For the past three decades, manufacturers have been focused solely on efficiency as the key to performance gains and technology integration, but this mindset is beginning to fade as ever-growing industry expectations and competition demand a new approach.
Modern manufacturers must reorient their business plans with an eye toward digital transformation and a laser focus on the resources that drive business performance: people. This transformation will require a digital workforce with the skills and know-how to leverage new technologies and innovation. Their success is critical for companies to achieve Top Quartile performance and stay among the top 25 percent of industry peers.
Change, while essential, is always a challenge – especially when we’re approaching a never-before-seen productivity era in manufacturing. Companies are understandably searching for answers on how to get today’s manufacturing workforce from Point A to Point IoT.
To help industry approach this transformational challenge, Emerson analyzed the organizational behaviors of Top Quartile industry performers and identified five essential competencies critical to realizing the value of digital transformation:
- Automated Workflow: Eliminate repetitive tasks and streamline standard operations to focus personnel on exceptions and other opportunities that require human intervention
- Decision Support: Leverage analytics and embedded expertise to provide actionable insights that reduce complexity and enable higher quality, faster decision-making
- Workforce Upskilling: Identify approaches that empower workers to acquire knowledge or experience faster and more effectively, and support higher level and collaborative decision-making
- Mobility: Provide secure, on-demand access to information and expertise regardless of location, enabling collaborative workflows
- Change Management: Strategies, processes, tools and expertise that, in the right combination, simplify and accelerate the institutionalization of operational best practices
These themes are not necessarily new, but the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is bringing unprecedented opportunities to evolve performance in each area. Mastering these competencies can help manufacturers fully take advantage of evolving digital technologies.
To help the industry leverage these competencies to their fullest, Emerson created the Operational Certainty Consulting practice made up of Emerson planning, operations and engineering experts to help guide companies through digital transformation. Companies are eager to get there. In a 2017 study conducted by IndustryWeek and Emerson, manufacturing leaders from a variety of industries said they believe IIoT will bring new possibilities fueled by increased real-time information, a more tightly connected enterprise and improved analytical tools—but obstacles remain.
This group consistently pointed to personnel as the most important factor for success, identifying the need for companies to consider new ways to doing things, improve workflows and educate and upskill their employees to effectively leverage technology investments.
This new era of manufacturing is taking a familiar path: History textbooks will show the advent of new technologies transforming the status quo and disrupting the traditional nature of work time and time again. But you’ll also see the same disruption consistently presenting new opportunities and net employment growth, not loss. Companies that embrace the opportunities are the ones that come out on top.
Today is no different. Companies and employees ready to adapt to the rapidly transforming digital landscape stand to achieve the greatest success. By implementing the five competencies and providing education and upskilling opportunities for employees, manufacturers will be better positioned to accelerate, institutionalize and sustain Top Quartile behaviors as part of this IoT-driven revolution.