What is the best strategy for creating a digital workforce?

By Sean Galea-Pace
In the July issue of Manufacturing Global, we talked to industry experts on adopting Industry 4.0 technology to transform the manufacturing industry...

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution continues to empower manufacturers to transform operations, it is now more vital than ever before to leverage new technology, particuarly in a post-COVID-19 world.

Jean-Pierre Petit, Director of Digital Manufacturing, Capgemini, believes that the initial implementation of new technology is often the toughest hurdle to overcome, particularly in regards to the development and launch of hybrid skills among employees. “Business leaders are acutely aware of these challenges and we’re already seeing many working hard to address them. Hiring processes and training practices should also evolve with the dynamic and changing landscape. The most successful businesses have a robust strategy in place to support and develop both their human and digital workforce – one that’s aligned with their overarching business strategy, so that one complements the other.

However, Petit acknowledges that there is no one single approach to creating a digital workforce. “Each company will have to design and deploy its own journey, mixing cross-functional career paths, upskilling, recruitments and ecosystems in a way that’s relevant to their sector and market conditions. The best practice is to implement new technologies across the board to ensure proper integration. Finally, retaining and understanding the importance of the human element is crucial; the technology itself is a tool which needs to be monitored and corrected by humans.”

Alicia Millinger, Senior Product Marketing Manager, GE Digital, recognises that digital workers require tools to help them engage and leverage powerful analytics and intelligence to aid critical decision-making. “They need the ability to respond to real-time data made available through mobile computing, cross-platform connectivity, and knowledge sharing software for faster, more focused reactions. The digitisation of work processes to encapsulate specific knowledge is key to driving effectiveness of the digital workforce. This software can help manufacturing workers collectively share vital information and better operate, analyze and optimise processes.”

While Andy Coussins, SVP and Head of International, Epicor Software, affirms that the success of digital transformation isn’t just about investing in the right technology.As with any large-scale project—from a change in working location to a company merger—the impact on the people involved needs to be a key consideration when putting a strategy and implementation plan in place. To make digital transformation initiatives a success, no matter how big or small the change, manufacturers need to put key measures in place to manage the transition.

“Whilst the choice of new technologies can be overwhelming and daunting for even a seasoned professional, businesses shouldn’t lose sight of why they are investing in technology and should always keep business objectives in mind—what your competitor is doing might not be the right approach for you. Jumping on the bandwagon or adopting new technology too quickly could be detrimental in the long-term, if the process is not well thought-through or fit for purpose.”

Interested in reading more? Check out the July edition of Manufactur ing Global!


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