The Benefits of Third-Party Contractor Solutions for Manufacturers with Engineering Skills Gaps

Skills gaps can arise in your organisation for several reasons. You might, for example, have a project you want to complete to improve productivity, enhance OEE, or give you better management oversight.

Regulatory changes, temporary staff shortages, issues that need to be resolved, new product introductions, production line relocations, and changes in business strategy are other common causes for the creation of skills gaps in your manufacturing operations.

The solutions available to fill those skills gaps include:

  • Hiring new employees
  • Bringing in additional independent contractors
  • Working with a third-party that specialises in providing professional placement services that cover the skills you need

All three of the above solutions have merit and are suitable in a range of situations.

Increasingly, however, companies are turning to the third solution as their preferred option. This particularly applies to manufacturers in highly regulated, high-volume, and/or high precision industries. Good examples include pharmaceuticals and medical device manufacturing.

Rapidly Advancing Technologies, Enhanced Customer Expectations, and Changing Regulatory Landscapes

In the past, engineers and other specialists required by manufacturing operations could focus on specific areas of expertise. Qualified mechanical engineers worked as mechanical engineers, for example, while programmers worked as programmers and electrical engineers worked as electrical engineers.

The world has changed, however, with those changes continuing at a considerable pace. The factors driving these changes include:

  • The introduction of new technologies
  • The move to Smart Factory solutions as part of the push into Industry 4.0
  • Increased levels of competitiveness
  • Enhanced customer expectations in relation to everything from aftersales support to individual product customisation
  • New regulatory requirements

The result is that engineers now need to be multi-skilled and multi-disciplined. At SL Controls, one newly developing branch of engineering we believe typifies this is Smart Manufacturing. Engineers working on Smart Manufacturing projects must have programming, mechanical, electrical, controls, and validation skills.

From your perspective, you not only need to fill skills gaps, but you also need to get people with a sufficient range of skills. Plus, you need a solution that makes business sense and delivers a tangible return on investment.

This is what you get when you choose professional placement services from a specialist third-party provider over the other solutions that are available.

Benefits of Third-Party Professional Placement Solutions for Manufacturers

  • You’ll get access to a wider range of skills than you get when you employ a single person or hire an individual contractor.
  • You will benefit from the collective knowledge and experience of the company you choose to work with. The best professional placement solution providers have worked on hundreds of projects, including projects similar to yours. You will benefit from that full breadth of in-house learning and collective expertise.
  • Choosing the right provider will ensure you get people working in your production facility and on your projects who have direct experience in your industry. Given the unique nature of industries like pharmaceuticals and medical devices, this is crucially important.
  • You can get the additional resources you need into your business faster.
  • You’ll be up and running with the expertise your business needs from day one. After all, you are buying ready-to-go skills.
  • The relationship will be both project-focused and results orientated.
  • You only pay for what you need while having maximum flexibility to set expectations, requirements, parameters, and more.
  • There are no additional costs commonly associated with hiring a new employee such as recruitment and training costs.

Staying Competitive

Your production facility – and wider business operations – can’t stand still.

Digitalisation is no longer a buzzword – it’s a necessity. Regulations are not going to get laxer. Customers are not going to start accepting lower standards.

To stay competitive, you need to constantly improve, working to maximise OEE, find new business opportunities, build closer relationships with your customers, automate more of your production processes, integrate your operations, drive efficiency savings, make productivity gains, and increase profitability.

Working with an engineering solutions provider that specialises in professional placement services will give you the skills you need to achieve all the above and more.

Shane McLaughlin

Shane is SL Controls’ Business Development Manager and has extensive experience and a demonstrated history of working in the regulated automation industry. His areas of expertise include Verification and Validation (V&V), Process Control/Monitoring, Medical Devices, Pharmaceutical, Bio Pharma, Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, and systems engineering. He also has experience leading technical teams and delivering to demanding schedules.

View all posts by Shane McLaughlin