Guest Column: Five key HR challenges in the food equipment manufacturing industry
COVID-19 has led to the creation of a ‘new normal’ which all businesses, especially the HR departments, are now trying hard to keep up with.
COVID 19, Food manufacturing plants, Food and Agriculture Organization, Human resource, HR, Trainning, Manpower, Sanjeev Gupta, Managing Director, Kanchan Metals, Equipment manufacturing, Labour migration, Safety
Food manufacturing as well as the food equipment manufacturing industry is one such industry that is witnessing some major repercussions of the global pandemic. The sector and its supply chains are facing a set of challenges which require effective and dedicated solutions so that organisations can stay competitive and relevant during this time.
Research by food industry executive has shown:
- COVID-19 has exacerbated the prevailing issues in the sector, particularly around employee safety and productivity
- almost three-quarters (72.5%) of food processing, equipment manufacturing and packing firms said they had changed their business strategy or operations in response to the pandemic
- more than half (54%) of respondents predicted the food industry and their allied industries will emerge from the crisis stronger than it was before.
- Labour Migration: Nearly 115.3 million people are involved in industrial employment, out of which 56.4 million accounts for employment in the manufacturing sector, comprising mainly migrant workers. With the outbreak of the global pandemic, subsequent lockdown, and fear of recession, millions of migrants returned to their villages and hometowns. To address this issue, there is a dire need to revisit our national migration policies, which must include assistance and protection to be extended to migrants returning from areas adversely affected by major health crises. Moreover, we need resilient and robust food systems to provide food security and reduce the pressure to return to one’s hometown among migrants.
- Staying Competitive: Many businesses are responding to this volatile environment by rethinking their HR strategies. Goals like finding the appropriate combination of permanent and flexible staff in the workplace has now become essential as companies navigate the challenges of balancing cost concerns with the requirement of reliable, consistent service. These are two major challenges that food manufacturing businesses have to cope with to be aligned to the new norms brought in place by COVID-19. Another possibility in this scenario is companies will need to leverage HR tech to plan their entire workforce and recruit and onboard new workers.
- Employee Safety: Personal protective equipment and screens will become common sights in the manufacturing environment, as businesses look for ways to stop the virus from spreading while letting people come into the workplace and begin doing their jobs.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, manufacturing companies are also expected to rely on each other to share the best practices as well as discuss their successes or setbacks which they may have experiences in the process of resuming work. A strikingly positive trend that has emerged from the current situation is the transparency between food manufacturers.
- Recruitment: The most important part of HR in your manufacturing business is recruitment and finding the right people for the job. However, sourcing talent within the manufacturing industry is a feat in itself as the younger generations aren’t as enthusiastic about these roles. Hence, it has become imperative for HR professionals to provide high-quality recruitment processes so as to attract talent for filling these roles.
- Training: Training is an important HR function that can ensure your employees remain engaged with their work and feel proud to be part of your manufacturing business. It can further help to show to your employees that they are valued and you, as an employer, are willing to make investments in upskilling them.
On-the-job training, coaching, mentoring, career development, motivational sessions, reimbursement of tuition fees, and volunteering are all effective ways for HR managers to encourage their workforce and improve their productivity.-Manufacturing Today