Skills Shortages: A Fishy Story…
I recently returned from a Business trip to Melbourne, Australia which meant flying for over 23 hrs in each direction. Instead of watching a film, I decided to opt for a documentary called ‘Food Super Highway’. This fascinating program charts the extraordinary journey that much of our food now takes on its way from farm gate to plate.
Where am I going with this, I hear you ask?
Well, over the last few days I have been speaking with organizations from a variety of industries many of whom faced the situation of having both an aging workforce and a skills shortage. These discussions reminded me of a white paper The Aging Workforce: Planning for the Skills Gap in Service Organizations written a couple of years ago addressing this issue. Unfortunately, most of the service organizations that I spoke too were trying to manage their aging workforce traditionally using the approach of high-level benchmarks and performance reports, mainly in their HR departments. On the positive side, there was awareness and recognition that this wasn’t the best approach and there was need for improvement.
The bottom line of the white paper is that service chain optimization provides the tools to help an organization design the right plan in order to mitigate future workforce challenges.
So let’s turn our attention back to the Documentary and, just as my eyes are closing, I hear the narrator mention ‘skills shortages’. We are in a flatfish factory in Grimsby where they need to quickly gut the fish in order to get it onto the supermarket shelves as fresh as possible. Every minute counts and it takes an experienced ‘fish-gutter’ (for want of a better word) about 10 seconds to completely gut a fish. Now this factory recognized that they were not able to find enough experienced ‘fish-gutters’ so they decided to invest in technology. They now have a machine which guts a fish in one second enabling them to process about 10 tons of fish a day. Once the fish has gone through the machine, it requires a much less experienced individual to check the fish for any exceptions.
Implementing optimization technology that enables you to do ‘more with less’ is one way of addressing the skills shortage. Does your organization face similar challenges? What are you doing about it?