Due to the fluctuating nature of business, you need a staffing solution that enables you to control how, when and where you deploy your personnel. In the manufacturing industry, this is even more true, as customer purchase cycles often vary greatly over the year in terms of volume and number and businesses struggle to source workers due to labor shortages
So, when an unexpected big order arrives, a supply chain breakdown occurs, or situations like a natural disaster prevent your workers from making it to the facility, how will you make sure you deliver on time? The answer is a reliable source for accessing skilled temporary labor.
Unfortunately, the on-demand economy of today is not doing a great job at supplying skilled manufacturing labor. In fact, some research even concludes that the United States will encounter a 2 million worker shortage over the next decade. Which means it's even more imperative for production centers to find trustworthy sources of talented laborers. Here's how you can make certain you can always get the people you need on short notice.

1. Use Technology to Optimize Scheduling 

Fixed scheduling can create issues, as there will undoubtedly be times when you have too few or too many workers. You are probably already using new technology to improve efficiency in the production line, and there's no reason you can't employ software that helps you meet staffing needs in real-time.
Businesses using software to make scheduling more adaptable and efficient have reported much success. Overall, 61 percent of small businesses say they have better scheduling practices with such software, which certainly helps lower expenses and increase profit.

But what about times when you need more than just your pool of workers? While scheduling software won't magically come up with more workers, technological solutions can help find outside help. Having a third-party supplier of skilled laborers that can offer workers immediately is essential. Thankfully, with one-third of the workforce currently operating as independent workers, countless apps have been created to focus on connecting folks to temporary assignments — and it's all just a click or call away.

2. Utilize Data to Plan Ahead

Often, it's a surprise order that has you scrambling for more staff. However, production plants now have greater access to business data than ever before. There are many insights you can derive by analyzing this data carefully.

While much of the talk in big data analytics is focused on marketing, sales and customer service, it can also be employed to predict which times of the week, month, quarter and year you'll be busier — and thus need more laborers. This can take away the surprise factor of big orders, remove the need for emergency staffing and prevent a late delivery to the customer.

As you start relying on data to help you see which times you'll probably need to bring in temporary workers, make sure to actually gather the resources to train your team on how to use that data. Sadly, on average, a business doesn't understand about half its data. Get educated, and don't let this happen to you. If you understand all that information you're collecting, you can use it to perfect your internal scheduling as well as your use of outside talent.

3. Ensure Access to the Right Workers

The average cost of a hire is estimated to be about $4,000, though that varies with every industry and company. The point is that you are most likely willing to spend a little extra to ensure you land the right skilled worker. While you don't have to be as thorough when building a list of suitable temp employees, you should still take time to get the right ones. This ensures workers not only have the necessary skills, certifications and experience but also have recommendations showing their reliability. Such workers should also undergo a drug test and background check.

You also need to ensure you can provide proper training, progress checks and professional support. All these things go a long way in guaranteeing the workers will be there when you need them. Ensuring you have such access all the time requires that you get an early start by recruiting candidates as soon as possible. Preparation avoids disaster. Additionally, if going through a process is too hard on your own, think about finding a recruiter or staffing agency to help.

4. Partner With a Trustworthy Agency

Out of all Fortune 500 companies, 90 percent use temp agencies. This indicates that there are a lot of staffing firms out there, which can make it difficult to sort through the good and bad ones.

As you begin looking, hone in on those that can actually provide the type and number of skilled workers you need. You can do this by analyzing the company yourself and inquiring with other businesses that have used the agency. You could even check reviews on third-party websites. Then, you should be able to narrow it down to a few options.

You can then start asking those temp agency questions, such as the following:

  • How many years of experience do your workers have?
  • What additional services do you provide (on-boarding, on-site management, drug testing, etc.)?
  • Do you have rapid deployment capabilities?

As a production facility, you need the best and most reliable workers, and that necessitates finding an agency that can deliver. In this sense, contingency staffing agencies are a better option than traditional staffing firms because they give you access to on-demand talent with minimal notice, something even those with Managed Service Provider (MSP) capabilities, can't do.

In today's manufacturing world, being able to consistently find temporary workers on short notice doesn't have to be difficult. Put technology and data to work, take time to vet potential temp hires, and partner with a reputable contingency staffing agency. Then, when you are in a rush and need outside help, you'll have workers with the necessary skills and experience to get the job done.


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