People at the heart of Industry 4.0 dynamics

People at the heart of Industry 4.0 dynamics

1. The growth of a new industry: 4.0

The IoT disrupts the interactions and roles between machines and people. As part of the development of the plant of the future, the redefinition of the role of people in the industry is the very translation of the concept of "intelligent connectivity". The smart factory is characterized by new technologies, a different conception of development and production, and a redesigned supply chain.

The preponderance of Big Data has given rise to a new way of organising production sites, characterised by interconnections between machines, but also between machines and stakeholders. This allows real-time collaboration with customers, partners, teams and other sites.

The extremely high appeal of this new approach to the human-machine relationship, known by the acronym HMI(Human-Machine Interaction), can be explained by the wide range of sectors affected by redesigned processes. The need for growth in productivity, quality, safety; or data reliability, equipment compliance, real-time and mobile interactions (...) is constant, growing, and omnipresent.

In the search for answers to these expectations, companies must keep security at the forefront of their minds. The demands presented by this high number of prerequisites in the search for growth and innovation can only be met by a solution that lives up to their expectations:
.An intelligent, interconnected, multi-faceted solution that puts people at the heart of their dynamics to maximise their expertise and cross it with machine intelligence.

Production methods are constantly evolving, HMIs involve the use of robots, wireless systems, M2M communication, software and sensors... to collect data and optimize its use.

One of the strengths of these intelligent plant dynamics is that modern systems no longer require human monitoring to achieve regular production flows.

a. What tools are needed to push these 4.0 dynamics into place?

In an area as complex as industry 4.0, interactions cannot be limited to displaying documents on screens. Thus, various solutions enrich their media applications such as tutorial videos, photo taking, interactive forms, access to documents on the move, etc. The interactivity of the various processes is fundamental to ensure optimal results.

Finally, the industry of the future can be portrayed as a revolution that equips the field operator - the human being - with ultra-modern and interactive digital tools to achieve optimal productivity at all levels of his operations.

2. A new dynamic in HMIs

At the heart of industry 4.0 components is the considerable volume of data that is accessible on the move (and usable) and allows decisions to be made accordingly.

The preponderance of HMIs in the transmission and analysis of data is obvious: good interactions allow data reliability and simplicity of analysis.

The success of the industry of the future depends a priori on the transformation and the acceptance of this transformation by the stakeholders. Thus, effective change management is necessary to enable global buy-in to these changes. The human being, if he/she is at the heart of the 4.0 dynamics, depends on his/her integration into this shift. And this integration is generally bilateral: it results from a desire on his part to take this digital turn, and from the ability of the company concerned to teach him the added value to be expected from his daily work - as well as his ability to prepare for it.

The operator will thus come to think, not of what he produces, but of what purpose and in what way he produces, works, or works. Focus groups bringing together different positions within the company may also be relevant.

As Emmanuel Macron announced in May 2015, "Professions are changing and we will not be able to create an industry of the future without a new continuous training policy": the place of man in industry is central, and the necessary procedures must be put in place to integrate it. With a view to the development of the plant of the future, E. Macron outlined three areas of work: the technical level of training, the development of new organizational models, and finally, the sharing of information. Three key components of an efficient plant of the future, which offers man a predominant place, without slowing down a technology driven by constant innovation dynamics.

3. Man, soon obsolete in the development of plant 4.0?

While some projects attempt to define the evolutions of the major families of operational and managerial professions within the industry of the future in order to perpetuate this central place of man in 4.0, others question the dynamics according to which man is at the heart of the processes, to the point of defining the robot as "man's future". Indeed, these ultra-connected factories, which base their existence on new technologies, are redesigning production models without necessarily having defined the final place of man. Automation, robotics and digitization are all fascinating advances that can jeopardize the vital role of man at the heart of the industry's development if models and professions are not adapted accordingly.

4. Man, the source of the greatest advances

Others, however, understand the opportunity to reinvent their daily lives, to capitalize on their expertise, to improve their quality of work with ever-increasing safety.

Especially since, if the existence of certain processes is independent of human expertise,

  • First of all, their growth is not,
  • Second, the added value of a combined human-machine intelligence is far greater than that of a single intelligence,
  • Thirdly, digital technology is a job creator before being a replacement for human labour (11,000 jobs are created each year thanks to digital technology, and according to an OECD study, 25% of the jobs of 2030 do not exist today).

So, do not be afraid! if the clear definition of the place of the human being in the industry of the future is a prerequisite for its sustainable development, and if certain dynamics can exclude the central place of the human being, the capitalization on the combined intelligence of men and machines and the creation of jobs generated by this emergence of digital technology prevail over the risks of loss of human space.

Between 2010 and 2016, according to the International Federation of Robotics, the American automotive industry acquired 52,000 robots and created 260,000 jobs. At Amazon, the installation of 45,000 robotic systems means the creation of 100,000 jobs.

5. Illustrations of the preponderance of man in the dynamics 4.0

Man not only confers, but also adds value to the data obtained through the development of new technologies - data obtained both quickly, and with refined quality.

For example, the calculation of temperature sensors will be obsolete without a man to make decisions accordingly, optimize processes, or prevent possible anomalies.

Human characteristics, such as field experience, discernment and reason, are all elements that make human interaction essential and central to the development of technologies.

6. Human skills and prerequisites for growth 4.0

In addition to the attraction of human experience and intelligence, it is necessary to capitalize on certain key characteristics and skills. For example, the ability to make decisions quickly, adapt procedures to data analysis, be open to change, be open to collaboration and simultaneous... all in order to:

  • Reducing costs
  • Optimize machine uptime
  • Relying on the expertise of operators
  • Increasing productivity

Two additional attractions for the digitalisation of procedures are the transfer of skills and the transversality of management, which has a level of collaboration that has never been seen before. The operator is valued and takes part in the progress of the processes from the front line, by carrying out his work and reporting in real time.

Some key industry players also offer a promising vision of the industry 4.0:

According to Mireille Hahnschutz, "these exchanges feed the experience of companies on new organizational models based on employee empowerment and the release of potential. The objective is to spread best practices and encourage leaders to integrate these learning communities. »

The global market for new technologies is expected to reach $320 billion by 2020, according to KPMG.

7. The importance of data

New technologies are helping to move from Excel-type databases to the collection and management of huge amounts of data, which leads to the creation of new services and solutions to best meet the needs of emerging new dynamics. It is essential to make the data usable by putting in place the right processes and relevant interactions.
It is this stage that introduces the role of man in this process.
Indeed, growth that meets the expectations of the industry of the future will depend on the proper use of data.
Each stage of production requires an analysis of the procedures in place in order to introduce the most appropriate progress. Thus, the productivity of the factory will depend on a homogenisation of the efficiency of all the structures linked to the data, the production chain, the equipment, the prevention of anomalies, etc.

8. Employee involvement in driving change in the industry of the future

The involvement of the human being, at all levels of responsibility in the company, is essential. Indeed, employee participation in process changes is essential to implement changes adapted to industry upheavals. The top hierarchy, the decision-makers, no longer occupy the central place. They must succeed in involving employees and various managers who sometimes fear job losses, and reassure them about the human potential multiplied tenfold by technological progress.

An optimization of the digital shift will therefore also require the time allocated by management to provide the means to innovate, adapt and understand all the dynamics in action.

In the case of recruitment, of course, it will be fundamental to recruit people who are open to change, if not already digitally literate. In addition to their appetite for digital or openness to change, it will be imperative that they are versatile and proactive.

However, any profile already present in the company can be integrated into these changes, subject to a clear explanation of the challenges and the place of each person by the company, appropriate training and an open mind of the employee.

Being eager to learn, and understanding the challenges, are sufficient elements for the conversion of your teams to digital transformation.

Camille de WAELE Content & Communication Manager Camille de Waele - Content Manager