Given a vast majority of professionals are working from home during this COVID-19 pandemic, new ways to collaborate are rapidly being adopted to address the needs. For manufacturers and producers, this pandemic-has spurred a rapid movement towards greater digitalization to foster greater collaboration both within and beyond the traditional organizational boundaries.
In a Process Industry Informer podcast, The acceleration of digital engagement in the process industries (iTunes), Emerson’s Patrick Deruytter shares his thoughts on:
…the acceleration of digital engagement and how it is changing the way we work.
After introducing himself and what Emerson does, Patrick highlights a quick example of how the Microsoft Teams user base has more than doubled from March to May of 2020. Another example is a 4x increase in the use of Zoom for online meeting collaboration.
He also cites a study of business-to-business (B2B) users that 86% prefer self-service over tradition ways in contacting the business. The common factor in all these examples is need for greater digitalization to address these needs. These needs have accelerated with so many now working remotely.
A key benefit in these digitalization efforts is greater speed through broader connections and collaboration. Traditional methods of problem solving between users and B2B suppliers lacks the speed that users have come to expect through their consumer interactions.
Another expectation is being “always on” to serve the needs of the users, no matter when they require assistance, even outside of normal business hours. Many manufacturers and producers who operate 24x7x365 expect their suppliers to have the same service level. Lead times have shrunk from weeks to days also to meet these expectations.
From an organizational perspective, Patrick notes the importance of lining up the many touchpoints between users and suppliers by functions and needs to efficiently serve each touchpoint. The foundation for these touchpoints is many commercially available tools which serve as the backbone, with specific industry and customer requirements layered on top.
Improvements begin by examining the workflows to accomplish specific tasks. For example, the maintenance planner needs to create safe and efficient workflows. With the workflow identified the preparation begins—prioritizing the task, identifying and procuring required parts, aligning skillsets, assigning tasks, and creating work packages for the technicians.
Traditionally the effort required to perform all those steps is significant. Through digitalization it is possible to have all this information already collected and available at the maintenance planner’s fingertips. But not only for the planner, but for others involved in the workflow and updating the information for their respective tasks.
Some of these updates have been digitalized through QR codes, Bluetooth communications, RFID tags, augmented reality, and other methods of information transfer.
Listen to the podcast for more of Patrick’s thoughts on:
- How process managers could apply digital tools for cost optimization and productivity
- Evolution of work practices through digitalization
- Changes in customer/supplier expectations and relationships
- How the industry as a whole will change due to this acceleration.
Visit the MyEmerson section on Emerson.com for ways that Emerson is helping its customers drive improved collaboration and workflow efficiency. MyEmerson, a personalized digital experience, improves collaboration and delivers visibility to critical information so you can work more efficiently.