As with most industries, digital transformation has forced manufacturers to reevaluate business models. While digitization and automation will eliminate some jobs, digital transformation will also require a variety of skilled professional to make the transformation successful. Here are some of the biggest innovations in manufacturing right now.


Robotics is rapidly integrating itself into the operations of manufacturers. This creates many new opportunities. For example, robotics has streamlined assembly lines and allowed for safer handling of hazardous materials, such as radioactive chemicals. Robotics is changing the nature of the workplace. While people can only work so many hours a day, robotic machines can work all day long. But this also creates jobs, as someone needs to maintain the equipment and keep it working efficiently.

Rethinking Skills

Innovative software platforms are making it easier to synchronize people and automated machines. For example, the software called Enterprise Resource Planning allows companies to share information to all employees, so everyone is on the same page. The key is allocating tasks in a way that creates the right balance between people and machines. Companies can allow workers to focus on more skill-oriented tasks, while machines handle the more labor-intensive tasks. Manufacturers have to rethink tasks so that they can optimize the time and abilities of the employees that they have. Potential employees also need to think about their training.

Upskilling Employees

A skills gap seems inevitable as many manufacturing employees still specialize in the skills and tasks that can now be done by machines. Talent areas such as engineering and software development are going to be imperative. Manufacturers will have to teach employees new skills. The biggest obstacle is time. Technological advances move swiftly and can be hard to keep up with. Employers need to have training plans in place so that they can teach employees necessary skills as quickly as possible. If they cannot do this, they are going to be left behind.

As the manufacturing industry becomes more digitized and automated, companies have the opportunity to really increase their productivity and efficiency. Employers are going to have to change their business models, rethink how they allocate tasks, and find ways to train talent to prevent a stark skills gap.

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photo credit: Louis Reed, Unsplash