Automation is often seen as a threat to the future of manufacturing jobs, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be argued that automation, which is the key component in Industry 4.0, is creating opportunities for workers to sharpen existing skill sets such as problem-solving, communication, interpretation, design thinking and customer engagement.
According to a recent article published by Industry Week, “human capabilities—or soft skills— are becoming just as important as technical and manufacturing skills.” The article also goes on to highlight five important manufacturing roles experiencing a particularly high level of evolution in the smart factory era:
- Production Planner
- Industrial Engineer
- Line Leader
- Quality Engineer
Beyond the need for these roles to have a much higher level of digital intelligence, there is also a demanding need for human skills that machines simply cannot replicate.
To successfully blend human capabilities such as critical thinking, decision-making, problem-solving, innovation and design with innovative AI technology will ultimately lead to a more competitive smart factory.