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5 things I learned from a career in manufacturing & reasons you should consider it too

There are plenty of reasons why you should pursue a career in manufacturing - here's five we thought of:

1 - Every day is different and exciting

Manufacturing covers a wide variety of industries. It could be anything like Lego manufacturing, Chocolate manufacturing, Aerospace, and pharmaceuticals, etc. You can choose to work in any field that you are passionate about. When you work in manufacturing, you try to solve different problems every day and learn new things every day which creates an exciting work environment.

From my experience, a big challenge in manufacturing is continuous improvement so finding new and better ways to improve the production processes, come up with solutions, improve efficiency, and ultimately increase the satisfaction of customers. This improves the critical thinking of a person and helps to be able to think outside the box. Some of the emerging issues need to be resolved immediately so it requires us to think fast, make decisions, and resolve the issue.

2 - You can actually SEE the results

In manufacturing, the products made are real and tangible. You could be involved in making a toy or an airplane. When you see the end product, it's very rewarding to know that the work you did have an impact on people's day to day life, it's a sense of accomplishment. When you are working on developing new products, it's even more exciting to see a product being made from napkin design to mass production.

When I worked in the automotive industry, I was involved in new product launches. Having seen a new product from the design phase to all the way to a consumer using the product, there was a thrill to it. Imagine you are part of a manufacturing team of a new iPhone or new Tesla car or a lifesaving medical device; doesn't it excite you to see the idea evolve and become a product and creates a difference in people's everyday life?

3 - Cutting edge technology

Manufacturing adopts new technologies before they become widely available. For example; 3D printing, Internet of things, Robotics, etc. Manufacturing constantly works on innovating and pushing technological boundaries.

I worked with companies where they used Artificial intelligence and Machine learning technologies to find the defect parts on the assembly line. This increases the chances of finding the bad parts before it goes to the next processes downstream. The sooner we find the better it is for the business and visual human being checks cannot be relied upon completely so the technologies play a major role in manufacturing.

4 - Take advantage of many opportunities

More and more people are appreciating the manufacturing field and I highly advise all women in STEM to look into all the opportunities in manufacturing. As manufacturing adopts new technologies, there is a definite need for skilled people. There are endless opportunities available within the industry with a wide variety of departments, the sky is the limit. Students that excel in STEM are highly desirable in this field.

5 - Opportunity for personal growth

Having worked with multiple companies and various industries, I have seen people continuously grow in this field. I have seen people switching their jobs from supply chain to production manager and Quality Engineer to Design Engineer, so I realized for a person who wants to grow and explore different areas of expertise, this is the place to be. I have seen women who started their careers in shop floor and moved up all the ways to leadership roles. it's very inspiring and exciting to see their path and listen to their stories. That makes me feel confident because when I took mechanical engineering as my career, we had a class of 100 and only 15 were women. Everyone doubted my decisions and choices but today I look at people like Indra Nooyi, Mary Barra, Dhivya Suryadevara and that makes me believe that there is no limit to what women can achieve in manufacturing.

Even though manufacturing may not be hyped, I consider manufacturing is one of the coolest spaces to be in and I'm hoping that this article may convince others too!

With thanks - this article was written by Nandini Ananthula.

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