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Don’t Forget the People Element of Industry 4.0

For close to a decade, industry trendsetters have been talking about the possible impacts of Industry 4.0. In many ways, the fourth industrial revolution is a continuation of the third industrial revolution, also known as a digital revolution. Elements of the digital revolution created incredible impacts across multiple industries that continue to be felt today.

For example, computer technology that once filled rooms now has more computing power and comfortably fits inside a pocket. Likewise, the use of the internet can not only make the world feel less vast, but it can also bring services and products straight to you with mere clicks.

Technology that is familiar is giving way to applications that are much bigger and more sophisticated. As computers, personal electronics and the internet have become more commonplace, it’s easy to understand the ease and acceptance of more sophisticated technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, virtual reality, augmented reality and advanced engineering.

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One constant that has remained throughout the various industrial revolutions is the presence of people. As more elements of the fourth industrial revolution become known, it’s only natural that the people part of the equation will also need to evolve and change. One recent example of this is AI and its increasing applications. But as AI grows in reach, it’s easy to wonder where people will fit in this equation, especially as the sophistication of technology grows.

Organizations such as McKinsey & Co., suggest that for companies to thrive in this new revolution, they must ensure workers have the right training. The foundation of this training means placing more importance on upskilling and reskilling and the hiring of people with the right skills. Upskilling is the process of learning new skills to evolve. Reskilling through training allows people to fill new roles that involve the use of more technology.

Considering the extensive disruptions these innovative technologies will create, reskilling and upskilling will likely be vital for industries to weather the revolution ahead. But McKinsey & Co found not all executives agree on the balance between reskilling current staff and hiring new employees. This scenario will also differ based on how technologically advanced a company is currently.

McKinsey & Co. recommended looking at end-to-end transformation in three phases. The first phase involves analyzing the skills required to meet a company’s ambitions. The second phase is to name where there are talent gaps and to create programming to address these gaps in-house. The third phase is to train workers at scale through the development and implementation of content and delivery mechanisms.

As the elements of Industry 4.0 loom in the immediate future, it’s easy to see the many ways the industry remains ripe for reinvention. And this work starts with the people who make up the industry.

All of us at the Cleveland Machine Deburring Company are committed to being on the cutting edge in the industry, using the most innovative technology and designs to serve our customers deburring needs.

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