March 2022 Manufacturing Roundtable Takeaways

March 2022 CFO Happy Hour KEY TAKEAWAYS

First American and the Illinois Manufacturers ’ Association brought finance leaders together from across the state for the fifth installment of their CFO Happy Hour series . Attendees discussed solutions to new and ongoing obstacles within the industry .
COMMON THEMES
P Labor availability continues to be the # 1 challenge
P It ’ s not always about the wages . The younger workforce wants to feel an element of pride and connection to the company they work for .
P Internal referral programs have been a successful recruiting tool due to the immediate trust of family or friends who know the company well
P Putting a “ Help Wanted ” sign in front of the facility has also proven to be simple yet successful . Most candidates live within one mile from the facility , and rising fuel costs have made it more appealing to have a short commute to work .
Want to get in on the discussion ? The next CFO Happy Hour will be held this summer . Details and registration will be announced in the coming months . Feel free to reach out in the meantime to be added to the distribution list : manufacturing @ faef . com .
CHALLENGE 1 : RAW MATERIAL COSTS CONTINUE TO RISE
Material prices have not stabilized in the first months of 2022 and increasing fuel costs are expected to continue the upward trend .
CHALLENGE 2 : “ AUTOMATION IS NOT FOR YOU ”
As manufacturers pivot to automation , some are told that their process is too specialized .
SOLUTION 1 : ESCALATION CLAUSES
Attendees shared that adding surcharge mechanisms into customer contracts have helped in many cases . Customers understand the environment that their suppliers are in , and having proactive , transparent conversations have helped to maintain relationships despite the necessary price increases .
SOLUTION 2 : DON ’ T JUST TAKE THEIR WORD FOR IT
Attendees haven ’ t taken “ no ” for an answer . Although dedicating internal resources and seeking alternative third-party solutions takes time and money , it is a worthwhile investment with a fast ROI . Using cobots to partially automate specialized processes has also been successful .