Each year, the first Friday in October is celebrated as Manufacturing Day. Hundreds, if not thousands, of manufacturers around the country offer some kind of open house or exposure to the great opportunity that is a career in manufacturing.
The message is a good one. The method of an annual event is a waste of time.
The marketing concept of “effective frequency” addresses how many times a message must be heard before it enters consciousness for an action to occur. While there is significant disagreement about that quantity, no one argues that once per year is the number.
Exposing young people making career decisions, or at least the next step in identifying a career, is smart for manufacturers. Coordinating with schools, guidance counselors, worker families, and the local community are logical steps. So is stopping by fast food restaurants to talk about great careers in manufacturing. So is inviting returning veterans and people recently subject to a layoff in a local non-manufacturing company.
But doing something once per year that is intended to cause people to change their life plans is far from effective frequency.
If concerned about a skills shortage, the type of activities supported by Manufacturing Day should be repeated regularly.
Anyone who indicates an interest in learning more should be invited to every “recruiting” activity planned. Offer visits during the day, during the evenings, and on weekends to better meet the schedules of candidates.
Offer small group or one-on-one visits. Coordinate a bus tour among manufacturers in your industrial park to give people a sense of the variety of industries and careers possible. Keep in mind that most people don’t know what engineering is, nor what CNC or PLC mean, nor Supply Chain, nor document control.
I encourage you to host a Manufacturing Day event this October 2, but don’t stop there.
The extensive negative PR about manufacturing in recent years will not be overcome by a one-day per year event. Nor will the lack of exposure to what manufacturing jobs now entail.
I have always been excited by manufacturing. Some people don’t even know what it is.
I encourage you to host a Manufacturing Day event this October 2, but don’t stop there. Put on your marketing hats and develop a plan to repeatedly reinforce the message that manufacturing offers many great career options.