The pandemic caused big changes across America and worldwide, but the United States’ labor force was especially disrupted. Referred to as The Great Resignation, more than 47.1 million workers quit their jobs in 2021. However, when looking closely at the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s clear that many of those 47 million that quit their jobs were rehired elsewhere. So why are we still talking about a labor shortage?

When workers quit their jobs for a better work-life balance, flexibility, better pay and the ability to work from home (or anywhere else for that matter), specific industries were impacted significantly, including manufacturing. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in December 2022, durable goods manufacturing job openings are going unfilled 50% of the time. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce recommends “doubling down on reskilling and upskilling” current employees to remain competitive.  Higher education levels often lead to lower unemployment, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that America’s entire workforce needs to get a four year degree and then some. By encouraging ongoing employee training and giving young people hands-on access to learn skilled trades, we can work to overcome the labor shortage that’s predicted to plague the industry for years to come.

Investing in Our Team

As our industry begins to feel the impacts of a labor shortage, Toolcraft Machining actively recruits and hires for new positions, including second shift. You can take a look at our open positions here.

In order to ensure that we maintain a workforce that is highly skilled and competitive, we continue to invest in cross-training efforts internally alongside external training. Our intensive training includes cross-training office staff to ensure a seamless customer service experience for our valued clients. Our machinists have a wide variety of training outside of their regular discipline:

  • Offsite CAM training which increases our ability to handle new projects
  • Offsite 3D CAD modeling training to better take advantage of cycle time to do any modeling or drawing necessary for projects
  • Blueprint reading training for office staff
  • International machine-specific training for our brand new 5-axis machine

This investment in our team, which is our greatest asset, cultivates a culture of innovation and excellence among our valued employees.

Investing in Efficiency

At Toolcraft, we’ve gotten serious about investing in efficiency to better serve our clients. One of the most exciting investments we’ve made is the addition of a 5-axis mill/turn pallet changer to our shop floor. This new addition to our toolbox is able to machine a 4’ cube or 50” diameter part. We’re committed to embracing new technologies that get your project “done in one.”

5-axis mill/turn pallet changer helps us stay ahead of a labor shortage

When auditing the machines on our shop floor, the Toolcraft team realized we could implement a done in one methodology on some existing equipment to improve efficiencies shop-wide. By utilizing turning and milling capabilities in one set-up more than we have before, we continue to improve client outcomes. In addition to maximizing machine efficiency, we’ve moved many machines on the floor as the beginning of our effort to optimize our plant for increased throughput per man hour.

We have expanded our engineering team to better assess risk and improve our process planning before jobs hit machines in order to save time and reduce scrap. We’ve also included a Quality Plan review to our routings to assess previous Non-Compliances and schedule our inspections prior to projects hitting the floor so we can assure the highest quality for our clients.

Finally, we are working on IOT software projects as we identify areas in which we can turn downtime or runtime into uptime. This tool allows us to track maintenance needs so we can address them right away, before they interrupt client projects. 
At Toolcraft Machining, we’re devoted to constant improvement and providing the highest caliber of service and production for our clients. Ready to work with us? Click here.