2017 was a successful year for the Electronics Industry, with actual growth far exceeding predictions. However, with this success came implications. As order-books filled, component manufacturers were ill-prepared for the demand, and having previously downscaled operations to prepare for what was predicted to be a fairly flat year, lead times began to move out.
Lead times are now at the worst point they have been at for many years, stretching out over weeks and months. For the ‘new generation’ within the workforce, termed ‘Millennials’, this will have been one of the biggest industry challenges for them to face to date. The term Millennial is applied to a generation of workers who began their working lives from around the year 2000, characterised by having grown up fully immersed in digital technology. Often used as a derogatory term, there are many suggestions that this new generation are simply not up to the task when times are hard.
There have been several suggestions that these Millennials are having a negative impact on an already challenging situation, with their perceived over-reliance on communication via digital channels rather than face to face or picking up the phone for a chat, and ill equipped in skills that the previous generation had in abundance, such as communication skills, adaptability, and how to cope in a crisis. They have been dismissed by many camps as incapable of dealing with these industry challenges; they are seen as fool’s gold – shiny and full of promise, but ultimately lacking quality and value - rather than as precious gems. Here at Charcroft, we see things differently. Charcroft challenges itself to create its own precious gems in these difficult times- after all, pearls are created from irritation and stress!
Whilst some camps may wish to merely blame this generation to absolve themselves from any responsibility, at Charcroft we would not choose to dismiss an entire generation in such a sweeping manner. We have a large percentage of our workforce represented from this generation, yet we do not see these failings in our staff. This may be down to many factors – the quality of our recruitment process for example. But we believe it also comes down to the Charcroft ethos.
We see our role as to nurture and develop our talented staff, to ensure we are getting the best from them (and they are getting the best from us!). We ensure that we engage in ongoing in-house training and development to inculcate key skills in our staff, such as communication, problem solving and adaptability. We encourage communication in all forms, along with free flow of knowledge and understanding - we do not hoard knowledge at a senior level, but cascade this down so that all staff are fully engaged.
Tough times such as these should demonstrate the ability to adapt and compromise, to be flexible and innovative. We see this as an opportunity to grow and develop our staff, so they have an appreciation of both the good times and the bad, and can deal with both accordingly. Whilst Millennials are so often dismissed as worthless pebbles, we have no doubt that we will overcome these tough times, emerging on the other side as stronger and more valuable – after all, as Henry Kissinger said, ‘A diamond is a piece of coal made good under pressure.’