Continuing our i-Connect007 Millennials in Manufacturing feature, our latest millennial is IT Manager Tom Scales. Tom has been with Saline Lectronics for about two and a half years, and he describes the daily challenges as the most rewarding part of the job:
“As a contract manufacturer, there are always unique problems given the diverse range of products that we make. This affects me directly in IT, supporting changes to an ever-growing set of complex systems integrations and data analysis requirements.”
Getting to grips with a manufacturing mindset when it comes to IT support has been a big challenge, especially in relation to cost mitigation.
“Providing the best service my department can, but at a low a cost as possible. That has been a balancing act because the solution that fits us best as a company isn’t always the cheapest option. Working on making a business case and proving ROI based on figures as well as technical reasons is very different when you are trying to sell the idea to people who are not experts in your field and do not see the immediate benefit.”
Attracting Young People to Manufacturing
As far as careers go, according to Tom, the electronic manufacturing industry doesn’t seem to do a good job of advertising the core roles available within companies in this field.
“A lot of job advertisements just state what they want from you. Very few actually go into ‘This is our facility, and this is how you can be a part of it.’ Modern manufacturing is not the monotonous production lines of yesteryears; and I think a better job could be done to entice people into the sector. If modern manufacturing showcased more of ‘This is what we do’, then I think more people would be interested. Talking about things like automation, traceability, big data and analytics, continuous improvement through data analysis, as well as the core business functions that keep the company afloat—these sorts of subjects are talked about and well known within the industry, but if you talk to most young people, I don’t think they would be aware of or think about those facets of the modern manufacturing world.”
Tom suggested that this could also be because of the decline in manufacturing in the West during the last few decades, “It’s just not the big industry it used to be so people aren’t as aware of it.”
To read the rest of Tom’s column, please visit i-Connect007.