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Millennials are the largest generation in the country, and they are in every industry. Most people think of millennials as being employed in digital careers. While their impact in the most innovative fields is undeniable, there’s another, less expected area where millennials are thriving: manufacturing.

Millennials are transforming the manufacturing industry with their technology skills, computer savviness, and cloud computing. Millennials grew up as digital natives. They watched technology transform the world around them. And rather than fall behind, they ran to the front of the revolution.

The Future of Manufacturing
Baby Boomers no longer comprise the majority of the U.S. workforce, which means the entire future is in millennials’ hands. How are they going to carry the torch into the future and ensure the businesses Boomers worked so hard to create can last in the new digital era?

Technology and automation is the first step. Shipping, inventory, and supply chains are all being carried over to software that can reduce error and increase productivity. Slow, tedious processes are becoming efficient no-brainers. Millennials are especially valuable assets to companies established before the internet and those that lost their momentum in the face of new technology.

United States manufacturing is still behind when it comes to millennial talent and digital skills. The idea of working in a warehouse doesn’t appeal to many. It can be challenging to sell the manufacturing environment to millennials who are building successful careers from their bedrooms. The work-from-home lifestyle has never been more attainable, and flexible work schedules are a must on the majority of millennial candidates’ requirements. This is a generation that does not merely accept whatever is offered to them. 

Millennials are heralded for bringing the work-life balance debate to the forefront of companies’ agendas. Manufacturing is hard work, and it is imperative to a consumer-driven, capitalistic society. The changes millennials bring to the industry will not only be tech-related. The continued high demand for skilled workers has the potential for increased wages and better working conditions.

Before companies can expect change, they will have to look at their internal operations and address their management styles. Old dynamics are ineffective with millennials. Managers will have to break past their professional exteriors to develop real, meaningful relationships with new employees that help them make the most significant impact possible.