The post Where Do Humans Fit in the Factory of the Future? first appeared on the ISA Interchange blog site.
Much has been written and forecasted about the various impacts of technologies on humans: work, pleasure, productivity, and behaviors. The exponential growth of technical tools and their explosive applications to our lives have been nothing short of astounding. These have created an equally dramatic increase in new jobs with required skills. Organizations seek to fill the new positions with internal staffing and training, along with outsourcing, to maintain a strategic edge.
As we prepare for our futures, we ask, “How do humans fit into the equation of coexistence with ‘robots’?” (That question was reversed in past decades!) As technology grows in sophistication and complexity, it is vital to define new and improved skills, knowledge, and experiences (SKEs). Given unparalleled career doors opening, how do we view workforce development?
Before we discuss that, let’s touch on people supply. Most of us know about demographic “peaks and valleys” and the “less than two” replacement rates in Western countries. Shortages make it difficult to fill current positions, much less future, more demanding ones. This is crucial for mission-critical operations (MCOs) based on computers, automation, and networks. There simply are not enough people with the best SKEs to go around. These shortfalls cause problems with facilities, acquisition, retention, training/education expenses, and coaching/mentoring efforts.
Organizations should act upon the following:
With those essential steps tackled, there are strong opinions about what courses will prepare people to work in the new age, especially in MCOs. Most begin with a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the A.A. or B.S. level. The nontraditional workforce suggests rethinking that and considering individual backgrounds. True training includes evaluation, usage, cultivation, and feedback for continuous improvement. New skills are added as the job moves forward; maybe anti-hacking training will become mandatory in the future.
An initial STEM hire will have some degree of depth. But here are my SKEs that need to be cultivated, if not initially present, for a sound future team member. Some are not surprises, while others may be:
Although each of these can be defined, notice they may have little to do with chemistry, local-area networks, automation controls, or network design. That is because those technical skills may be only initial job requirements. It is the growth in them and those above that make the difference. Your organization will prosper with people “loaded” with my suggested SKEs.
“The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man is there to feed the dog. The dog is there to keep the man from touching the equipment,” said organizational consultant Warren Bennis. I used to be amused by this; now I am not so sure. We cannot abdicate the development of a competent and forward-performing workforce to a dog.
Click here to read Doug Aldrich’s article at InTech magazine.
Source: ISA News