Article by Alberto Martínez, CEO of Lantek
With the digital transformation, the manufacturing industry is undergoing rapid evolution as an increasing number of companies understand the benefits of connecting their factories on a global level. The breakneck evolution and the changes produced by new technologies and information is forcing manufacturers to constantly update and inform themselves on the latest technological developments. All these innovations and technological advances are driving and boosting industry towards digitization.
We find ourselves in the perfect moment when both the conditions and the environment are coming together to favor digitization, which will enable manufacturers to undertake the transition:
Thanks to the aforementioned innovations, factories are entering the digital world to be more efficient and productive. The connected vision and access to the data offer countless new possibilities.
The main benefits to be reaped with connected factories are that the company executives hereby have a global vision of all their plants. Managing directors can see the entire production line and the phase in which the products find themselves as part of production planning. They can see if any machine has broken down or what is causing bottlenecks.
With this broader view, they have the possibility of identifying which plant produces articles more efficiently and profitably. Or, even in the event of delays, they can see what machines may be the cause and what impact this has on the overall planning. With the digital transformation, the keys to success in the manufacturing industry have moved from cost reductions to increased efficiency and productivity. Company executives now have the responsibility of pushing their workers towards these targets, as well as making them understand how the incorporation of new technologies and tools will enable them to provide a better service to their customers.
In order to achieve a change of the magnitude required by digital transformation, there must first of all be a commitment by management who are true to this objective and who are knowledgeable about how to steer the future of the company, while clearly setting the objectives. Moreover, it is essential that the employees understand why they need to change and how they will benefit personally from this change.
While workers must be willing to accept certain changes, company executives must also ensure good and effective communication to encourage them. Part of the implementation processes for achieving better collaboration requires knowing that everyone understands them. Communication is key for ensuring that everyone understands the targets, objectives, and processes.
One of the greatest obstacles in digital transformation is the “difference in skills” that is so often referred to. To this end, it is necessary that companies are well aware how to ensure the transition of their employees to these new functions. The training of employees is an essential ingredient. Workers with more labor experience will require specific training for learning and incorporating the new technologies into their work. As such, they must have the capacity and predisposition to adapt to a changing environment such the current one.
It is also essential to pay special attention in the company to the coexistence of experienced workers with the new ones, the digital natives. Experienced workers have the experience, although they will have to add new digital skills. The youngest workers, who have just joined the company, have digital skills, however, lack experience. By working together, both groups can achieve their goals and learn the skills they need from each other.
Change in companies is always difficult. Those who make the necessary transition to companies and factories that are digitally connected will enjoy greater advantages compared to those who opt to wait. Those who master these new skills will play the leading role in their trajectory and will enjoy certain advantages compared to their competitors. Companies who continue to wait may soon find that they are lagging behind.
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