• External Contributor

Investing in Tech is Only Part of the Puzzle

The ability to strategically leverage technology is instrumental if manufacturers want to successfully transition into digital organizations.  However, getting the most out of emerging technology is harder than it seems on paper. After all, it requires significant change.

According to the results of Kin + Carta’s recently released 2020 Change Report three key trends exist – each playing a pivotal role in helping manufacturers find their footing within the digital economy: understanding new opportunities, embracing new tools and progressively advancing change.

The identified opportunities include leveraging IoT, AI, and machine learning as a means of unlocking new efficiencies for their business and their customers; more effectively manage and use vast amounts of data, particularly as new connected systems are collecting more data than ever before; and addressing key challenges in embedding new ways of working within their organizations, including how mixed reality technology can help boost employee engagement and training efficiency.

When assessing new tools for today’s manufacturers, the report notes that new customer expectations, evolving technology and the experiences that are creating real value. Specifically, “new digital experimentation using nascent technologies like blockchain, AR, VR, IoT and Conversational UX, aimed at solving the challenges employees know better than anyone: their own. Whether it’s solving for communication breakdowns, showing employee appreciation or introducing new ways to blow off steam it’s where the mandate of an engaged, supported workforce meets emerging technologies that have proven their potential yet are still in their infancy.”

Fostering change

Kin + Carta Managing Director Shawn DeVries tells IndustryWeek, “Transformation happens in seemingly small steps of progress. The steps needed to adapt in the digital world aren’t to follow fleeting trends, it’s about understanding the clear milestones in emerging technology as well as the real-world challenges that surround them,” he says. “The change that leaders are seeking is as much about people as it is technology. That’s why this year we put real emphasis on things like employee retention, the internal ramifications of real-time customer experience and the critical need for leaders to better define the truth of their business.” 

The next steps for manufacturers, according to DeVries starts with further leveraging AI and machine learning. “Doing so will usher in a new era of reduced downtime, improved worker safety and increased productivity at a lower cost than before,” he says. “With this technology, leaders can build interconnected systems that both collect and transmit data, producing fresh, real-time insights that equip producers to run better, faster, stronger operations that keep up with the competition with the data they already collect and store.

By focusing on data-driven prioritization, manufacturing leaders can pursue the priorities that matter most without wasting time, resources or opportunities, explains DeVries. However, this does not mean manufacturers can afford to ignore employee experience and feedback.

“Change is hard, and employees are on the front lines of these efforts,” he says. “Putting your organization at the forefront of the latest opportunities and tools can inspire employee success, and their experiences and feedback will ensure a seamless implementation.”