Connected Workforce

Keep Cover for the Manufacturing Headwinds of 2023

When we dive into a new year we look for opportunities which make improvements to our current work processes. Unfortunately this is looking more difficult for 2023!

The recent challenges we have faced have had a negative impact for food manufactures and will continue for several more months. These challenges include persistent labour shortages, high inflation, and global instability, these will be coupled with different customer preferences and new regulations.

These factors will tremendously impact food safety, quality, and quantity, requiring you and other manufacturers to adopt new processes and training approaches. Let’s start by looking at the one issue that hammered manufacturers in 2022 – labour instability.

Shortage of Labour

The great resignation which happened during and after the pandemic, forced manufacturers to scramble to hire and retain workers. Employees were unsatisfied with stressful work hours, no wage increases, and limited growth opportunities. Unfortunately this is going to continue into 2023 from the results of a PwC study on the matter.  

It has come to light now more than ever that pay and bonuses are becoming less important to attract and retain employees. Employees now expect to be felt important, a good work/life balance, employee wellbeing, and healthy management relationships.

Upgrade Learning & Development and Cross Training

These reasons mean that it is very important for manufacturing companies to invest in leadership development. A leader doesn’t just need to know the technical side of the business and how to operate the machinery, It is about having the right leadership qualities which achieve employee loyalty and connections. They must learn how to effectively coach and nurture frontline workers, and make sure they feel in a safe environment where they can address any issues they have.

Investing into effective leadership training will be far more valuable than spending on signing bonuses, which is why reputable manufacturing companies make the investment in leadership training designed specifically for manufacturing work conditions. 

A road to advancement is critical in maintaining labour stability and employee retention.

Cross-training is a brilliant example. It gives the employee the opportunity for growth and fosters new personal connections which encourages your employees to stay in their role and prepares them for promotion. It also helps them understand the importance of their role within your overall operation. Without a doubt it can be a challenge to make time to provide structured cross-training and upskilling with so ch focus on quotas and yield, which is why leveraging mobile training technology designed for the task is essential.

Fears of a Recession on the Way

There has been a fear surrounding everyone with whether or not 2023 will bring a recession! If it is not classed as a recession, we continue to struggle through record inflation, resulting in pressure on prices and higher wages as we operate in tighter labour markets.

In order to derail the negative outcomes to your business during this time, you will have think about budget cuts to delay repairs and upgrades, freeze new recruits, reduce training or downsize product packaging. Communication to employees about any of these changes is extremely important to prevent costly quality and safety errors. As cost cutting may be a necessity we do advise against cutting training. Throughout the years it has been proven that the more training and engagement frontline workers receive correlates to positive impacts on product quality, workplace safety, employee retention and confidence in their role. Having a connected workforce platform which provides all your training needs in a single source of proof platform will make your employees feel valuable and consequently lead to these aforementioned positive behaviours.

Create an Agile and Lean Infrastructure

There is also more you can do to retain employees, cross-training will certainly help create an agile workforce that can moved around when needed. If additional customer demand is placed on a different product or you have to downsize products and relabel new packaging, your frontline workers will be ready to accurately manage the changes.

Lean manufacturing can assist you to save money, improve quality, reduce lead times and improve service instead of implementing shortcuts that could lead to unnecessary mistakes. To face these economic challenges consider creating new efficiencies and eliminating waste with lean manufacturing. To assist your efforts, Nvolve now has recently released new platform features including streaming our audit feature on one platform, health and safety modules, audition and digital checklists module and more.

Supply Chains Will Remain Messy

Even as Global Supply Chains get back some stability, they remain very susceptible to risks such as labour shortages, cyber-attacks, transportation strikes, unpredictable weather events, and general supply issues. As a food manufacture, it is crucial you are prepared when your suppliers can’t deliver to you. You must be reactive in your environment and be able to quickly identify new suppliers or change up processes in a quick turnaround time. A lack of planning can lead to potential risks to consumers and costly food recalls.

Plan for Alternative Sources

Supply chain risks can be reduced by working with multiple vendors, auditing their food safety programmes and regular communication with vendors

There are three ways to help protect food quality and maintain production when your regular supplier fails to come through.

  • Review potential suppliers and their specification for nutritional value and regulatory compliance.
  • Train employees to be more meticulous when it comes to reporting if something doesn’t look or smell right with a shipment.
  • Examine supplier labels to compare them to product specifications to meet compliance specifications.


There is no need to panic, 2023 will be full of challenges as well as opportunities. Any adjustments you make this year will eventually turn into a means for long-term quality, processing improvements, increased employee morale and a competitive edge in the market.

Let us know how we can help prepare you for the high winds of 2023.

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