Gartner Finds Long-Term Strategy Necessary to Develop the Connected
Gartner Survey Shows 57% of Manufacturing Leaders Feel Their
Organization Lacks Skilled Workers to Support Smart Manufacturing
around the world are under pressure to bring their factory workforce
into the 21st century, yet 57% of manufacturing leaders say that their
organization lacks skilled workers to support digitization plans,
according to a survey by Gartner, Inc.
The 2020 Gartner Smart Manufacturing Strategy and Implementation Trends
Survey was conducted online between October and December 2020. In total,
439 respondents were interviewed across North America, Western Europe,
“Our survey revealed that manufacturers are currently going through a
difficult phase in their digitization journey toward smart
Simon Jacobson, vice president analyst, with the
Gartner Supply Chain practice. “They accept that changing
from a break-fix mentality and culture to a data-driven workforce is a
must. However, intuition, efficiency and engagement cannot be
sacrificed. New workers might be tech-savvy but lack access to best
practices and know-how — and tenured workers might have the knowledge,
but not the digital skills. A truly connected factory worker in a smart
manufacturing environment needs both.”
Connected factory workers leverage various digital tools and data
management techniques to improve and integrate their interactions with
both physical and virtual surroundings while improving decision
accuracy, proliferating knowledge and lessening variability.
Change Management is the Biggest Challenge
Organizational complexity, integration and process reengineering are the
most prevalent challenges for executing smart manufacturing initiatives.
Combined, these challenges reflect the largest change management
“It’s interesting to see that leadership commitment is frequently cited
as not being a challenge, Mr. Jacobson said. “Across all respondents,
83% agree that their leadership understands and accepts the need to
invest in smart manufacturing. However, it does not reflect whether or
not the majority of leaders understand the magnitude of change in front
of them – regarding technology, as well as talent.”
Bob Bova the President, CEO of AccuSpeechMobile
added, "Companies want to integrate seasoned workers with new
automated technologies, like device-based voice process automation. They
are also expected to have digital tech for the new, savvy workers.
Combining these two strategies to evolve into a digital transformation
is a huge challenge. Investments are being made, proof of concepts are
being tested, and results will be deployed. Upper management has bought
in, but, many times, fail to understand the mammoth challenge their
operations professionals are facing. The time for waiting is over."
Manufacturing Needs Technology and People
Companies are recognizing the value and opportunity for smart
manufacturing. However, just introducing new technologies is not enough.
The factory workers must evolve alongside the technology and be on board
for the changes to come.
most immediate action is for organizations to realize that this is more
than digitization. It requires synchronizing activities for capability
building, capability enablement and empowering people," Mr. Jacobson
said. “Taking a ‘how to improve a day in the life’ approach will
increase engagement, continuous learning and ultimately foster a
pull-based approach that will attract tenured workers. They are the best
points of contact to identify the best starting points for automation
and the required data and digital tools for better decision-making.”
In the long term, it is important to establish a data-driven culture in
manufacturing operations that is rooted in governance and training -
without stifling employee creativity and ingenuity.
“It’s great when workers use digital tools to build their own
experiences, and in turn improve productivity. It’s the manufacturing
leaders’ job to make sure to minimize the risk of shadow IT and ensure
that digital knowledge is shared among factory workers,” Mr. Jacobson