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  • Writer's pictureTom Nentwick

The Manpower Crisis

The Extrusion industry is strong. Your business is very good. You want to take it to the next level but are struggling to maintain. You cannot get your orders out the door. Our industry, as well as many others, is facing a crisis involving manpower.

I find it interesting that the first two articles I read with my coffee this morning are regarding jobs. The first was about the alarming manpower shortage in construction jobs.

Sixty-two percent of construction firms reported few or no qualified applicants and 46 percent cited the shortage of qualified labor as their top business problem."

- Ken Martin, Fox Business

“The inability to assemble work teams is a key contributor to the comparably lackluster performance of the construction industry as evidenced by the December figures,” said NFIB’s Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “Owners are raising compensation in order to attract more qualified applicants to fill open positions.”

... 33 percent (seasonally adjusted) of all owners reported job openings they could not fill in the current period.

The second was about a presidential candidate with plans to create 6 million new jobs in infrastructure projects.

While the creation of jobs is a headline grabber for politicians, the real life situations that our industry and others face is the “day to day” struggle to find qualified workers.

Does this sound familiar?

Monday morning arrives and you find yourself short of people to run your extrusion line. You have a full backlog of orders to run this week and you need people to get the job done.

For every one person you need, you start by hiring five people. At least two fail the drug test. So, let’s say you hire three. Maybe only two show up for work. By noon you’re lucky you have one person as the other(s) have walked off the job. Repeat same on Tuesday. (meanwhile you have to expand your HR department to handle this crisis, more $$) By the way, your quality and productivity suffer because you cannot train the revolving door of new people, more $$. Your experienced workers are spending an inordinate amount of time training the new workers and not enough time focused on production and attention to quality. And I am sure you noticed that your safety record is, isn’t! You are bleeding $$.

Now the workers that have been with you for, let’s say five years or longer, are pretty dependable and show up every day and do a decent job. But you need more people to get the job done. So, you repeat the same manpower situation every Monday and Tuesday, every week.

What are your options? And where are you headed?. What is this costing you and what is it doing to your future plans? You understand that something needs to be done now!

To continue to grow and prosper, may I suggest you look at automation? You might say that as a custom extruder, you need human eyes and human intervention on your product to maintain quality and productivity. You need people.

There is a solution...a strategic level of automation that significantly reduces your manpower requirement, increases your quality level, reduces scrap, and is highly productive.

That solution is offered by Extral Technology. Extral designs and manufactures innovative and unique extrusion equipment that will not only allow you to grow in today’s environment, but prosper as a highly efficient, low cost producer. Be the envy of your competition and the supplier of choice by your customer, contact me at to learn more.


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