Simutech Multimedia heads to LiveWorx 2019 in Boston this June!

As we anticipate Simutech Multimedia CEO Samer Forzley presenting at LiveWorx on June 11 in Boston, we wanted to give a preview of his presentation on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and its impact on the manufacturing workforce.

In the first part of our IIoT series , we took a look at how IIoT is transforming the plant floor and why it is still important to invest in workers by equipping them with the skills needed to troubleshoot failing equipment. In the next part of this series, we will take a look at how IIoT could affect the future of manufacturing work and steps for organizations to take to start preparing for that change.

Because the industry is, on a whole, undergoing digital transformation, many organizations are starting to take a look at their processes and figuring out what can be improved by adapting new technology and connecting the whole enterprise. However, many businesses don’t realize until they are in the weeds that preparing operations to face Industry 4.0 and come out on top will necessitate more than changing some production lines, but rather the entire operation.  

Having a roadmap to navigate the uncertain future is more critical than ever, so we’ve put together a few concepts for the new rulebook:

  1. Leadership: Manufacturers must recognize that transforming traditional operations starts with leadership and having a plan. We are moving into a new era, which will require a strong vision from leaders to get the buy in from everyone in the organization before the change can begin.
  2. Flexibility: Operations will need to be flexible and able to go into different directions at the same time. For instance, increasing technology in the workplace can alienate workers, so employee engagement will also need to be increased. Putting in place a systems-thinking framework can be helpful for workers to understand how the whole business is related to each other and changing one area will affect other parts, so everyone being open to change will help the business as a whole.
  3. Collaboration: Organizations in the industry will have to work together more and share best practices with each other. Overcoming challenges that the uncharted territory of digital transformation will bring alone is likely to be a rough road to travel. Instead, companies will need to discuss their lessons learned and bounce ideas off one another.
  4. Cultural change: Organizations will have to acknowledge that they are undergoing a total transformation, in both their production processes and their culture. One of the biggest misconceptions of Industry 4.0 is that it involves just equipment. Also, the time and commitment required to change an organization’s culture can be vastly underestimated.

These are the changes that IIoT might bring to manufacturing, but what can your business do now to prepare? First, take the proactive approach by equipping your workers with the technical skills they will need to face the future. According to Deloitte’s new study, 2.4 million manufacturing jobs are predicted to go unfilled in the next decade. This unprecedented number is being caused by a number of factors, including vast amounts of Baby Boomers retiring, a dearth of skilled workers and the younger generation not seeing manufacturing as a viable career.

But not just any training program will do. How well you train your workers will directly correlate with how well your company and workforce will be prepared for the IIoT future ahead. So what should you be looking for in a training program?

  1. Creates problem solvers: Find a training program that teaches critical-thinking skills. In manufacturing, workers who can troubleshoot is important for dealing with failures that inevitably happen with automated production lines in order to correct problems as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  2. Effective: Simply put, make sure your training program works. Investing in people to put them through training that isn’t effective is a waste of time and money, not to mention a real morale killer. And this goes for not just new hires, but existing workers as well. Upskilling your existing workforce will be essential in the digital future ahead. If you invest in new technology without the training, it’s possible this new technology won’t be used at all.
  3. Uses new tools: Among the advanced technologies entering into manufacturing plants is simulation, which has proven successful in training applications. Many companies and industries, including construction, are realizing new tools like simulation more efficiently train workers.  
  4. Scale: Being able to teach more workers will become increasingly important as the skills gap worsens. As mentioned above, many manufacturing jobs are predicted to go unfilled because so many people lack the skills to do the jobs. You will have to find ways to assess and train a lot of people quickly and efficiently, so make sure your training program is up for the task.

Training is paramount to incorporating new technology into your processes, which can then transform your organization. To survive and thrive in the digital revolution, your business will need the help of your people. Your job is to make sure they are prepared to do so.

We hope you feel inspired to prepare your workforce for the IIoT future of manufacturing. If you’d like to hear more from Samer himself, we’d love for you to join us at LiveWorx this June in Boston!


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