Organizations should start planning the transition today.
The Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 have stolen the stage lately where industrial revolutions are concerned. These technological advancements in the industry are an inevitability and will touch everything from manufacturing and logistics to product design and marketing. Automation is central to this trend, including robotic applications and, as the Internet of Things promises, lights out manufacturing where humans are left to handle only the highly skilled jobs of programming the system at large, while machines are left to labour, day-in-day-out. While these technologies sweep across nations and redefine business models, there is another growing trend in the marketplace that is contrary to Industry 4.0, but not altogether separate.
There is an opportunity that exists where artisanal craftsmanship meets automation. In this pairing of seemingly separate spheres, you’ll find that the finest handmade products can be produced on a massive scale and meet the demand of the one-button ordering markets of today. They call this creative collaboration Industry 5.0. There is no substitute, at least not yet, for human senses, and the feeling, thinking brain behind them, and yet there is similarly no way for humans to work with the precision and the unceasing drive of a robot. As a result, we are starting to find coworking robots in new environments beyond their usual factory floors, but in bakeries, coffee shops and even vegetable farms, working alongside craftsmen whose trade is authentic only through their unique human creativity.
So how does the artisan of Industry 4.0 look?
And so, it is with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (i4.0). Like the skilled workers of the first industrial revolution, today’s factory and back office workers are seeing tasks once managed by humans handed over to robots and Artificial Intelligence bots. They are hearing about the factory of the future. And they are wondering what role they will play in the new operating model. Nobody is breaking machines yet. But the concern on the factory floor is palpable.
The concern within the HR department and at the executive table with leading manufacturers is no less palpable. Executives recognize that the adoption of i4.0 will require a massive transition in employee skills, recruitment and training. They understand that to achieve real and sustainable performance improvements, they need their i4.0 initiatives to succeed.
They understand that traditional manufacturing capabilities will need to be augmented (and, eventually, replaced) with new skills and requirements such as automation, programming, data and analytics, Artificial Intelligence, system integration and software development. And they recognize that i4.0 will allow them to create new operating models which, in turn, will require additional changes for their organization and their employees.
The challenge is significant. HR leaders will need to identify the new skills and capabilities that will really be required in the future. Those current employees willing and able to be upskilled and retrained will need to be identified. New talent will need to be attracted, retained and integrated into the business. New ways of working will need to be developed and formalized. And, all the while, the factory floor will need to keep operating and the business will need to keep growing.
Not surprisingly, manufacturing executives are struggling to develop a realistic and practical roadmap for driving this transformation over the next five years. Few want to move too quickly for fear of disruption (and that the hype of i4.0 may not live up to reality). But nobody wants to be left behind-technologically, commercially or in the race for talent.
As part of a recent i4.0 benchmarking exercise, our network of global Manufacturing professionals sat down with almost two dozen manufacturing leaders around the world. We asked them about their capability, talent and HR strategies. And we walked their factory floors to see their i4.0-related activities for ourselves.
What we found was that – while top management certainly understood the significance of i4.0, few believed that their individual employees fully understood how their contributions helped drive the success of the organization. Better communication, education and training will be needed.
Interestingly, some of the leaders in our research suggested that i4.0 might be a potential competitive differentiator, helping position their company as a ‘cool’ place to work-technologically advanced, data-driven and highly innovative – to attract new talent (particularly Millennials) to the industrials sector. The problem will be in coaxing the older existing employees that they also want to be cool.
The CTC college, now in its 54th year of existence, offers SETA aligned training to mining and most industrial sectors, and its core objective is to provide training for artisans in the mining, metals, engineering and related sectors and also to collaborate with employers, product developers and other stakeholders in a search for sustainable training solutions to prepare artisans for the fourth industrial revolution.
The managing director of CTC, Mr Johan Venter said the said the Open day will afford employers an invaluable opportunity to get information from the MQA and Merseta on artisan training grants that will be available.
At this Open day, CTC wishes to showcase their state-of-the-art training facilities. The CTC Training Centre offers accommodation to the artisans attending the course, making them one of the preferred training centers for employers. “Five training vouchers that will afford employers the opportunity to send learners for a full artisan trade at CTC will be up for grabs in our Open Day for Employers Lucky Draw” says Venter.
Colliery Training College (Pty) Ltd
013- 692 3121
The Colliery Training College (Pty) Ltd. was founded in 1965. Initially, CTC was established to cater only for the mining sector, but has diversified and artisan skills training is now available for all interested parties. The demand for artisans in South Africa is growing rapidly.
CTC is accredited by the Mining Qualifications Authority (MQA) and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).
A Memorandum of Understanding exists between CTC and relevant SETAs.