Industry and the Pandemic
Could the COVID-19 pandemic launch the manufacturing industry into its next phase? It’s undeniable that the pandemic has caused considerable harm—to individuals and families, to societies, and to production and the global supply chain. But it has also drawn attention to weaknesses in the current system, giving us the opportunity to improve.
Labor: Fairness and Efficiency
It’s worth considering the current state of labor in the manufacturing industry. The late 1960s launched “Industry 3.0,” introducing automation, computers, and electronics to the scene and bringing the greatest shift in labor since the late 1800s.
Since then and even through this pandemic, electronics and greater globalization alike have shaped the way we work and influenced global trade. The offshoring of manufacturing labor has long been a topic of contention. At this point, we’re seeing even more what can happen domestically when the global supply chain shuts down or slows. We’re also seeing an increase in the use and availability of technology, as well as a labor market that’s tipping in favor of workers.
The Future of Industry
Where can these factors take us? In this piece for South Carolina Manufacturing, KTM co-founder Paul Kumler examines these issues in relation to “Industry 4.0” and gives his take on the current state of the economy, the politics of international labor, the advent of automation, and the future of manufacturing careers.