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Do you think that a career in production is worthwhile with all of the automation that is coming into the industry?

My name is Nick I am eighteen and I am looking into manufacturing jobs. #manufacturing #career-options #careers

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Veen’s Answer

Hi Nick,
Great question. I see you are also in Ohio, I'm based in Cincinnati. In Ohio at least, manufacturing, production, and fabrication are still very worthwhile and rewarding careers. Amazon has a hub in Florence, KY and many satellite warehouses & fulfillment centers around Cincinnati. Although I've heard a lot of central Ohio was hit by automotive companies closing their manufacturing plants, but other sectors also need skilled production personnell. This includes the cannabis, THC, and hemp industries, which are all previously unexplored in our state, and could lead to very lucrative and stable careers that may not get shipped overseas, because of US grading and restrictions. Hemp itself hasn't been legal to grow or fabricate with for nearly a century, but now Levi's is blending it into their denim! (https://cutt.ly/9gQMtfQ)
Many jobs are being created to support the social and economic shifts to sustainable and regenerative jobs, that not only positively impact the company and customer, but also the community these places do business. This is a talk by the CEO of Chobani about how they impacted the city where they first started producing yogurt in NY (https://cutt.ly/7gQMmMs). My advice to you is to not look at who is here, established, and promising a lot for a little now; You're still a young person that is searching for your future. Instead think about what industries you're interested in, what companies sound like they're in it for the long haul and need trustworthy people to help them build, and what positions and jobs you could see yourself doing and feeling fulfilled every evening when you get home. Good luck with your search!

Veen recommends the following next steps:

Consider applying for apprenticeships after you graduate, a good place to start is: https://apprentice.ohio.gov/
There are a lot of jobs that are moving to sustainable and green industry in Ohio, which is an up-and-coming industry: https://usgreentechnology.com/ohio-green-manufacturing-jobs/
Research companies around you that are less than 100 employees and see how their customers like them and how well their financial reports are.

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Stephen’s Answer

To stay completive with a part or product cost must be removed and quality maintained or improved. This need drives innovation and improvement of the manufacturing process. In some cases the solution is more automation. There are some tasks that can be done by people, say using a hand tool or a single station machine that are repetitive and might introduce some amount of variation in the part. This might generate waste which adds cost.

To automate parts of a process you must purchase capital equipment, configure it for the parts being made by the process and monitor the process to ensure quality. These steps all add to the fixed costs that must be included in the price of the part or product you sell to the customer. Often a change in the design of the part or the need to produce a variety of parts require reconfiguration of the automation. This will introduce disruptions in the output and add waste in terms of unproductive time.

A skilled person often adapts to these conditions with a possible setup change for the next part. With the correct process configuration this can be done with minimal interruptions to the flow of parts.

When looking at careers or jobs in manufacturing you need to consider if the number of jobs is in decline where you want to work. Is the automation of the task the reason for the decline, if so what are the new jobs have been created by this change in the manufacturing process? It is my experience it is non-skilled respective tasks or task that are hazards to people are where automation if often the best choice. Even in these cases the cost of automation will require enough product volume to offset the cost of the automation.

Your question is about automation for a manufacturing job. I would suggest that automation is going to play a larger role in the reduction or change in many non-manufacturing jobs. Advances in computer software and reductions in the cost of computer hardware are creating an opportunity to replace people in task that are now consider information based jobs.

Let me suggest that looking at the future of any job or set of skills is something you need to do. That being said, you need to also consider that most of the skills you develop will apply to a variety of jobs.

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Tammie’s Answer

Hi Nick, Veen has provided some fantastic advice for your consideration of a career in manufacturing. I might add in response to whether it is worthwhile considering all of the automation that is being implemented within the various fields of manufacturing. I can tell you absolutely it is worthwhile. It takes as much effort and workforce as you see in a manual process to learn new automated systems, to configure them in a manner fit for your companies intended use, to assure it is installed, operates, and performs in compliance with your company's requirements as well as regulating bodies' requirements, maintaining the systems, operating the systems.

Automation is not here to replace you as a new member of the workforce. It is here to improve various aspects of the manufacturing process. It improves your companies speed and allows setup that will repeatedly produce to precise standards set by the humans who put that equipment in place.

It is fascinating to learn new systems! Feel free to research some options out there.

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Riley’s Answer

Of course. That is a common misconception that automation will take over the whole plant. First off, the automation has to be designed which is a difficult task and involves large teams to build out. There is also supervision of production processes that have to happen whether they are manual or automated. There are also repair that need to be done to automation equipment that has to be done manually. And finally, many plants still heavily rely on manual labor to fulfill their needs as the tasks at hand can be very difficult to automate.

Also, don't fear automation. As automation is applied more and more in the future, focus your career on working with automation. A strong background in automation will make you a valuable asset to any manufacturing location in the future. Automation is just a tool for engineers to use to make the safest and most efficient processes.

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Madison’s Answer

Hi Nick! Absolutely Production and Manufacturing are careers that you should pursue. Our company (Catalent Pharma Solutions) has over 4,000 employees that specialize in our production and manufacturing suites. We hire entry-level individuals all the way through Senior Leadership who make well into a 6 figure salary. Production and Manufacturing is an extremely relatable career with transferable skills that can apply to hundreds of different companies/organizations. Check out our careers page (https://www.catalent.com/careers/) and type in production or manufacturing. As of today, we have almost 1,000 relatable open positions!