A look at each stakeholder within industrial operations and what they stand to benefit from upskilling and the connected worker. This piece will also look at a post-Covid world and how this is the best way to future-proof operations and adhere to global standards.
We recently spoke on Industry 5.0, the next industrial revolution, and how it will differ from Industry 4.0.
While technology is still a major component and enabler of new capabilities, the next revolution will be centred around the connected worker, creating an informed workforce that has access to skills and expert knowledge whether they have been with a company for one year or twenty years. This approach directly addresses the growing skills gap that has remained prevalent for some time in the industry, it tackles the new challenges of a post-Covid manufacturing sector, and it’s not just the workers themselves that will benefit!
Post-Covid world of manufacturing
Throughout the pandemic remote working was easily the biggest measurable shift in business, and manufacturing was no exception. Gartner predicts that by 2024, half of all factory work will be carried out remotely, with shift workers needed onsite only to perform specialist tasks. Worrying as this sounds for the future of the human workforce, regardless of the amount of automation on-site, humans will always be the most important factor in an industrial enterprise.
Desk-bound workers found it relatively easy to relocate to home, which left skilled operators continuing to turn up for their shifts to manage production. Now, as we enter a post-Covid era, this trend is set to continue. With a predicted reduction in the number of onsite workers and increased reliance on factory automation, industrial companies will need to rely heavily on digital technologies to ensure efficient running and future-proofing of operations.
Imagine a scenario where the skills gap isn’t just a recruitment issue, it becomes a practical one - where on-site knowledge loss, due to remote working, becomes a reality. Reduced on-site presence of specialist staff pushes key expertise further from the factory floor. What would have been a simple question, asked of a colleague, could become a time-consuming task, wasting essential time while navigating busy schedules.
AVEVA Teamwork for industrial stakeholders
In the last blog, we outlined how the life of the connected worker would be changed through AVEVA Teamwork. Creating a seamless sharing platform that provides skills, knowledge and on-the-job expertise wherever the worker finds themselves. Digitalising valuable information that has been held in the heads of the aging workforce and presenting it in a form most beneficial for the next generation of industrial workers is key to reducing risk. But it’s not just the onsite workers themselves who will benefit, each and every stakeholder within an industrial enterprise stands to gain, and in this blog, we’ll consider the benefits for each level of the organisation.
In large companies, as overseers of company-wide operations the C-suite typically does not engage in day-to-day management tasks, often managing teams of staff to handle each production or process responsibilities. In this case having a tool in place to ease the onboarding of new staff members increases efficiency and minimises disruption.
In smaller manufacturing companies the C-suite level often wear many hats, covering new technology strategies, purchasing, innovation and company-wide planning. Within this busy schedule there isn’t much time to walk the factory floor and witness first-hand the challenges of onsite operators. So, what if there could be a digital solution? One that captures the knowledge so often held in the heads of engineers, directors and owners. Having a digital resource that not only works through the day-to-day responsibilities of workers, but also shows the challenges they face and the solutions available to overcome them is of huge value. This is integral information for any business leader looking to implement digital transformation strategies, and as we always say, these decisions need to be driven by the needs of the plant-floor rather than a top-down dictate. Through AVEVA Teamwork, the C-suite can have a keen understanding of factory floor operations without disrupting their busy schedule.
Management is a very broad term, covering human resources, asset management, operations management or cost management to name but a few. An argument could be made that all managers are operations managers since each responsibility contributes to the company’s ability to operate effectively. Directly responsible for meeting customer demands and ensuring efficient running, managers need a tool to present best-practice approaches to new and existing staff. AVEVA Teamwork streamlines this process, creating a resource of best practices for application throughout the organisation. This process doesn’t have to be repeated for every new member of staff and it also addresses any bad habits that engineers have picked up in other companies. A manager deploying AVEVA Teamwork creates the manual for their company-wide operations, connecting with the experts in the company and having a centralised, clear understanding of plant-floor operations. Efficiency improvements and new methods can be deployed in real life with consideration of the practical implications; gone are the days of management demanding a blanket 10% increase in OEE without input from the factory floor.
Onboarding and training new people is often the responsibility of management level staff. AVEVA Teamwork makes this process easier than ever for trainer and trainee. The trainer has a single resource that contains the entire expertise of the company and the trainee can review material at their own pace and refer to it whenever they face a new challenge.
Research & development
R&D within manufacturing companies covers improvements in exiting methods, processes, machines, systems and products. This very broad job role requires that these new methods not only be tried and tested but then presented across the company to all stakeholders. Anything that breaks the status quo of normal operations will often cause bottlenecks as members of staff try to update their way of working. New processes need to be demonstrated, examined in detail and questions need to be asked. This process is slow and requires the dedication of multiple members of staff which can impact a company’s ability to produce goods.
The benefits for R&D with AVEVA Teamwork are two-fold. First, they now have a full understanding of the capabilities and limitations on the plant floor in order to design within the parameters of what can realistically be achieved. Second, presenting new methods is easier than ever and go company-wide with minimal disruption to service.
We have spoken about specific job titles and the benefits of AVEVA Teamwork, moving to a broad overview, there isn’t any member of an industrial enterprise that couldn’t improve their day-to-day with a digital resource that allows and encourages knowledge sharing. Business owners can feel secure that they will never lose their most valuable company asset, the knowledge of their human workforce. Not only are they addressing the skills gap at both ends of the employment spectrum, but they are future-proofing operations whether they are onboarding one new member of staff or one hundred. A manufacturing company with a deployed AVEVA Teamwork can achieve new levels of efficiency, whether their facilities are brand-new or established and reliant on legacy equipment. Every person on the plant-floor has a resource to respond to issues quickly without relying on others, they have an understanding of the best practices and can replicate periods of high efficiency. Perhaps most importantly, they can turn their skills into a company asset for the next generation workforce.