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What's Next: The Digital Era of Factory Workers

 

The Future of Factory Workers

Manufacturing is evolving at a rapid pace. Gone are the days of heavy manual labor, batch production, centralized production facilities, limited connectivity, and information sharing. Instead, factory workers are having to adapt to new processes and technologies. These changes have dramatically shifted the landscape within the industry, bringing about increased production by implementing data-first technologies to optimize supply chain operations.

Evolving Processes in Manufacturing

The manufacturing world has needed to advance quickly over the past several years. Due to the pandemic and rising demand for consumer goods, companies are consistently looking for better ways to adapt to supply chain disruptions, quicker turnarounds, and challenges with keeping and finding labor to run production lines.

Digital Era of Factory Workers | Hitachi's Fusion For Industry

Companies needed to find solutions to these challenges, and many of them did so with the integration of robotics and digital integrations into the procedures to assist factory workers in completing their tasks efficiently. These technological advancements within factories have ushered in a new wave of manufacturing and an improved way of life for the manufacturing workforce.

Age of Automation and Digital Integrations

The introduction of robotics and digital automation into the workforce has aided in providing a Total Seamless Solution within the industrial sector. This concept, epitomized by Hitachi’s Fusion for Industry family of companies, aims to integrate digital technologies, robotic technologies, and advanced manufacturing equipment into one holistic solution, ultimately aiming to create a better society for the future.

Digital Engineers | Hitachi's Fusion For Industry
Two engineers follow assembly process uses SCADA system. Group of operators control process on product line uses industry 4.0 and digital technology on modern factory

Benefits of Bots and Technology

The benefits of advanced technologies are innately evident when examining their role in the workforce.

  • Automation and Technology to Enhance Work: Robotic automation and digital integrations enhance workflows and transform how laborers do their jobs. Adding new technologies that make the work environment safer and repetitive tasks easier to manage and complete will assist with employee satisfaction and becoming more productive and efficient.
  • Retaining Valuable Factory Workers: Many companies value their best employees, but sometimes keeping them is just as challenging as finding new talent. Investment to continuously improve processes with the latest innovations, equipment, and services can assist with keeping your most valuable laborers. As you add newer technologies and train employees, workers can add skills that can enhance their happiness and self-worth.
  • Attracting the Next Generation of Workers: It is essential for companies to recognize and consider investments in new technologies to modernize their factories.  Embracing these advancements can bring about significant benefits. New talent entering the workforce are tech-minded individuals and will search for work that complements their skillset.

A Deloitte study found that “The manufacturing skills gap – which is now anticipated to leave 2.1 million jobs unfilled by 2030-could cost the U.S. economy as much as $1 trillion.” Keeping workers on U.S. soil results in higher productivity and an overall lower cost of goods and keeps America competitive within manufacturing.

Automation and Technology in Manufacturing | Hitachi's Fusion For Industry

Unfortunately, there has been a stigma that working in manufacturing results in low pay, long hours, minimal benefits, and slow growth. However, integrating new equipment and digital integrations to connect processes from end to end ultimately shifts the paradigm. Workers are now excited about the opportunity to work alongside technologies they only once read about, and companies are generating high revenues while keeping costs low. In fact, 63% of manufacturing workers are excited about what kinds of jobs technology will create.

Automation Technology in Manufacturing | Hitachi's Fusion For Industry

Inspiring What’s Next in the Workforce

These new technologies, such as robotic automation, industry-connecting software, and various AI tools, empower the workforce. Companies are investing in advanced training, skills development, and technology-enabled tools for their workers. Starting with training by giving workers the opportunity to work alongside robotic equipment, allowing them to solve problems immediately should there be operational errors in analyzing the sophisticated machines’ data.

The emergence of automation in work environments has led to a noteworthy shift in the skill set required for human workers. With technology taking over numerous manual or repetitive job functions, there is now room for cultivating distinctly human abilities, commonly called “soft” skills. According to a recent study by the World Economic Forum, the crucial skills for the upcoming decade encompass vital human qualities like critical thinking, creativity, and people management. In this evolving landscape, companies seek employees who can demonstrate these essential skills and possess the digital proficiency needed to collaborate effectively with automation.

This integration of robotics onto the factory floor working alongside humans is a powerful combination that Hitachi tapped into long ago. Hitachi’s Fusion for Industry companies have connective capabilities that can enhance factory output and the work-life of factory workers. Contact us today to learn how connecting the shop floor and the top floor with connective technologies and solutions will help you achieve a more productive future.

 

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