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Why manufacturers need to embrace skills transformation to be ready for the future

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The production sector has undergone a paradigm shift in recent years and COVID-19 has further accelerated the pace of change. Players around the world have adapted to new ways of functioning with a results-driven transformation agenda at their core.



Digital technologies have played an important role in driving this transition. The Industry 4.0 wave has forced almost all industry players to adopt automation and digital technologies, but maturity levels vary. Organizations at the forefront of digital adoption have certainly seen better results.

And thus, digital transformation is now at the top of the agenda for manufacturing industry practitioners to face growing competition, reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Equally critical for leaders in manufacturing – to ensure they meet critical business goals – is building the talent pipeline to support this transformation and innovate for the future. For an industry like manufacturing, which often carries the weight of outdated approaches and systems, this is an ambitious task.

Goal oriented digital fabrication
The industry has come a long way to adopt connected, data-driven manufacturing that has undergone a metamorphosis – from factory floor to top floor. Next, the demands placed on leaders in the manufacturing sector are becoming increasingly challenging today.

Almost all of them look holistically at transformation.

“Digital in manufacturing needs to address all three stakeholders: customers, communities and employees, and how to make things better for them. Modernizing legacy systems, processes and technologies and integrating them with new systems are all key priorities contributing to the transformation,” said R Nanda, Chief Human Resources & CSR at Tata Chemicals.

The manufacturing sector is witnessing the emergence of several trends that were once unknown to the industry. Among which:

  1. The need for hyper-personalization and the delivery of the right experience across all customer touchpoints
  2. Remote control and data-driven processes through automation
  3. Digitally driven smart products that help players rethink their entire business model

This offers leaders a great opportunity.

Dulles Krishnan, MD, Coursera Enterprise, India & ANZ, says: “The automation potential in the manufacturing sector is 1.3x higher compared to other industries, meaning the sector is ripe for innovation. At the same time, some of these trends create an urgent industry need for a massive skills transformation. Smart customers and smart products demand digitally skilled, tech-savvy workers in manufacturing companies.”

Building the skill for future proof production
The manufacturing industry today recognizes the need for extensive upskilling, cross-skilling and reskilling initiatives designed to drive systemic change. In addition to the basic skills available to workers in the industry, new skills in automation and analytics, connectivity, and advanced manufacturing are driving competitive advantage for businesses.

Several companies offer formalized courses and certification programs to employees to acquire and apply new skills in their day-to-day work. Cross-skilling, for example, an important area of ​​attention. Domain experts are now trained in data science so they can use data for better business outcomes, while IT teams are encouraged to develop design thinking.

‘Digital champions’ with mature digital awareness have been formed across functions. One of the popular strategies among companies is reverse mentoring, where the digitally savvy millennials work with senior employees to bridge the digital skills gap.

According to Jayanta Banerjee, Group CIO of Tata Steel, training employees is no longer a choice, but a necessity for manufacturing organizations. “The success of a digital transformation program is measured by how its users or employees use it every time in their daily activities. Adoption is a big challenge because there is a big digital divide within organizations.”

Promises of Upskilling & further training
As Vineet Jaiswal, Deputy CEO – Center of Excellence, Vedanta, rightly summed up, learning is not a sprint but a marathon. “Continuous learning is essential to prepare the workforce to be agile, fail quickly and innovate. I believe holistic cultural change is the biggest ROI one can achieve with a successful training/reskilling program.”

As workers prepare for a future of frequent change, Coursera highlights some of the skills that will be most sought after in the manufacturing industry:

Best Digital Skills: Product Design, Graphics, UX Design, Statistical Visualization, Cloud Computing

Top Human Skills: Professional Development, Storytelling, Public Relations, Negotiation, Change Management

Disclaimer: This article was generated and published by the Insider Studios team. You can contact them at [email protected]://londonbusinessblog.com/

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