You're not always going to have enough staff to keep up with your automotive production needs. At times, all companies may require an outside source for skilled temporary labor. There are many circumstances when having temporary workers is essential, such as when a strike occurs, an unexpected big order arrives, or a natural disaster makes it hard for workers to reach the facility. 

Simply put, labor continuity is integral both to the prevention of supply chain interruptions, and a company's ability to meet its production schedules at all times. This is especially true in the automotive industry. Here's how you can avoid falling behind your production schedule.

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Why You Need a Contingent Staffing Solution

Without a doubt, the automotive industry has a need to use temporary labor. According to David Cole, director emeritus of the Center for Automotive Research, the auto industry may have a labor shortage of over 2 million workers in the future. This is due to a lack of available workers with the necessary skills and experience.

You need more than just extra bodies to solve labor shortages alone—you need staff with the right skills and experience. Even with over 20,000 staffing and recruiting agencies operating in the United States, finding suitable workers can be tricky, however. Many agencies just aren’t able to solve key labor shortages for auto suppliers and companies, especially within a highly interdependent supply chain environment.

Before you begin looking for a staffing partner, you need to assess what future labor issues you may encounter. So, consider how many workers you would need in times of emergency and what positions you’d need to fill. You also need to prioritize the different roles and then determine if and how long each position can remain unfilled, if at all. Keep a list of your staffing needs with you as you research temp agencies to partner with.

How To Find the Right Contingent Staffing Partner

How do you know which agency will make a good partner? First, you should focus your search on staffing companies experienced in the automotive manufacturing industry. Don't even consider agencies that don't directly specialize in this area.

To further narrow your search, talk with other businesses that have used agencies and find out who they recommend. You should also perform your own analysis of a temporary staffing agency, as they are not all the same and have different core competencies that need to be considered and aligned if they are to meet your business continuity needs.

This analysis can include:

  • Inquiry into the experience and skills of the workers.
  • Examination of the agency's recruiting, screening, and hiring process, as well as speed of deployment.
  • The ability of the agency to meet your needs, scale, and other unique requirements.


While some staffing firms may claim they can provide you with the necessary labor, many are geared to reducing costs and managing efficiencies so that when the time comes, you still may be left with a shortage of workers because they either exaggerated their ability to get the needed labor to the production site or overestimated the pools of talent with the necessary skills that are available to them.

With any agency, you'll need to evaluate how deep the labor pool is, how mobile those workers are, and the speed at which they can reach your production site. Ideally, especially if there are local labor shortages for key, high priority positions, you should probably partner with an agency that’s able to rapidly recruit and deploy key personnel throughout the country at any time, to ensure you have the personnel you need to meet deadlines, fulfill orders, and stay ahead of competition. 

For instance, high-performance contingency staffing firms are built to decrease risk and reduce loss. Such agencies actively recruit skilled automotive professionals from a national pool of talent and with advance planning protocols in place, can even get them on site and on the job in a matter of hours, not days.

The Partnership Is More Than Just Staffing

For automotive suppliers, hiring skilled temporary labor should resemble the process for an in-house hire, as manufacturers spend about 5% of the their total payroll on temp laborers. Before you sign a deal with a contingent staffing firm or agency, it’s critical to make sure they will provide ongoing management support.

The staffing agency you select should be able assist with onboarding and helping manage new personnel during their first few weeks or months at the production site. The firm should also be readily available at any time to help with any issues and ensure that integration of skilled labor into your company is seamless and hassle-free. This way, you keep productivity high and guarantee that you don't fall behind schedule.

Additionally, it's important to remember that the skilled temporary labor you hire is going to be a part of your team. You should take the time to make certain that they not only have the proper skills, but also receive the initial support and training required to be an efficient and team-oriented worker.

As workers get settled in, you should evaluate their performance in the same way you would your own staff. This includes criteria such as:

  • knowledge of duties
  • teamwork and attitude
  • adherence to quality and safety standards
  • responsiveness to managers and other superiors

Evaluating temporary workers in these areas will help you see if the staffing agency is providing people who actually help your production facility run more efficiently. With the right firm, you’ll maintain operations with a workforce that will ensure that you effectively reduce risk by meeting production deadlines, MMOG/LE compliance and quality assurance (QA).

Planning for Labor Continuity Using Contigent Staffing Resources

Automotive suppliers have highly complex, interdependent and optimized supply chains which can also create extraordinary exposure and risks, without business continuity planning procedures in place. This is why tools like the MMOG/LE are beneficial. Many companies today also need to recognize the impact of labor on business continuity and the additional risks of unfilled staffing gaps, which if left unattended can also cause significant penalties and losses. 

One solution is clearly to partner with a contingent staffing agency to help manage the risk of labor shortages. It’s important to remember that not all contingent staffing solutions are the same, and that companies may need a variety of temporary staffing resources to ensure Labor Continuity in the automotive supply chain environment.

Download our free Labor Inventory Workbook to help you identify and prioritize key manufacturing personnel so that you can respond quickly to any business disruption that may impact your operations and employees. 

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