Mind the gap: how technology bridges generations in your workforce

Passing on knowledge and experience between generations is becoming a serious issue in certain sectors. It doesn’t have to be this way says Kim Custeau, global asset performance management lead at AVEVA

Last Updated: 06 Aug 2020

The workforce has always had to adapt to generational shifts. Today’s employee landscape is no exception, particularly in engineering and industry. As there are many baby boomers in the workplace thinking about career exits and retirement plans, businesses must use technology to bridge the knowledge gap and help with people succession plans.

New research revealed that around three out of four (77%) finance directors worry about the skills gap and the negative impact of the widespread retirement of baby boomers over the next five years. There is also concern about what the Generation Y and Z workforce demands and expects, especially surrounding technology. 

It’s essential that we align people, process and technology.

Inspire people to shape the future

If machines could talk, they’d say now is the time to unlock and capitalise on the knowledge of the retiring workforce so new generations can reap the rewards of hard-earned experience. In industrial operations, how can you blend this institutional knowledge from the retiring generation with a younger generation’s digital skill set? 

The next generation expect an easy, modern, scalable solution to work – high-speed connectivity, seamless remote working, robust, intuitive hardware and more. This combination of an evolving workforce and proliferation of technologies such as predictive maintenance, cloud, big data and mobility has brought asset performance management 4.0 (APM) to the forefront of business.

Collaborate and create

APM 4.0 bridges the technology and generation gap, helping employees communicate and collaborate beyond traditional boundaries. As your business evolves, APM 4.0 enables continual digital transformation designed to accommodate the knowledge and expertise of your workforce. 

Take BP, a great example of the power of collaboration. The company wanted to simplify and standardise its oil and gas supply-chain management, creating an intuitive environment that enables refinery analysts to spot economic opportunities and share best practices. 

A lack of transparency led to a duplication of efforts across the supply chain, largely a result of using outdated technologies that needed rare and niche skills, limited to a small number of specialists.  

But through using APM 4.0, BP improved how it managed its data, improved the transparency, improved decision-making and improved the knowledge sharing across global teams and generations. 

Ascend Performance Materials is another example of a company that gained real business value from APM, how workflow improved collaboration among all teams, from junior to senior level.  

Ascend’s goal was to transform from a 1950s-era plant, into a modern manufacturing facility able to use hidden insights in industrial data to help prevent plant shutdowns. Prior to implementing APM 4.0, Ascend collected data on pieces of paper that stayed on a clipboard till the clipboard was full. 

Using APM 4.0, Ascend eliminated the manual input of data, then had sight of the overall manufacturing process across all teams. This improved communication and knowledge sharing and saved over $2 million, through avoiding costly plant closures. 

Enhance the human experience

APM 4.0 unlocks the potential of your assets, opening new opportunities by bringing together cyber and physical systems, the Internet of Things and cloud computing. It helps create smart factories, facilities or plants. 

As organisations invest in their people and technology to bridge generational divides, it is a critical component that helps businesses adapt quickly to market changes and make the most of economic opportunities.

At its core, it includes prescriptive analytics and machine learning, smart connected assets and services, IoT platforms and industry best practices. It empowers companies to adopt predictive and prescriptive maintenance strategies, so they can predict and avoid costly failures and downtime, as well as make efficient business decisions.

Industry advancement should enhance the human experience: it must empower the people behind the sector. AVEVA’s comprehensive software portfolio overcomes today’s challenges through use of industrial big data. With improved analysis, you can eliminate inefficiencies, bridge the generational divide of your people, optimise operations – and improve profitability.

Kim Custeau is global asset performance management lead at AVEVA

AVEVA Group plc provides innovative industrial software to transform complex industries such as Oil & Gas, Construction, Engineering, Marine, and Utilities. AVEVA’s software solutions and platform enable the design and management of complex industrial assets like power plants, chemical plants, water treatment facilities and food and beverage manufacturers – deploying IIoT, Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to digitally transform industries.

For further information visit www.AVEVA.com

Image credit: Jonas Verstuyft/Unsplash 

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