Succeeding at digital transformation starts by putting workers and their needs first. Setting workers up to excel at their jobs is the foundation manufacturers need to build on when automating any area of production. The best places to start are improving manufacturing collaboration and providing workers with greater empowerment to do their jobs. Manufacturing’s ongoing labor shortage makes digital transformation more urgent as many production plants run shifts partially staffed to get jobs done.
Manufacturing Collaboration Begins with Company Culture
Consider changing the company culture to make it more collaborative and empowering, then look to which technologies can build on those strengths. Improving collaboration starts by removing the silos that get in the way of workers exchanging ideas, resources, and updates across departments and teams. Empowering workers needs to concentrate on getting them more involved in decision-making across all levels of a company and providing real-time feedback. The goal of improving a company’s culture must be the guardrails that keep the digital transformation on track.
Set Workers Up To Excel
The better the match of technologies aimed at increasing collaboration and providing greater empowerment to workers, the more likely digital transformation will deliver lasting results. It is essential to provide workers with new automated ways to collaborate and excel in their jobs while giving them a chance to make the most of their expertise and experience. By combining years of manufacturing expertise with the latest digital technologies and automation, manufacturers can create a winning combination that makes them formidable competitors.
The following are the top ways companies are improving manufacturing collaboration and providing empowerment by digitally transforming themselves:
- Improve collaboration by providing real-time visibility and control of what’s going on across shop floors. Digitally transforming manufacturing needs to start on the shop floor. Giving workers and teams real-time visibility and control of every order increases collaboration. An integrated ERP system that provides real-time data on every aspect of manufacturing fuels greater collaboration, communication, and information sharing.Workers can see the status of every order on the shop floor when an integrated system is in place. Production engineers and planners can monitor machinery health and yields with real-time production and process monitoring data. Finance and accounting can immediately see the impact of production decisions on financial performance down to the standard cost variance level.
- Creating greater empowerment and improving production efficiency starts with real-time data. The essence of what makes a digital transformation strategy successful is improving worker empowerment. Providing real-time data on why their contributions matter and what’s happening with production and process monitoring across the shop floor achieves that goal. Improving information and knowledge sharing from one end of the manufacturing process to the other is the goal. Manufacturers rely on real-time production and process monitoring to achieve those goals. For example, Eldon James, a world-class medical tubing and connection solutions manufacturer in Colorado, monitors machines in real-time, providing feedback to the operations teams working the production shifts. Engineering can connect with production remotely, quality control can monitor output, and logistics knows immediately when the product is available and ready to ship via their integrated ERP system. Real-time production monitoring provides immediate feedback to workers on how their contributions are making a difference while enabling greater collaboration across departments.
- Getting workers’ feedback on how the software screens and dashboards used daily can be improved and optimized. Giving workers a voice in how information and data are present on the screens increases productivity, allowing them to take more ownership of their jobs. It’s also effective in making an integrated ERP system more valuable to every worker because they can easily access the information needed to succeed at their jobs.
- Double down on training and development for any new digital manufacturing technology before turning it on. Invest the time and resources to train workers on new technologies to improve collaboration and provide greater empowerment. Offer to pay for certifications and create a virtual learning center for workers to use when they have time. In addition, manufacturers are offering $1 to $2 an hour pay increases for employees who pass exams on how to use new systems to increase learning further.
Digitally transforming any manufacturing business must start with workers and their needs first. Set the goal of improving company culture to enable greater collaboration and improving worker empowerment first, and then decide on technologies. Improving visibility and control across the shop floor removes the silos that keep production workers back from accomplishing more. Providing greater employee empowerment starts by making real-time feedback available to workers on why their contributions count. Manufacturing’s labor shortage shows no signs of easing up, making the productivity gains from digital transformation more urgent to achieve.