Manufacturers worldwide are confronting an issue they’ve always known as a serious possibility – a significant shortage of skilled labor. The last three months have shown an all-time high in the number of open manufacturing jobs.

Job Openings in Manufacturing Sector

Across the entire sector, there are almost 900,000 job openings, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And without a doubt, these labor issues are not going away soon; in fact, they are likely to intensify as the number of unfilled manufacturing positions continues to grow.

The dwindling labor pool and growing pressure to increase compensation rates are forcing every plant to identify new ways of running its operations more efficiently.

But how?

Use Technology to Solve the Labor Issue

Today, as you’ve probably noticed, technology is playing a critical role in optimizing production processes in manufacturing plants. Additionally, advancements in Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) are enabling faster and more detailed data analysis by providing real-time, easy-to-gather data intelligence from existing systems plantwide.

With the right automation tools and technology in general in place, plant operators can now perform their primary tasks and analyze the data that’s being produced across the plant much more efficiently and effectively.

Quickly, operators that create this kind of technology ecosystem see an increase in individual productivity, and also often increase profitability.

Stop Wasting Time Gathering and Sorting Data

As a manufacturing plant grows in size and sophistication, it adds more systems, units, products, and data collection points. Suppose the information from these systems isn’t centralized. In that case, the time required to gather and analyze the information grows exponentially every time you add a new line, increase production, change a recipe, and more. Any disconnect or distance between your operations and the data it produces limits your ability to make changes and pursue new opportunities.

With this in mind, think of how much time your operators spend checking manuals to see if the equipment is working correctly, monitoring gauges, and manually recording input and output of product batches. 

Instead, allow your workforce to do only what skilled labor should be doing – working directly to deliver consistent product quality – not gathering and recording data.

An MES automation system combined with your current operating software and manufacturing process will help solve these issues. By integrating the operation, quality, ERP, and maintenance data into one centralized view, creating a single source of truth for every operator and enabling them to make decisions cohesively, confidently, and swiftly.

Save Valuable Resources

As if finding enough skilled labor to work in your plant wasn’t hard enough, supply chain issues compound an already complicated scenario. The raw materials used to make your product are obviously increasingly valuable, and the last thing you want to do is waste resources that could be used to alleviate backorders or keep up with an increase in demand.

To make sure nothing goes to waste, industry-leading manufacturers are using automated tracking and tracing systems to account for all materials.

An MES system in your plant monitors the use of materials from the point of input to the output of the final product. A report log can be automatically generated for every batch that flows through the production line. To ensure things don’t go wrong, the batch is closely monitored throughout the process, and all the information gathered is continuously reported back to a centralized intelligence hub.

If there are any materials lost or misdirected during production, the MES will find them – a much more efficient way of identifying issues than having team members, who are already overburdened and potentially scarce, search for them visually across your entire operation. The technology exposes a deeper level of detail throughout the process, making everything transparent to plant operators and allowing your plant to operate efficiently.

Find Discrepancies Without Hiring More Labor

Now that we’ve identified the labor advantages in your plant, it’s time to take it one step further to talk about the benefits of having an automated MES system that can alert you to discrepancies in your production process.

Here’s a textbook example we see every day:

Through the course of three years, one manufacturing plant was losing $5 million annually in solids. It took an entire team of employees and consultants to manually document data and track products through the entire production process to pinpoint the losses.




in losses every year


hours manually documenting

If this plant had implemented an MES solution, the system would have immediately alerted operators that solids were going down the drain, automatically quantifying the loss for the plant.  And, most importantly, it would continue to identify any issues that may arise in the future. When new product lines are added, recipes change, or other updates are made to your lines, there is always a chance that something could go wrong. You need a tool that will help make sure you’re not constantly remediating issues.

Using Orbis MES to Overcome the Labor Shortage Issue

Scenarios like these are happening consistently throughout the manufacturing industry – making labor shortages and even supply chain issues a compounding and frustrating situation for many types of plants – such as breweries, distilleries, ethanol, and dairy product processors. 

Orbis MES is an automated solution that drastically mitigates the impact of these issues and others. It manages and provides exceptional visibility to all data in your manufacturing process, monitors systems, helps you reduce overall waste, and provides proactive alerts to production issues.

Now, you can optimize your reliable and valuable workforce to focus on what they do best and use Orbis MES to drive overall efficiency in your plant.

Learn more about how your plant can make more and waste less with Orbis MES.