Cisco Manufacturing Leaders

Driving digital transformation through your front lines

September 20, 2019 Cisco Manufacturing Leaders Season 1 Episode 3
Cisco Manufacturing Leaders
Driving digital transformation through your front lines
Chapters
Cisco Manufacturing Leaders
Driving digital transformation through your front lines
Sep 20, 2019 Season 1 Episode 3
Cisco Manufacturing Leaders

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Digital transformation requires us to disrupt ourselves and to change our approach. 
This new generation of advanced robotics allows us to overcome the physiological and psychological limitations of human beings. Technology has enabled us to build bigger, better products and meet today's expanding needs. For this reason, manufacturers traditionally first consider how they can change the products they are producing before considering the implications of their people. But the human asset goes far beyond labor. In this episode, you'll learn how to successfully tap into your people strategy while simultaneously adopting new technologies to disrupt the market and become a leader in the industry. 

Guests: 
Cecile Willems, Director of Global Industry Marketing
Wes Sylvester, Director of Global Manufacturing and Energy Industry Solutions

Show Notes Transcript

Visit our website >
Read this episode's blog >
Digital transformation requires us to disrupt ourselves and to change our approach. 
This new generation of advanced robotics allows us to overcome the physiological and psychological limitations of human beings. Technology has enabled us to build bigger, better products and meet today's expanding needs. For this reason, manufacturers traditionally first consider how they can change the products they are producing before considering the implications of their people. But the human asset goes far beyond labor. In this episode, you'll learn how to successfully tap into your people strategy while simultaneously adopting new technologies to disrupt the market and become a leader in the industry. 

Guests: 
Cecile Willems, Director of Global Industry Marketing
Wes Sylvester, Director of Global Manufacturing and Energy Industry Solutions

Speaker 1:

Hey everyone. Thank you for tuning in today to manufacturing leaders. This podcast is presented by Cisco and I'm your host, Caroline Hila . I've created the show to help those involved in the manufacturing industry make better decisions for their business. My goal is to bring you the best industry knowledge and expertise that's available to help you understand the latest trends, best practices, and more. Most importantly, I want to help you solve your unique problems and find new ways to gain a competitive edge. Welcome to manufacturing leaders.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible] .

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone. Welcome to manufacturing leaders. On today's episode, we're going to be talking about driving digital transformation through your front lines. We're going to understand what that really means when it comes to your workforce culture and also take a look at how we can use technology to actually engage our employees all the way down to the factory floor. If you'd like to ask a question or submit a topic idea for next episode, visit us online at cisco.com/go/manufacturing and submit a comment in our blog for this episode. Be sure to check out this episodes blog to read additional resources on this topic in download all research and reports mentioned on today's show. So what does it really mean to drive digital transformation through your front lines? It means that you're capitalizing on your most valuable asset, your people. So guys, as we dive into this topic today and courage you to ask yourself these two questions first, what in your organization is changing the most in order to keep up with the digital transformation of your industry? Is it your technology, your processes, maybe your infrastructure? And second, where does your people strategy fit into this transformation? So if we look at the current state of employee engagement in manufacturing today, we can definitely see that there's some room for improvement. As I dug through the research to really understand where we are today, I found some fascinating numbers. In fact, in a recent Kronos report, manufacturing workers lose an average of three hours per week due to admin work and manual processes that could be automated if they had the technology tools in place. Another statistic that I want to point out is that over half of the workers in this survey, 54% cited a lack of motivation and feeling valued as a daily challenge. And on top of that, 72% say that better, more up to date technology systems would make them feel more engaged in the business. So guys, as we dive deeper into this episode and bring on our industry experts here soon, what's incredibly important to keep in the back of your head is this one thing. And that is employees want to feel empowered in their roles and that their work makes an impact. Now this is not to say that technology is not in manufacturing, but in order to survive in this highly competitive industry, people need to understand that the human asset goes far beyond labor. What if you imagined every worker on your floor is filled with ideas, insights, perspectives, and has a creative genius that no machine and no software can duplicate? How do we redefine our strategies to tap into that, to harness that true potential? And if we don't, we risk gaining productivity at the cost of innovation. This is a miscalculation no business can afford to make. The good news is most manufacturers today have an incredible opportunity to really improve their business performance by focusing on this employee productivity. In fact, according to the same report, organizations with highly engaged manufacturing employees experience 22% greater productivity. Imagine the impact that has on the bottom line for the company. So how can manufacturers improve their employee engagement? Well, it really is broken down into these two different areas. With the first one being better, more up to date technology, and the second being better communication with leadership. Now I'd like to welcome our two guests the show Cecile Willems in West Sylvester . Cecile Williams has been with Cisco for over 19 years and currently serves as the director of global industry marketing. So seal leads the global marketing strategy focused on helping customers successfully navigate their digital transformation journey, solve for unique business outcomes and build a competitive edge within their respective industry. I'd also like to welcome our other Cisco guests west. Sylvester Weiss's is the global industry solutions director for manufacturing and energy west drives that go to market strategy for industrial customers in order to help them use innovative technology to improve profitability, accelerate growth, and successfully compete in this ever evolving digital landscape. So thank you again both for joining us today. And let's go ahead and get started. So Cecile, when we have new technologies bringing in new challenges to the workplace, what can leaders do to keep their employees motivated during these times of drastic change?

Speaker 3:

So first of all , um, I really appreciate the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on the topic of transformation and I'm kind of always thinking about transformation that's happening right now as kind of a multigenerational workforce innovation, digital innovation, not just transformation because I think transformation also , uh , makes people scared about, you know, what they are facing right now. And um, I think there's the three major topics that I would like to share with you. Um, first of all, communication is key and communicate early. Stay connected to the teams, share your thoughts. They share them on an individual level and share them with your sub leadership teams. Really the pulse of the organization. When you share strategies for innovation and transformation and get them involved, you know, tap into their potential and their ideas and you know, challenged them with some innovation awards, you know, bring them into the process and kind of really empower them to be part of this. So that's the communication part. The other thing is to really empower them with very clear goals. So what is needed when you bring in new technology, what is expected, what, how do you help them to get there? So, but set really clear goals for every one of the topics that are important for the change process and specifically when you introduce new technologies and you can use also a lot of tools. He had Cisco, I had heavily used video as a communication , uh, Opportunity with my team and my , my leadership peers. And uh, I found it very, very valuable to get that personal engagement through video and not just talk to them on the phone or in a conference call. So really using those new technologies that we intro introduced into the work space also as a communication tool. And then at the end of the day, there's an interesting statistic , uh , and you mentioned a few with the World Economic Forum actually estimates that 54% of today's workforce needs significant re Skilling by 2020 or 2022. I think it is. But what you can see already is that you can also bring them on a journey of evolving with their own skillset and there's new opportunities possible in the context of bringing in new technologies and bringing in new ways of um, you know, organizing and operating the future environment. So really kind of taking that reskilling effort not as a burden, but as something that is an opportunity for every one of the , the, the people in your organization.

Speaker 4:

And I think that's a really good point. So CLT you pointed out the multigenerational situation that we have going on in something in manufacturing that's misunderstood is sometimes when we look at this situation of the new workforce coming in and the current workforce retiring out, we only think of two generations where it's really a combination of five different generations right now. And it's really critical to have that communication in place like you had said. So if we move on to then understand the need for that technology and how we actually implement it, how can leaders successfully implement this new technology for their workforce without suppressing innovation? Is there a balance that you find you have to successfully achieve in order to balance the two?

Speaker 3:

Um , it is a lot about leading by example. So how do you show up in front of your team? How do you utilize the new technology pieces? How do you actually also build the bridge between what you use with your communication and your collaboration within your team and what they have to face at their workplace. So those might be actually similar types of technology, but they're utilized in different ways. One to get the job done and the other one to communicate and share goals and share ideas and share thoughts and you know, work together. So I think a lot about is leading by example and then really kind of make this part of their daily routine no matter what and to, to think innovation throughout the process.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, that's great. I'm really excited to hear that. Let's see. I'm going to circle back to a couple of the things you pointed out, but I want to also move in to Wess technology perspective too. So Wes , you know, when we're talking about this effective communication in relationship with those workers, it can really only occur when you have the right tools in place is what we are learning here. So how do you see the factory network playing a role in a manufacturer's ability to build this collaborative culture?

Speaker 5:

Well , I think that if you look at the way we use devices in our everyday life, that's the way that workers would in the end, like to use devices. And so there are five generations in the workforce. Yeah . Almost all of those generations use a tablet. Almost all of those generations. You as a phone of some sort, they can interact with technology. And so I think we, number one, we have to give people a little more credit maybe sometimes. Then I think we generally do as a society, as far as technology adoption goes, the only way that technology works and a lot of these harsh environments is if there is a reliable network in place. And that also goes to the adoption. If it doesn't work and if it's not reliable, people will be much less likely to adopt it. So give someone a tablet, send them out into a factory and have a lack of connectivity and a lack of network consistency. Yeah . And they will leave that tablet behind the next time. So really having that network is a essentially a baseline for you. Being able to go out and build collaboration out in environments where they normally aren't. And so if you're going out onto a manufacturing stop, Laura going out into an oil and gas field or going out in the utility space or transportation, really anywhere in our society, a retail store where there are high bays and racks and interference, you've got to have that network for it to be able to, to enable what the technology is, is capable of doing. But then if you think about some of those environments, it's not always a phone or a tablet. And so thinking about the way the person uses and interacts with their workday is important. So for a sales associate, a retail environment, yeah . [inaudible] different and they have maybe the use of both hands and they may want to do localized checkout. Whereas in a Ford shop, in a high heat environment where someone's wearing gloves and using giant tongs to move super hip , hot and heavy pieces of material, a , a , a, a small phone or a tablet probably isn't going to do the trick. And so yeah , enabling the technology or the job is really where we have to spend a lot of our time thinking about okay . In the technology space.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, I think that's a really good point. And kind of where I see two US bridging both of those sides of this solution where we bring in the people as well as we bring in the technology is like Cecile had said, implementing the technology but then also being open to their feedback on how to best use it and how to best implement it in their specific environment. Yeah. So when a problem does occur on the factory floor west , how can a reliable communication platform directly impact a manufacturer's bottom line? So where does that communication platform and that network overall play a role in this?

Speaker 5:

Most of it's reduction of downtime. It's not overly complicated. And um , again, I think sometimes we think about digital transformation and people get nervous and their palm sweat because it seems really complicated and really difficult and the ROI and how do I do all of these things. And it can be as basic as, can I get the machine back online quicker? And if I have someone, say a plant engineer who is walking a multi Acre plant [inaudible] either way, there are hundreds of multi acre plants around the world. So this is not a [inaudible] one-off example for a large manufacturer. This happens all the time. They're walking a plant, there is a machine that goes down, they can approach that machine. Can they accurately and quickly connect to and troubleshoot that machine? And if they need to get access to an expert on that machine, can they use their phone or their tablet or their [inaudible] virtual headset to get access to someone who works for the vendor of that machine, right via video and show them which lights are blinking on the machine and what the error codes might be to give them education about how to get things up quicker. So it's not only, hey, the engineer doesn't have to go back to the office and get drawings and then come back out, which may take 30 minutes, an hour in some cases, depending on the size of the plant. But it's also [inaudible] how do you get that information and use it on site with an expert if necessary. So yeah , hitting a resource. Okay . A big piece of that goes to what we talked about earlier with accessing all of those generations of knowledge. If you're a new knowledge worker, an engineer out of school who was working in a , Oh, a large factory on the plant. Yeah . And you go out and experience an issue with something, is it easy and accessible for you to get on a video call with someone who maybe has been working on that machine for 25 or 30 years and is now okay confined to an office or has semiretired, but you can still use their knowledge to teach the new knowledge workers. So it's huge , uh , about the main focus is always to get the plant up and running and keep it up and running. But there's a lot of ways that, that it gets impacted, whether it's the technology itself or whether it's the people they're associated with the technology.

Speaker 3:

I love that last thought worst because you're really explaining that multigenerational opportunity within all of this digital transformation and innovation in the workplace and to really integrate and involve all of the knowledge, all of the connected collective , um, knowledge and expertise in a connected way. So really kind of building the bridge between the technology and using the technology as a bridge to really access all of that.

Speaker 5:

Yup . And it's our responsibility I think as technology providers to simplify that process. Not only simplify the process of putting in the infrastructure to be able to do this, but also for the users. And so we worry about our knowledge workers not wanting to interact with certain types of technology. Everyone will interact with something. It is a one oh one push button. Everyone will interact with something. It is easy and clean. Yeah . Okay . Simple to use. And so I think we eliminate the generational usage of technology issue, right . By simplification and ease of use.

Speaker 4:

That's a very good point with ease of use. And also I think about as well, like Cecile pointed out earlier and as you did as well Wes is when we are bringing this technology into the workplace with multi-generations, the role that it plays in terms of a leadership perspective is very different for the user. So I see right now with over half of their workforce retiring in the next 10 years and over half of those jobs are expected to go unfilled because people don't want to work in these environments. They don't see it as a tech savvy career right now. I see it as to this younger generation coming in is it's , it's a mentoring opportunity for them to have a learning experience using that technology as a platform just as well as it is for those who have been in that environment for 30 plus years. They know those machines like the back of their hand. It's really an empowering opportunity for them to to share that knowledge with them. And like you had mentioned Cecile, I think video plays a major role in this.

Speaker 5:

Well, and I think teaching the manufacturers of the world that technology doesn't always mean a barrier to the existing workforce and generation. It can be an enabler. Mo , again, most of those workers go home and use an iPhone or a smart TV and yeah , an apple TV and Netflix and Hulu. Yeah . They interact with technology on a regular basis and so they come to work and sometimes they're frustrated because of the lack of technology again . So yeah , when we think about retaining the existing work worse than the workforce that's approaching retirement, I don't think it's always about make it so that there's no technology that they have to learn. A lot of times they want the technology there . They're frustrated that might retire early because they have all the technology at their fingertips in a quote unquote, the real world. And then they come to work and it's paper. And so enabling them to use this technology, right . They'll, they'll stay. We'll stick around longer.

Speaker 3:

Yeah . I think it comes a little bit back also to what I said, there's an opportunity for these generations to reverse mentor even into what Wes was saying. It's an opportunity to attract talent, retain talent, and then also kind of just really that, that hand in hand between those different levels of knowledge from an expertise perspective on the topic of the manufacturer in this case and the digital usage or the digital savviness of the , the actual user. And you know, I think it's a , it's cool because it is something that , uh, you know, employers can really bring in as a standardized way of evolving and educating , uh, in a consistent way together with their HR teams, you know, and really making this an evolution of the often the, the knowledge process, if you will. Overall, it's like a, it's like a personal development plan for everyone and a little different way. Exactly. And they don't necessarily have those in place right now. It's extremely important for the organizations look at it like that. So Wes, why is it so important for manufacturers to look at their technology they have in place and the technology that they could invest in, in this particular problem when it comes to engaging their workforce?

Speaker 5:

Again, I'll say it's very simple. It comes down to a global competitive issue . Yeah . If you don't look at this technology, you won't be globally competitive, and we've talked a lot about the communications platform necessary for people, but that same communications platform is necessary for the devices and machines that are on the factory floor. You can reduce costs, bye. Better improving your asset management and maintenance. You can increased revenue by increasing your output and helping your people be more efficient on repairs, and you can keep people a lot safer because they are out of harm's way. If technology is used correctly in some cases, or at least we've reduced the amount of time that they spend in harm's way and we're safely monitoring them in case there are, ah , unseeable, unsellable, unhireable dangers that may come their way. And so using technology to keep people safer, increased revenues and reduced costs, that's the key for manufacturing.

Speaker 3:

Great answer. Yeah. I really like how you pointed out that competitive viewpoint too. It's not just

Speaker 4:

something about making you thrive as a business internally where you feel like you're achieving the goals that you've set for the business, but also against your competitors and making sure that you have set up that differentiator in that competitive advantage amongst, you know, what your partners and competitors are bringing to the market. So see you don't do it [inaudible] yeah, exactly. Or they're already halfway through working on it. That's right. So it's a seal. Kind of the same question for you, but now in terms of what you've brought up so far on the podcast, when we look at this problem and when we look at the goals that manufacturers set there for themselves and engaging their workforce, why is this so critical for them to consider right now?

Speaker 3:

So I want to build on this idea of the competitive advantage. And as you guys know, the most important asset for every employer is the people. So if we involve the people in an early stage, if we empower them to be part of the innovation process, if we lead by example in how we use technology and bring it in to the value off their motivation, but also off the operational side of the business, then we all win and then kind of really build this and set this in stone with clear mechanisms, either innovation awards, as I mentioned earlier, or building this into HR development processes and stuff like that to really kind of set a mark and motivate everybody that's in the organization to be part of this. [inaudible]

Speaker 4:

thank you for listening to today's episode on manufacturing leaders. Be sure to check us out online at cisco.com/go/manufacturing.