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Manufacturing Day 2017: Soft Skills That Make a Great Worker

Three skills that pay off in the manufacturing industry

Today there’s a “national day” to celebrate everything from our favorite foods to activities, professions and more. Not to be left out of the fun, manufacturing has its own day to celebrate the industry and help propel it forward. Held the first Friday of October each year, Manufacturing Day is meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, and help increase the number of products with “made in the USA” on their labels.

The harsh reality is that the manufacturing industry is plagued by both a talent and a skills shortage. Baby Boomers overwhelmingly made up the light industrial labor force, and the manufacturing industry has struggled to attract Millennials to the profession as Boomers retire in droves. On the skills front, there’s work to be done in preparing new generations to enter the field. Curriculum is outdated, as is the machinery used to train workers. The good news is the BelFlex and other proactive companies in the manufacturing industry are doing our part to help attract, educate and train workers.

What’s often overlooked are the soft skills needed to be successful in the manufacturing industry. In the spirit of Manufacturing Day, we wanted to shift our attention to the requirements not spelled out in a job description – the soft skills that make someone a good fit for a light industrial role.


We’d argue that being a strong communicator is perhaps the single most important trait for any person in any field. The manufacturing industry is no exception, particularly with the safety concerns of working with heavy machinery. In a production environment, workers all touch a certain part of the process and together produce the final product. Communicating early and often allows for course correction when necessary and prevents delays and mistakes.

Work Ethic

In manufacturing environments, teamwork is an essential part of getting the job done. A strong work ethic goes a long way. A weak link – whether in performance or attitude – can negatively impact both company culture and production.


The industry is changing fast, and with that comes new processes, technology and techniques. The most successful workers will be those who can adapt to changes easily. Especially for those who are looking to advance their careers, learning different roles and new skills will make them more attractive to managers and open the door to new opportunities.

While technical skills can be taught, soft skills cannot. In the wake of today’s talent and skills shortages, hiring workers with these soft skills can make all the difference in a manufacturing environment.

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