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There are indications that the microchip shortage that has wreaked havoc with automotive manufacturers and their suppliers is easing somewhat. And, while the ramp-up in production isn't happening as fast as manufacturers, investors, and consumers would hope, there are signs of production picking up. For example, some companies are reopening production lines and implementing overtime shifts to make up for lost time.
There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding current supply chain issues. However, one of the key challenges that manufacturers expect to face in 2022 is the manufacturing labor shortage.
When COVID-19 hit in 2020, many workers lost their jobs as manufacturers’ idled production lines and entire plants. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total motor vehicle and parts manufacturing, employment averaged approximately one million workers per month in 2019. But there was a labor decrease of almost 40% in the early stages of the pandemic.
Not all workers who lost their jobs will return. While some have opted for early retirement, others are tired of the uncertain and cyclical nature of automotive manufacturing. Other reasons include opportunities for rising wages in other business sectors and hiring bonuses offered by large companies. And of course, as cases of COVID-19 increase, large employers are still facing manufacturing labor shortages and work disruptions.
Acute manufacturing labor shortages shine a bright spotlight on the need for maximum efficiency in every area of operations. This has many employers searching for innovative technology solutions that help to maximize the productivity of their available workforce.
One of the proven technologies that more and more automotive manufacturers and suppliers are turning to is voice-enabled automation.
Voice-automated solutions allow for a wide range of hands-free manufacturing workflows that make employees more productive. They streamline production by combining verbal instructions (distributed via headsets and microphones) with on-screen information that is displayed on wearable devices and mobile computers. The bottom-line impact is that workers' hands are freed up for other tasks, boosting their overall productivity.
Voice-enabled workflows have also been shown to improve accuracy and compliance and help minimize errors. Since this reduces the need for cumbersome workarounds and time-consuming reworks, it has a force-multiplier effect on efficiency and productivity.
Some of the most successful voice-enabled automation solutions are those that combine AccuSpeech Mobile technologies with hardware from Zebra Technologies. These tools are engineered specifically for manufacturing and distribution environments, including cutting-edge noise-canceling features that deliver outstanding performance in even the noisiest workplaces. The durable engineering allows mobile devices to withstand the toughest factory conditions.
Here are just a few of the ways that innovative voice-enabled workflows can have a significant impact on workforce utilization:
Systems that combine voice and on-screen prompts have shown double-digit improvements in employee productivity and helped increase accuracy to as high as 99.9%.
When voice commands and heads-up displays direct workers to the next step in each process, their hands and eyes are free. This allows workers to focus on their work, reducing workplace accidents.
Voice and vision-enabled workflows will significantly reduce training time for new workers, allowing manufacturers to achieve high productivity levels in factories and warehouses.
No matter how complex labor challenges become, innovative voice-enabled workflows from AccuSpeech Mobile and Zebra can help automotive manufacturers and suppliers keep pace. Contact AccuSpeech Mobile to learn more.