Automating During Industry Headwinds

             With the effects of the national lockdown still reverberating through the economy, the business cycle has definitely entered uncharted territory.  Recently the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs report for September showing that the US far underperformed expectations for the labor market. While the Bureau’s measure of unemployment fell to 4.8%, the market only added 194,000 jobs during last month. For many business owners and hiring managers in the manufacturing industry, this hardly comes as a surprise. It seems like once a week we hear stories from customers who interview 50 candidates, hire 30, and finish onboarding less than 10 for positions they can’t keep filled. For the many outstanding skilled workers in our industry, this reinforces the importance of their dedication to their craft. But compounding the employment even further is the record number of workers leaving their jobs. In August alone, the recent Department of Labor numbers show 4.3 million employees left their place of employment. This is an understatement to say it is not proving conducive to training the next generation of employee.

             The solution to many of these labor disruptions is leading to an increase in automation for many companies. Not only does this generally help cover shortages in staffing due to the lack of eligible job candidates, but automation can also greatly increase the efficiency and productivity of current employees. According to Persistence Market Research, demand for global automated material handling solutions is expected to grow at 14% year over year through 2031. If this industry push to increase automation wasn’t enough to strain current procurement channels, the ongoing global supply chain crisis has dampened the ability for many small companies to adequately expand capacity. With ports all across the country backed up, manufacturers are waiting longer than ever before to take delivery of components needed for their overstressed factories. According to the Institute of Supply Management, American manufacturers are now waiting on average 92 days to assemble parts and raw materials needed to finish products.

             Headlines like the ones above have been showing quite a bleak outlook on our current economic headwinds; but this can also be an opportunity for more forward thinking companies who have been able to maintain locally sourced materials and keep their production lines primed with finished products. One such company we have recommended for both automation and expedited delivery times is New London Engineering. New London is a producer of conveyors located in New London Wisconsin, with vast experience manufacturing their products to meet a diverse array of industries. In a sector that is promising nearly a year delivery for finished products, New London has been able to keep a steady supply of more than 29,000 different sized conveyors to meet their customers’ needs within two months of ordering. Cinco Industries has used them as our suppler of small parts conveyors for the fastener industry, but they are also prominent many other industries requiring material handling solutions. Cinco has installed their SteelTrak hinged steel belt conveyors in dozens of factories for years and we have yet to hear a complaint. New London has a reputation for building products that last, and they offer solutions to meet all types of requirements from conveyance for automated robotic systems to belt driven live roller conveyors. With the strains on supply chains and employment expected to continue into the foreseeable future, it is long past overdue for companies to leverage increases in automation to stay ahead of the competition. If you have an automation or conveyance need, contact a Cinco representative today to see how we can best solve your problem.