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Shaping the next generation of the manufacturing industry


Earlier this month, our team in Brno, Czech Republic hosted an industry panel and discussion featuring representatives from the American Chamber of Commerce, the U.S. Embassy in Prague, McKinsey & Company and a variety of leading manufacturing companies in the region. Given the vast shortage of skilled technicians, the event facilitated discussions on how to address the lack of workforce today, as well as how to calibrate the education system for a workforce that matches tomorrow’s demand.

The event was a great opportunity to collaborate with Weston Stacey from the American Chamber of Commerce, Kelly Adams-Smith, Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. embassy in Prague, and First Secretary for Economic Affairs Patrick Ellsworth, who were all actively involved in the roundtable discussions.

Strategizing solutions for workforce labor challenges

As part of the event, I moderated a discussion surrounding the labor workforce availability issue where participants explored the increasing demand for labor positions in the region’s manufacturing industry along with the impact of foreign labor from EU and non-EU countries. Participants explored a variety of strategies that employers can pursue to overcome the shortage of workers.

This is an issue that many manufacturing companies must deal with around the world. The workforce shortage in the Czech Republic is no different as citizens either are uninterested in the manufacturing jobs available or they have left the country to find work abroad.

As a result, manufacturing companies have had to look elsewhere for new workers from around the world. However, this presents its own set of challenges. Foreign employees often must navigate a range of administrative obstacles such as obtaining visas and work permits while meeting a variety of quotas in order to regulate excessive demand in the labor market in Eastern European countries.

Bringing automation and “Industry 4.0” to life

Moderated by András Kadocsa, Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company, this discussion focused on the need to rethink the way companies conduct their business to become more digitally focused. With digital capabilities top-of-mind, manufacturing digitization in driven by four disruptive technologies that create a digital thread throughout the product lifecycle and are linked to intelligent machines and products.

The four areas of disruptive technologies are: analytics and intelligence, human-machine interaction, digital-to-physical conversion, and data and connectivity. As the supply chain and logistics industries move toward a smarter and more connected world, it’s become paramount for companies to digitize in order to optimize and grow their business. At ModusLink, we are primarily focused on leveraging analytics and intelligence to help enable data-driven decision making and inform customers about how they can better serve their own customers. By integrating the physical supply chain with digital commerce capabilities, we remove the complexities and risk that e-commerce brings, enabling companies to quickly expand into new regions or countries.

Following the roundtable discussions we held with industry leaders and government officials in the Czech Republic, the ModusLink team gained valuable insights as we continue to bring industry-leading analysis and digital capabilities to customers around the world.

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