The present and future of the manufacturing industry are characterized by its constantly evolving technologies and practices. Over the years, innovations have yielded results in the forms of higher productivity, lower costs, saved time and improved safety cultures.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing industry has experienced a steady decline in fatal injuries and illnesses in the workplace between 2015 and 2017, the last recorded year of information. There were 353 total recorded workplace fatalities in 2015, and 319 in 2016. In 2017, this number decreased to 303 total fatal illnesses and injuries, with 3.5 nonfatal cases per every 100 workers.
Although organizations operating in the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) fields have the goal of eliminating the appearance of incidents and close calls altogether, it's important to investigate how business leaders have managed to lower these numbers over the years and decades and how they plan on making their spaces risk-free. Here are some of the top trends impacting the manufacturing industry in 2019:
Cultures of Innovation and Progress
According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the major trends industrial manufacturing organizations should heed to is the push for a workplace culture that is built on improvement and progress. Because technology has progressively guided the functions of manufacturing companies around the world, employers should encourage their workers to embrace change and innovation, as they are often the recipe for progress. In addition, they should keep their workforces up to date on the latest technology and market trends to produce high-level results.
To adequately build a culture of improvement and cutting-edge thinking, business leaders may need to invest in their employees' professional development. This involves promoting education and training programs that cater to a company's specific needs and problem areas. Although it involves some upfront costs, this practice can yield effective results, as workers transform into skilled experts who are able to complete their work more efficiently. These capable teams will be more likely to solve problems proactively and develop new techniques to complete tasks in systematic and strategic ways.
Growth of IoT
The internet of things (IoT) is not new in the manufacturing sector. The integration of sensors and intelligent devices in our everyday equipment has been one of the most transformative changes our industry has seen in years. Its advances have evolved our supply chains into data-driven, insightful sites of efficiency. And the development and implementation of IoT is nowhere near complete. In upcoming years, the industry's emphasis and reliance on IoT functionality is projected to grow exponentially.
Many of today's manufacturing tools are currently equipped with IoT-based technologies and have resulted in increased productivity, saved time and lower chance of risks. This success has prompted many manufacturing business leaders to invest even more money into this equipment to produce better customer experiences and develop lasting relationships with end users.
As many industries have adopted AI in their day-to-day functions, the increase in AI presence in the manufacturing sector shouldn't catch us off-guard. Some ways businesses will begin and continue to introduce AI into their work spaces are through the use of robotics, automation and — as previously mentioned — IoT tools. With a greater emphasis of tools doing the tough labor, personnel operating in the EHS landscape should feel unburdened.
Something that's worth bringing up is the notion that many workers have a fear of AI taking over human jobs. As you adopt AI in your own workplace, don't be alarmed if you experience backlash for this very reason. It's worth knowing and communicating with your staff that in the present and near future, AI will simply serve as a vehicle for efficiency that complements human productivity.
The Push for the Risk-free Workplace
As businesses are pushing for progress and profitability, there's one area that remains stagnant until it's given particular attention: workplace safety. No matter how strong an organization's corporate culture is or how advanced IoT and AI capabilities are, these factors cannot mitigate the damages inflicted after a business faces a serious accident.
To combat the high costs and risks associated with workplace injuries and close calls, transforming into a risk-free site, businesses have adopted Environmental, Health and Safety software. These platforms provide a transparent interface on which employees, managers and executives can locate hazards and report them in real time to ensure they find a solution to the issue before the danger persists or escalates. In addition, EHS technologies offer insightful training programs to educate workers on how to approach certain tools and functions in the most safe and effective ways. Increased transparency and education across the workplace can drastically reduce the appearance of incidents on the manufacturing front, in turn improving a business's productivity and ensuring they are up to date on industry-specific compliance standards.
ProcessMAP provides the right EHS tools for manufacturing businesses that want to improve their overall bottom line while improving their workplace safety cultures. Connect with us to find out how you can stay innovative and competitive in the manufacturing sector by working to become an accident-free site.