How manufacturers can take control of digitally transforming their workforce

08 May, 2018

Digitization is more than a shift in technology – it’s a shift in mindset, encompassing end-to-end digitization and data integration of every aspect of the value chain. It is critical to virtually every company, particularly to manufacturers. Yet most business leaders are still coming to terms with the challenges and opportunities of this transformation, notably in their workforce.

Strong impact of digital on the workforce

Strategy&’s second global digital operations survey shows that the impact of digital on the workforce is top of mind for many executives. 62% of global survey respondents said digital transformation will have an increased impact on their company and workforce over the next five years. 58% thought that the number of skilled employees will increase – and with it the average salaries.

Employee tasks will become increasingly integrated into the digital workflow and assets – but are they ready for it? Based on our survey results, only 27% of the respondents feel their “employees have the required qualifications for the digital future.”

Steps toward building a digitally transformed workforce

Digital Champions – companies at the forefront of digital transformation adoption – are actively addressing the required change. In our PwC Workforce of the Future Report we explain a four-step process that helps companies to drive a successful digital transformation of their workforce:

  1. Assess: Develop digital benchmark for the current organization and talent
  2. Advance: Update the existing talent skillset
  3. Inject: New talent with digital readiness to be added into the workforce
  4. Accelerate: Enhance the skillset of the entire workforce periodically and at a faster pace

Safran, an aircraft engineering company, is just one example of a company that has taken concrete steps to “advance” the existing talent as well as build an ecosystem to “accelerate” the entire workforce periodically. Safran plans to partner with other industrial companies and invest in substantial upskilling. They plan to start a new training center and offer training courses in new production methods and emerging technologies (e.g., covering networked machines, IoT, additive manufacturing, AR, cobots and other advanced technologies).

Pitfalls of ignoring workforce digital transformation

While a majority of top executives believe that digital transformation will significantly impact their company and workforce, only one in four companies has invested heavily to make staff fit for a digital transformation. This inactivity is dangerous, as it can put their companies at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to acquiring talent and effectively operating in a digital world.