Kartik heads the global delivery for Industry 4.0 and Digital Supply Chain Practice across industry verticals. In this role, he is responsible for delivery of Industry 4.0 transformation program for global customers. He has over 20 years of experience and has played sales, program, and delivery management roles in different geographies.
The Digital Shift in Manufacturing
The disruption in the Manufacturing space is enormous with every organization undergoing a digital transformation with Industry 4.0, automation, and artificial intelligence. These have an all-encompassing impact on the way business operations function and products & services are consumed by end users. The drive to introduce new products in the market at regular intervals and repurpose the supply chain and production line for faster turnaround of products without affecting the operational cost, quality, and compliance requirements, is compelling the enterprises to adopt new ways of working.
Manufacturing plants of most enterprises are moving towards robotics and automation for improved production efficiency. Organizations are looking to accelerate the adoption of Industry 4.0 to bring in operational efficiency across plants for lean and agile product manufacturing. The digital plant also enables downstream value chain transformation with smarter connected products in the market to drive after-sales service efficiency and enhanced end-user experience.
Given this transformation, the various manufacturing persona profiles are undergoing change and reskilling of the workforce is key for competitive advantage and will gain further momentum.
A McKinsey Analysis on technologically automatable activities by sector suggests that 39% to 58% of worldwide work activities in operationally intensive sectors could be automated using currently demonstrated technologies. This will require companies to have a workforce with the right skill set to operate and manage these automated systems and digital processes.
A methodical approach is required to address this skill gap with a well-defined execution framework that enables and incentivizes all the stakeholders to participate, contribute and succeed. It is relevant to access the Learnability Quotient (LQ) of manufacturing persona and tailor the individual training journey so that it is in line with the organizational expectation, persona current skill profile, skillset required and individual career path.
The Learnability Quotient (LQ) and its Significance
Learnability Quotient or LQ measures an individual's desire and ability to learn new skills. To ensure the workforce can keep pace with technological advancements, it's crucial to understand the LQ of manufacturing personas. Based on their LQ, bespoke training journeys can be crafted, aligning with organizational expectations, current skill profiles, desired skill sets, and individual career paths.
Next Gen Personas for Manufacturing Operations
Shift Supervisors are transitioning into Production Orchestrators with the ability to use Digital Twin of the production line for real-time operations monitoring and proactive interventions to avert production interruptions. Plant Managers are evolving into Manager-Smart Factory, wielding the Digital Twin of the Plant to identify bottlenecks on the shop floor and take necessary interventions to improve the first pass yield. Plant IT Managers are changing to Plant Digital Offering Managers, adept at conversing with IoT platform solutions, harnessing data, advanced analytics, and edge computing to orchestrate new workflows per business need.
Instrumentation Engineers become Robotics Automation Specialists - Manufacturing, skilled in programming and diagnosing robots and cobots, using IoT sensors and gateway devices. Maintenance Engineers transform into AR Engineer-Maintenance, equipped to conduct first-level diagnostics using AR-based maintenance tools and analytical insights.
Supply Chain Planner upgrade to Connected Value Chain Specialists, proficient in using tools part of the supply chain control tower to amalgamate enterprise-side planning with plant-level production schedules. Line/Work center Operators develop into Digital Work Center Operators, well-versed with Digital Work Instruction (DWI) and Connected Operator solutions for paperless operations.
The above persona skillset requirements call for reskilling and upskilling of the existing workforce. This will enable them to be effective in taking up new and enhanced job responsibilities, be part of a strategic workforce, and drive a company-wide continuous learning culture.
Developing a Skill Development Framework
Senior Management's Commitment: Investing in emerging technologies to empower the shop floor workforce is a forward-thinking strategy that promises significant returns in the medium to long-term. Senior management should not only recognize the importance of this move but should also be proactive in providing the necessary direction and guidance to the teams responsible for execution. Prioritizing reskilling and upskilling programs is essential to guarantee that the workforce is equipped and prepared for future challenges.
Culture of continuous learning: Upskilling and reskilling programs should be integrated into the company culture to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the workforce. To tackle the problems of traditional training methods, bite-sized reskilling and upskilling modules are a smart solution.
Regular Program Evaluation: As market demands evolve, skill development programs must too. To evaluate the actual return on investment, the structure and content of programs must be assessed continuously in terms of their relevance and effectiveness.
Employee Value Proposition: Employees need to be made aware of the value of upskilling and reskilling programs. Providing incentives to employees for upskilling and reskilling will make them appreciate such initiatives, leading to improved productivity.
As manufacturing organizations undergo transformation by digitizing the core and accelerating their digital manufacturing transformation journey, there is a growing demand for broader and more advanced skill sets among employees and shop floor staff. Establishing a clear framework for up-skilling and re-skilling is not just necessary; it's imperative. Equally crucial is fostering a culture of learnability within the workforce. This commitment to continuous learning is key to ensuring success in the current landscape and maintaining relevance as the industry evolves.