Emerson has stressed the importance of the digital workforce at the opening of its annual Emerson Global Users Exchange event.
The engineering services company said that in order for manufacturers to drive greater business performance in the digital era, they need to focus on the skills of their personnel.
Analysis of the organisational behaviours of Top Quartile industry performers showed five key competencies to realising the digital transformation, the company said. Those competencies include use of automated workflows which eliminate repetitive tasks to free up personnel to focus on exceptions and other opportunities that require human intervention; decision support including analytics and embedded expertise which will reduce complexity and improve decision making; and workforce upskilling, to empower workers to acquire knowledge or experience faster and more effectively, to support higher-level and collaborative decision-making.
Empowering the workforce for digital transformation also requires mobility for the workforce, with provision of on-demand access to information at any point, and improved change management which can allow organisations to simplify and accelerate the adoption of operational best practices.
While these themes are not necessarily new, Emerson noted, Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) innovations are bringing unprecedented opportunities to evolve performance in each area of organisational transformations. To make these opportunities attainable, Emerson will expand its Plantweb digital ecosystem with a wide range of new digital technologies and services, including a consulting practice with the expertise, methodologies and personnel to bring predictable success to digital transformation.
"The past 30 years have brought us fantastic advances in the manufacturing sector, including greater operating efficiencies enabled by automation," said Mike Train, executive president, Emerson Automation Solutions. "But the incremental benefits gained are diminishing. The pressure is on industry leaders to take the next step to the game-changing performance made possible by digitally empowering the workforce."
"By mastering these competencies, manufacturing organisations can fully leverage the digital technologies of today and those just around the corner," continued Train. "Emerson uses the organisational insights we gain through customer collaboration to focus our product and service portfolio development in areas that create bottom-line impact."
"There is an increasing number of reports suggesting that technology is displacing manufacturing jobs, yet they routinely miss the big picture," said Train. "History has taught us time and again that, while technology can unsettle the current or traditional nature of work, disruption consistently brings new opportunities and net employment growth, not loss."