Future of the Technician Workforce Study

Job Functions and Business Operations Impacts: Manufacturing & Automation

 IT-centric roles : More technicians with greater IT focus (i.e., robots, cybersecurity, web/smart- phone applications, enterprise resource planning [ERP] systems)  IIoT remote operations : Maintenance technicians and field service representatives will become more remote/virtual through web-based monitoring IIoT platforms and AR/VR innovations; democratized control of operations made possible by proliferation of visualization, tactile controls, and dashboard tools  Data-driven informatics : Machine repair to be augmented by more connected and data- enabled manufacturing equipment; technician requirements to interpret data and practice preventative maintenance before failures occur  Automation and programming : Greater automation of quality assurance job functions; more technicians will be required to use ladder logic (i.e., a programmable logic controller [PLC] programming language)  Cybersecurity skills : Normalization of technicians with cybersecurity skills gained through lifelong learning and credentialing programs FUTURE FUNCTIONS ENABLED BY i4.0  Lifelong-learning and credentialing : Expansion of lifelong learning and credentialing programs will improve overall competitiveness and job retention  Micro-credentialing and “digital badges” : Adoption of micro-credentialing platforms and digital badge ecosystems (i.e., digital representations of educational achievements, task accomplishments, and career milestones)  Troubleshooting robotics : Crash recovery, debugging, and maintenance of advanced robotic systems  IT-centric roles : Technicians expected to assume primary role of connecting and configuring networked equipment/devices

IN DECLINE  Manual or physical troubleshooting, diagnosis, inspection, and repair of manufacturing equipment  Hands-on assembly and labor-intensive tasks such as tool-making  Tasks considered “dull, dirty, dangerous” to be replaced by robotics  Manual product packaging, shipping, and receiving  Scheduling and order processing  Work functions moving away from “hourly” efforts to task- and outcome-based models  Medium-skilled job functions  Manual data entry  Traditional drafting and design jobs AUGMENTED BY i4.0  Flexible training and skill-building : Internal training programs, instructors, and HR departments must scale-up and adapt to provide rapid train- ing and skill-building; more anticipatory training and hiring processes will be needed to impart skills/functions before equipment is installed  More independent technicians : More technicians will be self-directed, requiring more flexible managers/supervisors (i.e., flatter organizations)  Soft skills : Significantly greater need for technicians with soft skills including communications, team- work, and leadership; technicians to serve larger role as sole point of contact for customers  Generalist skill-sets : Demand for “generalist” technicians with augmented skill-sets  Critical thinking and problem-solving : More technicians must be skilled in data analysis, systems analysis, and problem solving  Converging roles : Convergence of operators and technicians into combined roles for equipment installation, operation, and maintenance  Hands-off inspection : Greater use of nondestructive evaluation/inspection methods by mechanical inspectors

| 22 MCC Economic and Workforce Development Center

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