Archive | Workforce Issues

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Unintended Consequences of Cutting Technical Headcount

In the automation community, we routinely hear that reducing head count is one of the better ways to cut operational costs in a manufacturing plant. From some perspectives, this assertion makes sense, especially if management is looking for short-term cost reductions to bolster the plant’s net operating profits, meet their performance goals, and receive their […]

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How to Close the Operator Competency Gap in Process Industries

Developing and maintaining competent process operators is critical to business performance in the process industries. This blog post, the second part in a two part series, looks at operator competency. In the first post I focused on four signal classes that are leading and lagging indicators of potential competency gaps in process operators. In this […]

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What Are Indicators of Potential Competency Gaps in Industrial Process Operators?

Developing and maintaining competent process operators is critical to business performance in the process industries. This blog post focuses on four signal classes that are leading and lagging indicators of competency gaps in process operators. The evidence of history is that if not addressed, these gaps increase the risk of non-optimal outcomes leading to reduced […]

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Where Do Humans Fit in the Factory of the Future?

Much has been written and forecasted about the various impacts of technologies on humans: work, pleasure, productivity, and behaviors. The exponential growth of technical tools and their explosive applications to our lives have been nothing short of astounding. These have created an equally dramatic increase in new jobs with required skills. Organizations seek to fill […]

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Are Parents Out of Touch with Careers in Manufacturing?

There’s plenty of concern about the retiring generation of industrial professionals and the potential shortage of skilled workers needed to fill new jobs created by revolutionary advances in automation and manufacturing technology.  Industry leaders remain hyper-focused on the challenges of encouraging high school and college students to pursue industrial careers. But according to a new […]

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The Most Empowering 4 Letter Word

A couple of weeks ago I gave a presentation, entitled “Are we there yet?”,  to a group of attendees – a mixed bag of engineering students, a few employees, and employers – at the National Society of Black Engineers 42nd Annual Conference in Boston. The session was  focused on diversity & inclusion or D&I. I […]

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Cyber-Attack

The cybersecurity threat – taking it personally

If you’re threatening the security, safety or long-term viability of my workplace, you’re threatening me. And I don’t like it.  I take it personally.  And so should every person working in critical infrastructure facilities, because there are literally thousands of people in this world who do nothing all day, every day, but sit in a […]

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Auto Shop

Technical Expertise Across Multiple Platforms: What the Auto Dealership Taught Me the Hard Way

Several years ago, my family owned a Honda and a Chevy.  When we initially bought our cars, we took them to the respective dealers for routine maintenance and service.  It seemed like the obvious thing to do in this era of high-tech automobiles, since they should know their cars best.  However, after a while I […]

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Need Automation Workers? Who You Gonna Call?

Everybody’s talking about the lack of qualified automation professionals – “autopros” as I have referred to these fine folks in previous blogs – to meet the needs of process manufacturers starving for employees. Everybody’s talking about it, but some are doing something about it.  Here at ISA, we do both.  Talking is my forte (ask […]

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