Not quite keeping up
When it comes to robotics, Wisconsin manufacturers are not keeping up with their peers in other states, according to a survey conducted by Schenck SC.
While the Robotics Industries Association, an industry trade group, reported earlier this year that the robotics industry in North America set new growth records in 2017, more than 75 percent of Wisconsin manufacturers that responded to Schenck’s survey reported they do not use robotics in their factory.
Of the manufacturers that are not considering using robotics in their facilities, nearly 90 percent indicated they struggle with identifying the appropriate applications of robotics on their factory floor.
“Manufacturers who are slower to adopt emerging technologies may find themselves falling behind their competitors on critical performance measures,” says Karin Gale, a shareholder and Manufacturing & Distribution team leader at Schenck. “Many manufacturers focus significant resources around robotics as a way to reduce risk and enhance their long-term sustainability, and in today’s competitive global market, those who are hesitant to explore these options may find it more difficult to compete.”
On the plus side, 95 percent of manufacturers already incorporating robotics in their facilities plan to increase their investment in the next three to five years.
Manufacturing hiring more
Wisconsin manufacturers created 7,500 jobs over the summer, according to statistics from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and Bureau of Labor Statistics.
From August 2017 to August 2018, Wisconsin companies added 22,500 manufacturing jobs — the second highest rate in the country and the highest in the Midwest.
Getting an early start
Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program continues to grow, creating a pipeline for future manufacturing workers.
The state’s Youth Apprenticeship program connects high school students with career pathways through hands-on learning and classroom instruction.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, manufacturing makes up the state’s largest Youth Apprenticeship cluster.
In the 2017-18 school year, 828 students participated in the manufacturing Youth Apprenticeship program — a 21 percent increase from the previous school year.