Customodal staff attended the Central Wisconsin Manufacturing Expo in Rothschild, WI today, of which they were also a Gold Sponsor. Hosted by the Central Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance (CWIMA), the focus of the conference and expo was to discuss Industry 4.0, technology, manufacturing, and innovation.

Highlighting nearly 90 companies, hundreds of local industry experts joined together to learn, exhibit innovations, broadcast developments, and share concerns about the future of Wisconsin’s manufacturing workforce. Speakers addressed subjects including preparing your company for Industry 4.0, labor challenges in manufacturing, and how to modernize aging technology infrastructure. Breakout sessions delved deeper into topics such as outsourcing, mitigating material handling problems, navigating legal challenges, managing internal logistics, and optimizing safety.

“Customodal specializes in helping manufacturing companies move their freight, so this was an opportunity to network with those in the industry and learn what their needs are now and in the future,” said Mike Eberl, Customodal CEO. “It’s also a great opportunity to learn what’s new in the industry so we can better serve these customers.”

Of particular significance, a panel discussion featured industry, community, and educational partners discussing the newly published “Wisconsin 2035 Report,” which highlights opportunities and challenges facing Wisconsin’s workforce as Central Wisconsin transitions into the fourth industrial revolution.

“Workforce challenges are impacting manufacturing here in Wisconsin and it’s important that we are proactive as a state in finding a solution,” said Eberl. “The panel discussed how there are 140,000 job openings listed on the State’s website and 88,500 people on unemployment. Even if all of the unemployed magically fit into the vacant job roles, Wisconsin would still be at a deficit. Technology can only supplement some of the gap.”

The panel discussed the importance of attracting and retaining talent, as well as adding to the overall workforce rather than swapping people between companies. Additionally, they highlighted that having a greater manufacturing presence in the K-12 system is critical, including having conversations with students, fostering STEM programs, allowing apprenticeships and alternatives to a 4-year degree, and bringing in businesses as educators (similar to adjunct professors at the college level).

“We are glad to be a leading sponsor of this expo and look forward to returning next year!” said Eberl.