Expected to Continue. via Plastics Today.
  • Micromolding: Pushing the Boundaries of Miniaturization. via Plastics Today.
  • Doing Other People’s Jobs: The Ball and Chain Holding Manufacturing Leaders Back. via Industry Week.
  • BLS Employment Report – August 2023. via MRINetwork.
  • How do you Attract and Retain Talent?
    In a competitive landscape like manufacturing, urgency is commonplace – especially when it comes to landing A-list talent! Focusing on company culture, perks & benefits, and distinctive branding, we’ve highlighted ways that companies can be a ‘market magnet’ and differentiate themselves in the talent marketplace. via Siena Group.
  • How Businesses Can Best Prepare for a Multi-Generational Workforce
    As multiple age groups come together in the workplace, a cross-generational synergy can shape a new narrative for success. This article features ways to prepare for this multi-generational workforce. via CEO Magazine.
  • Productivity: Are your Employees Building Value or Destroying It?
    More than half of employees report being relatively unproductive at work. New research into six types of employees shows how companies can re-engage workers while amplifying the impact of star performers. via McKinsey.
  • 10 Examples of Positive Feedback for Employees
    Great leaders know positive feedback is essential to boost employee morale, productivity, and engagement. This article provides positive feedback examples that will help frame comments in an effective and motivating way. via Forbes.

Senior-Level Operations Leaders: Running the scale and scope from a Director of Manufacturing Operations, a Director of Operations, a VP of Operations, and a President, these Leaders bring extensive experience in thin-gauge thermoforming, with particular emphasis in the food packaging industry.

Continuous Improvement/Operations Excellence Leaders: Ranging from a CI Site Leader, a CI Regional Leader, and a Director of CI, these Leaders have transformed organizations and generated outstanding efficiencies, cost savings, and fundamental continuous improvement shifts in global company cultures.

Director of Product Engineering: This 20-year vet in thin-gauge thermoforming brings tremendous strengths in new product development, leadership, and more! Currently leading all of Product Engineering for a major thermoforming company, he has supported maintenance, helped on the facilities side, and supported operations as well!

Senior Corporate Process Engineer: This senior-level Process Engineer has more than 20 years of experience in thin-gauge thermoforming, bringing hands-on knowledge of installing, validating, and effectively handing off new equipment. He knows how to troubleshoot, how to assess, and how to train – all in order to ensure a quality product is manufactured day in and day out!

Even More Thermoforming Talent! We work with so many talented people in many different functions – all in thermoforming. Whether it’s an Operations Leader, Plant Manager, Supply Chain Leader, HR Leader, specialized Engineer, Quality Leader, Sales Leader, or pretty much any thermoforming role, we are here to help. If you have a need, please do not hesitate to just reach out! 

Click for more All-Stars.

At Siena Group, we are your Thermoforming Talent Partner. With more than 30 years of experience in manufacturing, hiring & recruiting talent, we bring a greater understanding of the companies we partner with and the candidates we pursue.
Let’s Strengthen Your Search!

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