A look back: National Manufacturing Day 2021

Nov. 15, 2021
We’re looking back at The Raymond Corporation’s virtual Manufacturing Day celebration on Oct. 1, 2021, and the exciting changes happening in the manufacturing industry that impact the future of business.

By Steve VanNostrand, the executive vice president of human resources, The Raymond Corporation

We’re looking back at The Raymond Corporation’s virtual Manufacturing Day celebration on Oct. 1, 2021, and the exciting changes happening in the manufacturing industry that impact the future of business. 

National Manufacturing Day

Organized by the National Associate of Manufacturers (NAM), and held annually during October, National Manufacturing Day celebrates the manufacturing industry and highlights career opportunities in manufacturing by encouraging companies around the country to open their doors to students.

The event showcases the rapid changes happening in today’s modern manufacturing industry as technology and automation continue to redefine the industry. The event aimed to highlight these changes and raise awareness about the variety of career opportunities available in the material handling industry. The goal of the day is to help manufacturing operations reach students who could ultimately help fill a growing number of skilled manufacturing positions—from welding and assembly to forklift operation or advanced engineering.

Industry 4.0: The future of manufacturing

Many students who participate in National Manufacturing Day have previously had limited exposure to the interesting technology of the material handling world. This was an opportunity to open their eyes to the high-tech technologies of the future.

The next generation of manufacturing employees will be working with advanced technology, software, and robotics, gaining experience in smart technologies, from innovative fleet management systems to real-time location tracking systems, and automated guided vehicles. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques with the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 requires skilled labor to work on processes that are not only interconnected but can be optimized to communicate, interpret, and use data to improve decision making.

Building skills for the future

With the evolution of Industry 4.0 and continued advancements in manufacturing technologies, education will continue to play a key role in attracting new talent to the manufacturing industry. Innovative learning tools, such as virtual-reality education, are an excellent example of how the industry is evolving to better meet today’s workforce needs. In a recent study, 69 percent of manufacturing employees under age 25 said they stay with their current employer because of training and development opportunities.

More accustomed to gaming, younger generations may be attracted to explore career opportunities in manufacturing if they’re able to experience unique ways of learning, like virtual reality. These new tools can also help close the labor gap in the manufacturing industry increasing existing operator proficiency and helping ensure they are coached confidently.

This is where Manufacturing Day shines. By opening the doors to manufacturing facilities, students are given a look at modern manufacturing techniques and innovative technology in action. This introduction provides the next generation of talent a look at a variety of career paths that they may have never known were available to them, ultimately helping to engage and expand the future of the manufacturing workforce.

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