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Blog · 19 Apr 2021

The 3 critical steps to empowering your smart workforce

The connected digital factory will require a new way of working, but there will always be a place for both man and machine in your operation.

Sarah Moseley
Head of vertical solutions and business development, retail and consumer goods

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has increased the urgency around digital manufacturing.

Consumer goods companies have had to rapidly adapt as the demand for certain products and services outstrips supply. To keep up, the first thing companies need to do is double, triple or quadruple their ambition around the scale and pace of their digital transformation.

The factories of the future will need to implement new, innovative technologies such as digital twins, 3D printing, automation, IoT, machine learning and virtual and augmented reality to remain competitive. But how will you make sure that your employees can adapt to this new way of working?

Preparing your workforce for a digital way of working

Here are my three key recommendations for empowering your smart workforce:   

1. Remember employees, not machines, are the face of your organisation

With intelligent automation, the need for manual and basic cognitive skills is steadily on the decline. But there will be a growth in demand for social and emotional skills, technology professionals with advanced IT knowledge, and a greater need for creativity in the workplace. Remember, in the long term it’s about creating opportunities for people, not machines. This is what drives you to transform. By shifting the burden of mundane tasks over to machines, you’re increasing the human value of your workforce. Liberating them from repetitive tasks to allow time for intuition and innovation at work. While at first this might mean working with them to retrain, restructure or reskill, the end result will be a better working experience for everyone.

2. Collaboration is key

With the rise in remote working, workforces are more fragmented and detached than ever. Your factory might be somewhere rural or abroad, while your office is in the city. Now is the time to bring people together. Staff need to communicate freely across the entire organisation, from shop floor to supply chain, and beyond. Fast and scalable collaborative technology will drive cross-department connection. In my experience, many employees already have access to at least six collaboration tools in the workplace. But most still don’t know how to get the most out of them and need the right support to start using them successfully. Consider a simpler, integrated solution that brings all your infrastructure and systems into one place, connecting at every level. Once you achieve efficient collaboration across your entire value chain, you’ll reap the benefits, including better operational transparency, productivity and use of human and material resources.

Traditionally, factories have always operated as silos. But by connecting your factories and technology to increase efficiency, you’re enabling a wealthier culture of collaboration that will break down these historic barriers. Consider developing an extended smart ecosystem of other supply chain partners for extended collaboration, even globally. This will boost your overall manufacturing flexibility and resilience even further, while also increasing profitability.

3. Growth mindsets will drive business growth

An intelligent business knows the value of a continuous learning strategy. Recognise that introducing revolutionary technologies isn’t the end of the line, it’s setting you on a path of evolution. Education and continuous learning will be essential. Technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, digital twins, 3D printing and IoT are developing continuously. Staff need to be open to improvements and updates. If you help them to understand just how much these smart tools improve efficiency, they’ll be keen to embrace new upgrades and innovations later on. To a certain extent, the success of your transformation is reliant on your staff’s ability to integrate and adapt. The speed at which they learn will decide the rate at which you can evolve and, ultimately, remain competitive.

Never underestimate the value of connection

Transformative technologies like collaboration tools are ultimately reliant on the speed and agility of the connection that holds them together. Having a network that’s stable, scalable and secure is the essential foundation of your transformation.

We have a range of connectivity options that can help you support collaboration applications and third-party platforms, smoothly and safely. We offer a choice of flexible and secure SD-WAN, 5G and cloud technologies, shaped to fit your specific needs. Then we can help you build on this. We have the technical expertise and experience of using, integrating and deploying collaboration solutions on a global basis. As well as the technology, we can provide a consultative user adoption service to help embed the right tools into the working lives of all your users.

To find out more about the options we have available, download our brochure.

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has increased the urgency around digital manufacturing.

Consumer goods companies have had to rapidly adapt as the demand for certain products and services outstrips supply. To keep up, the first thing companies need to do is double, triple or quadruple their ambition around the scale and pace of their digital transformation.

The factories of the future will need to implement new, innovative technologies such as digital twins, 3D printing, automation, IoT, machine learning and virtual and augmented reality to remain competitive. But how will you make sure that your employees can adapt to this new way of working?

Preparing your workforce for a digital way of working

Here are my three key recommendations for empowering your smart workforce:   

1. Remember employees, not machines, are the face of your organisation

With intelligent automation, the need for manual and basic cognitive skills is steadily on the decline. But there will be a growth in demand for social and emotional skills, technology professionals with advanced IT knowledge, and a greater need for creativity in the workplace. Remember, in the long term it’s about creating opportunities for people, not machines. This is what drives you to transform. By shifting the burden of mundane tasks over to machines, you’re increasing the human value of your workforce. Liberating them from repetitive tasks to allow time for intuition and innovation at work. While at first this might mean working with them to retrain, restructure or reskill, the end result will be a better working experience for everyone.

2. Collaboration is key

With the rise in remote working, workforces are more fragmented and detached than ever. Your factory might be somewhere rural or abroad, while your office is in the city. Now is the time to bring people together. Staff need to communicate freely across the entire organisation, from shop floor to supply chain, and beyond. Fast and scalable collaborative technology will drive cross-department connection. In my experience, many employees already have access to at least six collaboration tools in the workplace. But most still don’t know how to get the most out of them and need the right support to start using them successfully. Consider a simpler, integrated solution that brings all your infrastructure and systems into one place, connecting at every level. Once you achieve efficient collaboration across your entire value chain, you’ll reap the benefits, including better operational transparency, productivity and use of human and material resources.

Traditionally, factories have always operated as silos. But by connecting your factories and technology to increase efficiency, you’re enabling a wealthier culture of collaboration that will break down these historic barriers. Consider developing an extended smart ecosystem of other supply chain partners for extended collaboration, even globally. This will boost your overall manufacturing flexibility and resilience even further, while also increasing profitability.

3. Growth mindsets will drive business growth

An intelligent business knows the value of a continuous learning strategy. Recognise that introducing revolutionary technologies isn’t the end of the line, it’s setting you on a path of evolution. Education and continuous learning will be essential. Technologies like artificial intelligence, virtual reality, digital twins, 3D printing and IoT are developing continuously. Staff need to be open to improvements and updates. If you help them to understand just how much these smart tools improve efficiency, they’ll be keen to embrace new upgrades and innovations later on. To a certain extent, the success of your transformation is reliant on your staff’s ability to integrate and adapt. The speed at which they learn will decide the rate at which you can evolve and, ultimately, remain competitive.

Never underestimate the value of connection

Transformative technologies like collaboration tools are ultimately reliant on the speed and agility of the connection that holds them together. Having a network that’s stable, scalable and secure is the essential foundation of your transformation.

We have a range of connectivity options that can help you support collaboration applications and third-party platforms, smoothly and safely. We offer a choice of flexible and secure SD-WAN, 5G and cloud technologies, shaped to fit your specific needs. Then we can help you build on this. We have the technical expertise and experience of using, integrating and deploying collaboration solutions on a global basis. As well as the technology, we can provide a consultative user adoption service to help embed the right tools into the working lives of all your users.

To find out more about the options we have available, download our brochure.

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