3D Printing, Construction and the Millennials

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3D printing, construction and the Millennials, yes we’ve grouped all three together for a reason. We’ve touched a bit on how 3D printing will change the construction industry for the better. Yes I said it for the better; I look at it as a huge opportunity for both manufacturers and the people out in the field. Now how does the millennial generation fit into the equation? Well, let’s consider a few things before we identify how all three come together by starting with the labor shortage in the construction industry.

The labor shortage in the industry is not breaking news to all of us as we already know that it does exist. The question becomes is the labor shortage because of the Millennials who prefer non labor intensive work or is it because the migrant workers are now leaving to go back to their countries? The Wall Street Journal recently covered stated that 30% of Mexican born construction workers had gone back to their country. Some of us may be asking ourselves why they would do that, and what we do know is that many of those workers now earn two to three times more back in Mexico. There has been a little vacuum created with their departure but not one we can’t overcome. Solving this problem isn’t as complex as we might think and as the building market continues to heat up we need to examine wages. How do you solve that problem? You can start with raising wages to increase labor which could attract Millennials to look for a career in the construction industry.

Millennials will represent 40% of the total workforce by 2020, how scary is that? Based on that percentage they are critical to your business’ success and if they don’t want to work for you then your company will fail. Dealing with the Millennials and the success of your company is a whole discussion in itself that maybe we can capture in another blog post.

Ok so how do you motivate Millennials to enter the construction industry and keep them engaged? The millennial generation is one that is influenced heavily by technology and that’s where 3D printing comes in. If the construction industry, both manufacturers and contractors, can start early adoption of 3D printing then we have a financial boom on our hands. I know that many of the good old boys, old timers, or whatever you want to call them fear this happening and I am not sure why. Now if you are one of the early adopter’s congratulations you are well on your way to success.

3D printing, construction, and the Millennials together could bring innovation to the world that we haven’t seen since e-commerce and the internet began. Considering that was only 20-25 years ago is crazy to think about. The Millennials would bring software, programming, and countless other innovative ideas to the construction industry. My projection is that we would see them bringing ideas that would also make construction more efficient and that begins with product creation. On the 3D printing side of things for manufacturers they could essentially make delivery of their products easier. Imagine ordering fasteners, tools, or any other material from a manufacturer who would send you a file via email or dropbox with you having the ability on the job site to print those things out with your printer. It certainly is futuristic to think about, but it will happen. It’s a win-win for all involved clearly! Manufacturers would see a sharp decline in overhead costs of inventory, warehousing, and countless other areas. The Millennials who will make up 40% of the workforce would be hired to innovate for the future as software programmers, 3D printing experts, and so on.

The good old boys need to not worry about losing their jobs, but should start looking at how this will help their business. If you start now you’ll get a jump on what is about to become possibly the greatest human achievement ever, oh and your bottom line on your income statement will reflect that. Don’t thank me later, change your business now and hire those Millennials that will help you innovate. The construction industry will shift when I don’t know, but it is starting. We at METALCON are noticing it now and ready to welcome 3D printing to the biggest trade show in the Americas on metal construction.

 

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