We see mention of the “manufacturing skills gap” in many articles and industry websites, and as ERP consultants, we have also witnessed first-hand an ERP skills gap faced by today’s mid-market manufacturers and distributors.
As an example, a recent industry article entitled “Why the Manufacturing Skills Gap is Serious” makes the case that today’s manufacturer is having a hard time locating and hiring skilled manufacturing labor. This ERP skills gap labor shortage impacts the organization’s competitiveness and ability to meet customer demand.
The article offers a look at some of the strategies companies have put into place to take on the ERP skills gap including apprenticeships, collaboration with educational institutions, and active recruitment of millennia’s.
As the article notes, a skilled labor shortage can seriously impede a manufacturer or distributors effectiveness. It’s not just that manufacturers are concerned about talent today. This has been a serious issue for years, which has the potential to challenge the sector as a whole.
Facing the ERP Skills Gap
In terms of an ERP skills gap, many organizations about to embark upon an ERP project lack the latest in ERP knowledge to unlock thinking and explore possibilities.
It’s difficult for inexperienced teams to understand what’s possible with today’s technology. They often lack the experience to uncover waste and broaden the team’s perspective on what’s possible in terms of proven best practices.
During an ERP selection project, for instance, many teams don’t have a clear understanding of the problem areas, or the areas for potential process improvements. It’s even difficult to assess what vendors are out there, and how their solutions might specifically address the organization’s challenges.
For those organizations saddled with a “home-grown” solution of stand-alone spreadsheets, the situation is compounded.
Using a homegrown solution can raise numerous challenges relegated to a skills gap—particularly for a smaller organization. For example, what happens when the IT director is no longer with the company? Or the programmers who developed the original application move on to other projects, other jobs, or retirement? You may be coding in yesterday’s technology and may find it hard to replace resources that are familiar with and competent in those environments.
Who will take over development of the current system and how will they get up to speed on the application? Will the loss of key people make any migration to new technology extremely rocky?
ERP Skills Gap Next Steps
Most of the business users we confer with know the value of obtaining a solid ERP education before their project even begins.
It’s a proven fact that education is an important activity in any business process improvement project. We often think of this as becoming “ERP literate” and stress the benefits of ERP literacy to the manufacturers with whom we work.
Looking to plug the ERP skills gap at your organization? Our team of independent ERP consultants lives and breathes ERP literacy during every project. Our team members allocate time to educate the ERP project team not only on concepts and terminology, but also on current vendors along with technology platforms, system features and functions.
Please contact us to address your ERP skills gap challenges.