Anyone who believes that the factory of the future will consist primarily of robots and automated processes is wrong. The linchpin of production is a man – and this will remain so in the future. Machines, robots, intelligent IT infrastructures cannot and will not replace humans, but rather complement them. The key to success: the concept of Connected Worker!
Employees and machines in the perfect flow
Factories become smart, algorithms intelligent and robots become cobots. The trend is clear: machines are getting better and better. And what about humans? They remain in their nature per se, just as they are. So does that mean that machines will eventually overtake and replace humans in the way they work?
Maybe in sci-fi movies. But not in the reality of production. Because technological progress enables people to work better and allows a clear focus on what humans will always be able to do better than a machine: creativity, situational adaptation and decision-making.
Working together in times of Corona
Reducing contacts between colleagues was and is one of Corona’s most drastic changes in the daily work routine. Probably for those who relied on digital workflows even before the pandemic broke out.
But in many places, the reality of work in production cannot simply be shifted to remote working. Production must take place in the factories – and without people, nothing works.
One of the processes that poses particular challenges is shift planning. A logical measure to minimize contacts: A clear division into clearly separated shifts without any overlap. Sounds simple – can also be easily planned. But the devil is in the details: If no person from one shift is present in the next, can a continuous flow of information be ensured? Because ad hoc events are part of everyday production. So what happens if information about one event does not reach the next shift or is incomplete? Employees do not know what their colleagues have already implemented or initiated? Problems and faltering processes are inevitable.
Old workflows in a new guise
Does this mean that all previous processes can no longer be maintained? No, but they need a new coat of paint. It’s not just a matter of ensuring a smooth production process in times of Corona, but of making production fit for the future.
Checklists and shift books were, are and will always be an elementary part of production workflows. But instead of illegible handwriting, unfinished forms and umpteen different versions, success – and this is no surprise – lies in digital tools. Documentation of all information without media discontinuity in combination with digital task management make handovers a sure thing. For the next audit, the shift change and the health of the employees.