New technology - who wins, who loses?



  • Interesting article here:
    http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/new_technology_who_wins_who_loses

    It essentially says there are two factors to consider when looking at how technology is transforming the workplace. Firstly, information access is cheaper. Secondly, communication is cheaper. The two factors operate in different, and conflicting, ways.

    When I started here ten years ago, there were no computers on the factory floor. Now there are PCs, and I'm looking at rolling out iPods in a few weeks time. I'm interested in how this will effect the jobs of the office workers. Will we need so many office workers?

    I'd be interested to hear any ML views.



  • If done properly, technology empowers workers to get things done themselves in a more efficient fashion. As a Holacracy practitioner, I don't see much use for a traditional management structure anyway. That being said, there will always some degree of overhead for steering and exception handling.

    Not familiar with Holacracy? Check it out: http://holacracy.org/how-it-works



  • Technology definitely allows you to do more work with fewer people. But if you are hiring well you will likely have better opportunities for those people.



  • @alexntg said:

    Not familiar with Holacracy? Check it out: http://holacracy.org/how-it-works

    I'm not, but it looks pretty interesting. I will check it out. Cheers.



  • @alexntg said:

    If done properly, technology empowers workers to get things done themselves in a more efficient fashion. As a Holacracy practitioner, I don't see much use for a traditional management structure anyway. That being said, there will always some degree of overhead for steering and exception handling.

    Not familiar with Holacracy? Check it out: http://holacracy.org/how-it-works

    Not entirely unlike the "Dalio Principles"...

    http://www.bwater.com/Uploads/FileManager/Principles/Bridgewater-Associates-Ray-Dalio-Principles.pdf



  • Computers on the factory floor is definitely a large shift. How will they be using them?



  • At the moment, they just use enquiry screens for our ERP system. They mainly check stock levels and stock locations. I'm looking to do much more. I want to eliminate paper entirely. They will be able to look at CAD drawings, instead of relying on printed drawings. And instead of static CAD drawings, I can see them watching videos of how our products fit together, which should reduce our training costs and improve quality. Currently, we don't have any kind of bar code reading, but I'm planning on introducing iPods and QR codes. Wi-fi is getting installed next month. iPods will be used for stock taking, tracking stock movements, viewing and updating works orders and e-mail/messaging.

    We don't currently get live shopfloor feedback, because the manual process of printing works orders, filling them in by hand, and keying that info back into the ERP system can be a bottleneck of several days. I want that data to be live. So as soon as a worker has completed an operation he feeds that info to the ERP system himself.

    How much of this I'll get done and how long it will take, I don't know.

    What amazes me is how positive the shopfloor staff are when it comes to implementing new technology and changing working practices compared with office staff. The biggest ballache of implementing ERP is dealing with humans who are resistant to change. Because the shopfloor staff currently have nothing, they're open to anything. Give them an iPod and they're amazingly enthusiastic. It actually makes ERP development fun for a change. Implementing in the Office often feels like walking through mud - every bit of progress has to be fought for.

    I get to the point where some office managers are so obstreperous when it comes to implementing new processes that I start looking at ways of simply cutting them out of the process altogether. Getting shopfloor workers on board is a key part of that strategy.



  • Awesome. It's nice to have a greenfield project like that and a staff that cares.



  • Agreed, staff buy in is definitely one of the hardest things of any project.


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