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Short-staffed: How can businesses beat the global forces behind labour shortages and climbing costs?

The ‘wall of cash’ created by the UK Government borrowing from its own bank is causing problems. That’s what happens when you inject capital into companies from the ether. While the support during the initial waves of the pandemic may have shored up finances in the short term, the knock-on effects of quantitative easing are creating long-lasting problems that businesses must urgently address.

But what can businesses do to maintain productivity and drive growth in an increasingly unstable economy? To answer that, we must first look at the facts:

  • 1.295 million - The number of job vacancies, up by 37,000 from last quarter
  • 201,000 fewer young people in the workforce
  • 96,000 - manufacturing vacancies
  • 50%+ of businesses can’t find the labour to meet demand
  • 8,829 - 16-64 year-olds classed as ‘economically inactive’
  • 11.1% - RPI inflation (40-year high)
  • 9% - CPI inflation
  • 3.7% - UK Unemployment rate (May 2022)
  • 4.2% - rise in wages (excluding bonuses)

The UK’s shrinking labour market is creating big problems for employers. As older workers leave, you’d be forgiven for thinking this makes room for younger workers and a reinvigorated workforce. Not so. In fact, for the first time, the UK now has more job vacancies than unemployed people to fill them.

Unemployment now sits at just 3.7%, with a record 1,295,000 job vacancies reported at the last count. This is an increase of 33,700 in the last quarter and the first time since records began that the number of vacancies is larger than the number of people unemployed.

To put it bluntly, there are now more roles open than workers to fill them. Critically, figures from the autumn highlight 200,000 fewer 16-24-year-olds in the job market and updated stats this week confirm that young workers are in decline, with a further 13,000 fewer in the population from January-March 2022.

The impact of falling birth rates over three decades has left a top-heavy workforce that continues to lose more workers than it gains. If we’re going to solve the people problem, we need to understand the global forces that are driving it.

Join me for a deep dive as we delve into the issues in-depth - my spring employment review outlines the global factors at work and how UK businesses can counteract them. Click here to download the full guide and take action to embed resilience into your business model.

Scroll on to explore how why we've been working with global partners to supercharge safety tests for EV batteries, discover the game-changing bit of kit making inspection affordable for every business, and see how our vision tech has been giving essential insights to a multinational food giant on no fewer than seven production lines. Plus, join us in celebrating 25 years of driving operational improvements across the globe, and explore what's on in the industry this month - and why we'll be there front and centre.

Thanks for reading,


Trial news
Snuffing out safety concerns: how thermal cameras are safeguarding the booming demand for EVs

March was the best month ever for new electric vehicle sales in the UK, with more sold in a single month than in all of 2019! With the number of electric vehicles on the road by 2025 set to double, EVs seem set to be the future of transport - but battery fires remain a constant cause for concern for manufacturers.

How can the industry charge up production without compromising on safety? Thermal cameras are ideal for snuffing out safety concerns before they can kindle.

That's why last week, we took our insight on the road and
exhibited at the Battery Tech Expo in Silverstone to showcase how thermal imaging is helping to prevent battery fires as production lines scale up - fast.

Find out how our partner FLIR is working with the Battery Innovation Center in Indiana to prevent overheating and reduce thermal runaway (that’s ‘fire’ to you and me).

Product news
The future is In-Sight: Cognex 2800 Vision System brings deep learning inspection at entry-level prices

Whether it's energy bills, production costs or wage bills, there's no escaping the fact that expenses across the board are on the rise. But in machine vision, the entry-level price of deep learning in machine vision continues to open up.

I can't overstate it: this is absolutely game-changing.
Kit that might have seemed prohibitively expensive just a few years ago is already more affordable due to a deluge of demand. A piece of advanced inspection technology that may have cost around £15,000 in 2017/8 can now be brought in for a fraction of that - as little as £5,000.

Take the Cognex in-Sight 2800, for example.
Stewart Jackson, our product development manager, recently travelled to Berlin to meet with Cognex and explore the 2800 in detail. Keep your eyes peeled for our upcoming deep-dive interview with Stewart in the June Vision Update to learn why this piece of kit has got us so excited.

Company news
Outsauced solutions? We'll shoyu! Quality control to cut waste for South-East Asian food multinational

Our founder and CTO John ushered in April with a trip to Indonesia, having been approached by a multinational food corporation to help reduce waste and knock-on production line costs caused by mandatory downtime from contamination.

The factory packages food and hygiene products in sealed pouches, shipping out everything from soy sauce to shampoo. However, it was experiencing issues with ensuring that each pouch was correctly sealed - and battling a mounting waste problem.

This was causing both damage and hygiene concerns for customers. If a pouch wasn't sealed correctly, waste could leak out in transit and contaminate an entire delivery or, worse yet, rupture during production and cause the entire line to be shut down and decontaminated - and all exposed product would need to be disposed of.

Producing around 3 pouches every second across each of its seven production lines, that’s over 1.8 million pouches an hour - or 12.7 million in a week, which means that every second of downtime creates costly run-offs.

Discover how our HotSpot SealCheck thermal camera system is countering these sticky situations, preventing problems and driving down costs.

Celebrating 25 years of operational improvements

We've reached a major milestone: this month, Bytronic turns 25!

Established in 1997 by our founder and CTO John Dunlop, we're proud to have provided automated inspection solutions for global brands such as AB InBev, Unilever, Jaguar Land Rover and Procter & Gamble. Now, having recently secured our status as a Logistics Partner Integrator with Cognex - the world’s leading provider of vision systems, software, sensors, and industrial barcode readers - we're building on our reputation and our expertise as the leading integrator of vision technology in the UK.

John Dunlop, our founder and CTO, said: “The unofficial mantra of Bytronic Vision Automation right from the start - 25 years ago - has been ‘make it work’. This concept has made the business what it is today.

“We’re proud to try new ideas and embrace the agile thinking needed to solve the trickiest of inspection problems. I’d like to congratulate our growing team for continuing to build on their experience and creativity to find innovative solutions to problems across the length and breadth of the manufacturing supply chains.”

Exhibition news
Exhibitions are back for 2022 - Join us this spring

With covid restrictions lifted across the UK, exhibits can now go ahead after two years of moving goalposts. Discover where we'll be this spring as we showcase the incredible power of automated solutions to businesses nationwide.

Packaging Innovations & Empack, 25th - 26th May, NEC Birmingham

We're back at the Packaging Innovations & Empack show, the UK’s essential annual event driving business and innovation across the whole packaging journey - from primary packaging, secondary packaging, contract packing and fulfilment, labelling and printing and packing and processing technology. Join us on stand B24 in Hall 1 as we present our HotSpot™ non-contact thermal imaging system. It's the perfect solution for checking hot-melt glue applications and minimising waste in your packing production line.

Engineering & Technology Solutions, 25th May, AMP, Rotherham

Join us at the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham where some of the most cutting-edge enhancements in the field of nuclear, aerospace, automotive, medical, environmental and energy technologies are being developed. Keep an eye out for our CTO John Dunlop, who will be in attendance to absorb the very latest from these cutting-edge industries.

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