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Top skills in demand in manufacturing sector, ahead of COVID-19

Sumit Kumar, VP, NETAP, TeamLease Services, lists out what we need to do for the future

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Sumit Kumar, TeamLease Services, NETAP, COVID-19, Skills, Atmanirbhar

As India prepares for unlocking to get economy back on recovery path, industries are now gearing up to get back in action. Starting with just 20-30% operations about a month back, to preparing for 100% operations now, the industry is grappling with shortage of supply of work force due to migration of labour. As workers come back to the production/manufacturing sites, health and safety becomes a top priority for companies. Now manufacturing floors have new signage to maintain required physical distance between workers. Additionally, business models are being redrawn to adapt to new normal
In the manufacturing industry, adoption of Industrial Revolution 4.0 will now get fast tracked as it has become the need of the hour and the mantra for survival. As the industry gears up for rapid adoption of technology and automation, there will be a transition in skill requirements in H22020 in the industry.

Here are some of the skill sets that will be in demand:
*Basic to advanced digital skills: Workers at the shop floor operating machines will be expected to be technology savvy and well versed with basic digital skills to manage machines (from operations, maintenance and recovery point of view). Furthermore in mid-level roles, workers will need to have a grip on robotics which will be a crucial tool to enhance productivity and output in the industry in the days to come. Workers will need to be equipped with the understanding of robotics, industrial internet of things and machine learning. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and data analytics will be the high end skills which will be in demand especially to design industrial automation and build in operational efficiency and productivity improvement.
*Leadership and supervisory skills will be essential to drive workforce productivity, engagement and growth. Mitigating performance gaps, aligning workforce to organization's goals, creating enabling work culture and motivating the teams will be key to build valuable human capital. 
*Soft skills will continue to be crucial: In the current situation, soft skills have become even more important. Even in the manufacturing sector, soft skills like communication will be in demand for proper team coordination. Additionally cognitive skills like creativity and logical reasoning will be required across levels for advanced decision making abilities.

While employees take cognisance of the shift in skill requirements, even employers will have to look at new innovative methods of skilling. Some of prominent methods which will be in demand are experiential learning, apprentices, tech-led remote learning. These will be relevant for both reskilling the existing work force to upgrade their capabilities and to upskill to prepare the fresh talent.

Post COVID19, in order to stay aligned with the government’s agenda of being atmanirbhar, organizations will have to focus on building skilled human capital equipped for the future. Many state governments have taken up the initiative of skilling migrant labourers and the others should also follow lead to equip people will value added skills to enhance the employability factor. Continuous learning should be a habit developed by both the workman and organization to maintain continuity in employment. It should be reviewed every year to constantly upgrade the capabilities. As it is important to become employable, it is equally important to remain employable in this volatile labor market.

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july 2020
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