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Indiana manufacturers look to automation with workers hard to find

Justin Hicks
/
IPB News
More than 90 percent of surveyed companies said they raised pay, made hours more flexible or created various bonuses and benefits to attract workers.

Most Indiana manufacturers feel COVID-19 is no longer a significant threat to their businesses. In an annual survey, many said they expect profits to rise. Instead, they’re frustrated with supply chain slowdowns and labor shortages.

That’s according to an annual survey from Indianapolis-based accounting firm Katz, Sapper and Miller and researchers at IUPUI.

Another takeaway from the roughly 100 companies that participated? A huge surge in customer demand, and not enough workers to meet it.

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To attract workers, more than 90 percent said they raised pay, made hours more flexible or created various bonuses and benefits. But that still may not be enough since 73 percent of the companies said a lack of available workers is driving them to automate.

The only thing holding them back is the steep cost of customized robots and a lack of people with the skills to actually program and maintain them.

Researchers also said for the first time in the survey’s 15-year history, all the companies were unanimous on a response. They all said the cost of materials in their supply chains rose, which researchers say is a clear sign of ongoing inflation.

Contact reporter Justin at jhicks@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @Hicks_JustinM.
Copyright 2022 IPB News.

Justin Hicks has joined the reporting team for Indiana Public Broadcasting News (IPB News) through funding made available by (IPBS) Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations. Justin will be based out of WVPE in his new role as a Workforce Development Reporter for IPB News. Justin comes to Indiana by way of New York. He has a Master's Degree from the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University. He previously earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Appalachian State University where he played trumpet. He first learned about Elkhart, Indiana, because of the stamp on his brass instrument indicating where it was produced.