Drawing A Line (On The Factory Line): Why The Manufacturing Industry Needs Women
The clichéd image of the woman in the manufacturing industry is something we've all seen. The woman, in uniform, slaving away behind the machine, clocking in and clocking out. But is this image detrimental to women, or is it a sign of the times? It seems that now, the image of the powerful woman has escaped to the manufacturing industry somewhat. But when you are an entrepreneur, you have the power in which to change this. Manufacturing is seen as a somewhat old-school industry, from the factory line process, all the way through to the clichéd image of the foreman. It's even in the name, foreman. So, what can women do to change the tide in manufacturing, and why does the industry need women?
The Attitude A Woman Can Bring
Ultimately, an industry that has been predominantly populated by men has a certain approach to working. By bringing a woman in, it shakes up the operation. One of the big processes that need changing now is outsourcing. It seems that now, so many manufacturing businesses are so set in their ways, that they are becoming antiquated with every passing year. Now, technology changes, and holistic approaches to working means that if a manufacturing business operates with these old-school methods, they aren’t going to get very far. The benefits a woman can bring from a fresh perspective means that they can outsource certain processes so the business can operate, from LaserLight.com that can cater for the micromachining, to on the job training, as provided by companies from all over the globe, like Impact Factory, every process can be optimized to be as efficient as possible. Of course, every business needs a shake up from time to time, and this is something that you, as an empowered woman, can bring to an old-fashioned, stagnant industry.
Diversity Is The Name Of The Game
It seems a bit old hat to be diverse for the sake of it, but the manufacturing industry isn't, generally, a diverse one. The benefit of having diversity is not just for the sake of political correctness, but in fact, a perception of an industry that is seen to be diverse means that there will be a lower employee turnover. It's beneficial for a manufacturing business to bring women on board, to contribute to overall work satisfaction.
Manufacturing Requires A Flexible Working Environment
It's not even from the perspective of those in the boardroom, for women working on the shop floor, a flexible working environment is vital now. Every employee needs a flexible working environment now, regardless of their sex. But women require the appropriate amenities, but it seems that this factory floor image is deterring a lot of women from entering the manufacturing industry. If you look on WorkFlexibility.org you will see the measures many manufacturing businesses are implementing to provide a flexible working environment for its employees. The manufacturing industry is not seen as a flexible environment, but more the place where you clock in, do your 12-hour shift, and clock out, without speaking to anybody in that entire time. So this is unlikely to draw anyone in! So the industry needs to develop appropriate methods so everybody can manage their work and family life. Flexibility isn't just reserved for young startups anymore, but it needs to be part of a holistic assessment. Many factories get caught in the momentum of supply and demand. As a result, there is no time to stop, because they are always behind. This means that personal problems are left behind. This shouldn't be the case in any industry, not least the manufacturing industry.
The Industry Needs To Make The Most Of Untapped Talent
It's an industry where women and millennials are perennially underused. Manufacturing is a fundamental undercurrent of any economy, and as a result, it's important to appeal to women, as well as the younger generations. This means undertaking a lot of work to change the perception of the industry as a low paid, male-dominated arena. The roles in manufacturing industries that require various qualifications, so instead of struggling with the current workforce that is baby boomers, and will be on the brink of retirement, it's far more sensible to go for the younger, and unused areas of society. This will help save the industry.
Manufacturing isn't just about the factory line; it's about long-term goals, corporate leadership, and a thriving and dynamic industry. As a result, it needs to appeal to women and it simply doesn't right now. If you feel that you can contribute to an industry that is vital to the growth of any country, from skilled labor, all the way through to marketing and development, the manufacturing industry is one area that is chronically underdeveloped. It's important that the industry roles with the times. Manufacturing is a role that requires hard work, lateral thinking and constructive criticism. The diversity of the manufacturing industry is something that appears to be a long way off, but as approximately 600,000 manufacturing jobs are unfilled, this is more than likely due to the unwelcome in aspects of the industry, rather than the lack of qualified workers. It's highly antiquated that women shouldn't be in the manufacturing industry, whereas in fact, it's very much the opposite- in the here and now.
Now, company culture is something that is being changed dramatically to reflect the modern times. Amazingly, the manufacturing industry has yet to catch up and read that memo. Introducing women into the manufacturing industry will shake up the processes invariably. As the industry is as old as time itself, but the temptation to keep it as a relic of the past, and uphold specific traditions is foolhardy. And this might be the problem with the industry’s inability to progress. While technology is progressing in leaps and bounds, the human aspect has yet to catch up. It's amazing, that in 2018, that we actually have to have this discussion. But, as there are still untapped pockets of industries that require bringing into the modern age and manufacturing is one of them.