The available workforce in our industry will trend downward as wage pressures continue to increase in our area for less labor-intensive production roles. We’re already challenged to fill open positions and anticipate 2018 presenting similar hurdles. Projecting five to ten year scenarios will depend on strategic decisions. The best option for J&B Pallet is to examine all automation alternatives and focus on developing a more nimble, highly skilled employee work force.
Primarily, a combination of wage rates and location, as our locale is at nearly full employment, with a broad base of opportunities in production, agriculture and service industry positions, are all factors. This generates upward pressure on starting wage rates, and makes retention of trained employees challenging as well.
Wages and the physical demands for many production roles make it challenging to recruit. There is competitive pressure for all roles, mainly from traditional manufacturing facilities, warehousing/logistics opportunities, and agricultural positions.
Automation, mechanical solutions, and process modifications to mitigate the physical demands will help. Implementing automation solutions for the future will also drive skill development and opportunity for advancement, resulting in a higher functioning work force in the next 5 to 10 years.