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The Manufacturing Workplace of the Future

July 9, 2018

 

 

Whilst manufacturers have invested in their operational technology (OT); creating more connected and intelligent factories, equipment and supply chains, the investments in employees is lacking.

 

There is untapped productivity and creativity in the workforce that has yet to be realised through technology. And with the move towards digitisation, today’s factory workers will need skills like configuring and servicing robots to work alongside and expand the workforce in new ways.

 

The 95 million first-line manufacturing employees (plant floor operators etc.) make up a massive segment of the industry’s workforce. Yet Forbes Insights found that only 36 per cent of first-line workers have the technology tools they need. In manufacturing, the majority are forced to spend significant amounts of time searching for information in the field, are unable to collaborate with experts, and are bogged down with manual processes.

 

The building blocks of a modern manufacturing workplace

 

Today’s digital advancements could transform the manufacturing workplace—enabling IT to catch up with OT. Innovations like world-class mobility, AI, and mixed reality devices, can be used and combined to provide powerful productivity and collaboration-enhancing capabilities for first-line workers, as well as throughout the manufacturing organisation.

 

Building a modern manufacturing workplace also sets the foundation for a more efficient manufacturing operation by bringing together smart connected things, the intelligent cloud and streamlined people processes.

 

 

Empowering employees for success

 

A modern manufacturing workplace empowers both first-line workers and information workers across three key manufacturing functions.

 

1. Services

  • Use tools to improve services and foster customer engagement.

  • Prepare technicians prior to a service call better (hands-free).

  • Remote collaboration with an expert to maximise employee expertise.

2. Operations

  • Invest in the right tools to improve efficiency.

  • Automate core processes and maximise employee’s time with human-robot collaboration.

  • Enable efficient problem-solving and incident resolution through sophisticated knowledge management, collaboration, and communication.

3. Product engineering

  • Harness the creativity and innovative power of product engineers with new technology.

  • Use data analysis from connected products to develop customer-centric designs with ease.

  • Collaboration tools allow engineers to work together in a seamless environment, co-author designs, and share documents securely.

  • Reduce the amount of time for design iterations and test out creative ideas with virtual reality devices.