Manufacturing makes a $40.5bn impact on San Antonio economy
The manufacturing industry in San Antonio, Texas, has not been hugely successful in terms of the rise of its employment over a five-year period ending 2016.
However, in this period the industry’s overall economic impact grew by 28%, which is believed to be because of technological developments and skills improvements.
This is according to data found in the “San Antonio’s Manufacturing Industry: Economic Impact in 2016” report released by professors at Trinity University for the association and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation.
The US$40.5bn impact on the economy in 2016 makes manufacturing “one of the largest sectors of the San Antonio economy”.
Prof Mary Stefl and Prof Richard Butler had previously released a report on the manufacturing-sector in 2012, which stated that the industry contributed $22.5bn to the economy in the previous year.
The economic impact includes “multiplier effects” which relates to products produced in the city’s metropolitan area but sold outside of the state of Texas.
Employment in 1,544 manufacturing companies only rose from 51,026 in 2011 to 51,904 in 2016, with the additional 878 workers contributing to an increase of 1.7%.
Payroll in the sector increased from $2.42bn in 2011 to $2.99bn in 2016, a 24% increase.
Gartner: Leaders Lack Skilled Smart Manufacturing Workers
With organisations rapidly adopting industry 4.0 capabilities to increase productivity, efficiency, transparency, and quality as well as reduce cost, manufacturers “are under pressure to bring their workforce into the 21st century,” says Gartner.
While more connected factory workers are leveraging digital tools and data management techniques to improve decision accuracy, increase knowledge and lessen variability, 57% of manufacturing leaders feel that their organisations lack the skilled workers needed to support their smart manufacturing digitalisation plans.
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a difficult phase in their digitisation journey toward smart manufacturing,” said Simon Jacobson, Vice President analyst, Gartner Supply Chain practice.
“They accept that changing from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge, but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart manufacturing environment needs both.”
Surveying 439 respondents from North America, Western Europe and APAC, Gartner found that “organisational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.” Combined they represent “the largest change management obstacle [for manufacturers],” adds Gartner.
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited as not being a challenge. Across all respondents, 83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front of them – regarding technology, as well as talent,” added Jacobson.
Technology and People
While the value and opportunities smart manufacturing can provide an organisation is being recognised, introducing technology alone isn’t enough. Gartner emphasises the importance of evolving factory workers alongside the technology, ensuring that they are on board in order for the change to be successful.
“The most immediate action is for organisations to realize that this is more than digitisation. It requires synchronising activities for capability building, capability enablement and empowering people. Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making,” said Jacobson.
Long term, “it is important to establish a data-driven culture in manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training - without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity,” concluded Gartner.