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Fictron Industrial Supplies Sdn Bhd
Fictron Industrial Supplies Sdn Bhd

As Manufacturing Goes Digital, Employees Become Our Biggest Advantage

19-Apr-2019

The future of modern manufacturing depends on more than next-generation technologies to enhance the factory floor. Engaging and empowering the next-generation workforce is important to undergoing a successful digital transformation, and it starts off with rethinking underlying business processes and human resources (HR) policies.
 
The labor force is a significant part of the digital transformation, not merely a beneficiary of it. Manufacturers can digitize their plants with all the technology they like, but unless business leaders consider the expectations and needs of employees - both hourly and salaried - as part of a holistic digital transformation strategy, manufacturers may find their workforce uninspired and unprepared to drive innovation and bring the business results they expect.
 
It is essential for manufacturers to know the dual-importance of fostering a tech-friendly work environment and investing in their people resources. As an example, a recent survey from The Workforce Institute at Kronos indicates there's an undeniable demand from the workforce for technology to get better daily tasks like scheduling and shift swapping. Close to half (47 percent) of employees have had a time-off request rejected by their employer within the last year, with manufacturers typically rejecting vacation requests. At the same time, a staggering 90 percent of employees worldwide presume their organization can improve scheduling - which would inherently result the work-life balance of the impacted workforce.
 
By including HR in upfront discussions about their organization’s digital transformation, manufacturers are going to have a greater sense of what the future of work entails, and what is required to give a modern and engaging employee experience as the foundation for a successful digital transformation.
 
Understanding Employees’ Workplace Expectations
 
Workplace technology was once alot more innovative and better than anything that was available for consumer use, but the opposite is true today: approximately half of manufacturing employees (49 percent) agree it's easier to look for new movies on Netflix than to check the details of their employee benefits, according to another recent survey by The Workforce Institute. Just about half of employees (48 percent) would like their workplace technology performed just like their personal technology, and 35 percent (and 39 percent of Gen Z employees) consider their job is harder than it ought to be because of outdated processes and legacy technology.
 
Upset with how long it takes managers to grant time-off and schedule requests, more than 25 % of employees (28 percent) wish their organization would embrace self-scheduling, permitting them to build their own schedules or select preferred shifts that make it easier to manage personal responsibilities outside of work. Large and by, employees want solutions that make it easier to work their way: swapping shifts, seeking coverage from colleagues, and opting into open shifts for more hours- particularly via a mobile phone or tablet.
 
In the age of digitization, manufacturers that offer employees with responsive solutions that match the simplicity of use and real-time nature of the applications they use in their personal lives can build an engaging employee experience and maintain their efforts to recruit and retain talent - which remains a top concern across the industry. However,, if manufacturers fail to prioritise the needs of their workforce while undergoing a digital transformation, meeting the expectations of employees will become increasingly difficult.
 
Including HR in the Transformation Conversation
 
In most cases, employees want to do well by their employer, and vice versa. However, without ample communication with stakeholders across the organization, it may be easy for organizations to undermine their own employee experience with antiquated attitudes about manpower management and HR processes.
 
When doing digital transformation, manufacturers should think about the technological and people-centric upgrades that will facilitate the work force to operate at full capacity. This may possibly include real-time labor analytics that can help managers make informed operational decisions; intelligent self-scheduling and shift-swapping technology; and real-time performance data that can assist managers have constructive conversations and provide transparency to employees about what is expected of them to advance in the organization.
 
Involving HR throughout the digital transformation will help to ensure that manufacturers’ most valuable resource—their people—remains a top priority throughout the process. Basically, digital upgrades that emphasize a positive employee workplace experience are one of the most vital differentiators for recruiting and retaining top talent.
 
Employee-centric solutions powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning are not simply transforming the future of smart factories—they’re making great advances in engaging employees as a core component of business success from the outset. By investing in the workforce today, organizations can begin to fundamentally increase engagement and drive productivity, both of which are essential parts of any manufacturer’s digital transformation.
 
This article is originally posted on tronserve.com
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