Where does Industry 4.0 leave us?
by Gebhard Borck
On April 27th Copargo hosts the Community Day 2017 in Frankfurt. This year’s main topic is “project management regarding the ongoing digital transformation”. As an expert in transformation processes, I’m invited to offer a session. Together with the participants we will look into the worries, concerning the question if there still will be a need for humans in business?
For your relieve – yes there will!
What does digital transformation ask of us?
The central objective of digital transformation is, to automate whatever can be done better by machines. Regarding the technological development of the last decades, this includes much more than just assembly. There already does not exist nearly no administrative process without digital assistance. In worldwide logistics the goods are more and more steering themselves through warehouses, trucks, trains, planes, countries, oceans etc. Cars drive autonomous. Smartphones tell us when we have to get going, regarding actual traffic information to get in time to our next appointment. Students worldwide sign up into purely virtual universities. No politician or political party wins elections without social media. Soon enough we run out of the need for cashiers, employees who record orders or mainly fill in whatever forms, secretaries, assistants, interface managers and the like.
With this development increases the need for truly human capacities. Technology does not understand how to interpret culture, interact socially correct, it is still widely incapable regarding improvisation, it provides no intuition, empathy or emotion. Having in mind, that the consumer of all this productivity will still be humans, puts the application of human intelligence – including all these aspects – in the pole position of economic interest.
What is true human cleverness?
Once a client told me: “I want all employees to connect with the company like if it were theirs.” Followed by a five minute explanation speech. His wrap up at the end was: “If everyone just would fulfill his function properly, everything would be fine.” The difference between his starting statement and conclusion describes precisely the actual challenge of our firms.
People who are just functioning will hardly act bright. Employees who think about what and why they perform, will not just operate repetitively without failure. Men who bring in themselves entirely are the fundament of further growth and prosperity. Therefore, they have to be treated different. Business is in the need to include everybody into the processes of shaping and structuring work environment.
Build bridges between the past and the future!
Several years of accompanying fundamental organizational transformations showed two core skills, every firm needs, to achieve true change: understanding and reflection.
Acknowledging that, every enterprise adds its unique mix of culture and characteristics. Bear this combination in mind, we named the framework to shape the organization together with all employees Company DNA. It is a generic approach that allows its users to describe the old and the new world in the same system. That makes it easy to develop communication patterns simultaneously while you redesign structures, processes, technologies, departments etc.
Most important is, the framework always keeps an eye on the personal changes of the individuals. It maintains a strong focus on the evolution of the parameters which influence the link-up between person(s) and organization (Linking Mode). Therefore, the framework always connects the two strands company and human. Just like in a biological DNA.
Every strand combines similar features to create a comprehensive image. In everyday life the people meet with their characteristics to decide, communicate, maintain relationships and habits (individual processes) the vis-a-vis feature of their firm. E.g. if my body clock prefers to work from 10 AM until 9 PM it links-up just fine with a company that generally works from 9 AM to 8 PM (Process Layer). But there will be inconveniences if core working hours are from 7 AM to 4 PM.
The Company DNA lets us sort out where the symptoms occur and which element we need to change to solve problems in their origin. If all employees refer to the same set of elements, even in change everyone still speaks a common tongue. Like this collective understanding is kept on high level. Even if one talks about the needs of industry 4.0 and the conversation partner still hangs in the beginning of assembly line production.
The Company DNA: http://gebhardborck.de/files/gb_firmen-dna_firma.png
Intelligence comes with freedom in combination with individual responsibility
A framework like the Company DNA allows you to set your personnel free. Using it, you can responsibly shape the firm. Thus authorized employees form the fundament of an enterprise which gains prosperity using the possibilities of the upcoming industry 4.0.
Organizations that keep their staff fixed to formal hierarchies and boards that do not share the outcomes of intelligence with their workforce will suffer at least economic harm.
Find out more on how to use the framework in your environment via the links below or meet me at the Copargo Community Day 2017.
Website: www.firmen-dna.de (only in German)
Community Day: http://cday.copargo.de
About Gebhard Borck:
For the past 17 years, Gebhard has supported and guided transformations, change and organizational development projects. The practical experience garnered in this time shines through his thought-provoking and entertaining podium and TV appearances. Audiences recognize, here is someone who knows what he’s talking about. He challenges received notions of what the economy, work and management is. Borck is an advocate for a culture based on greater self-determination and real engagement which makes room for meaning to grow.