The Importance of (managing) people in the age of industry 4.0


The dawn of industry 4.0 brings with it the fear us losing sight of the importance of people. However, a deeper analysis proves that quite the opposite is true. As technology is now within the reach of the general population, it is the human factors of companies that make them stand out in the marketplace.


Technology is useful when it comes to responding to needs and contributing to the continuous improvement of services. Listening to teams, understanding their difficulties, and involving them in the management process, however, is what truly guarantees the success of a company in an increasingly technological industry. This is the basis of the 70-year-old Toyota Kata methodology, which has since been replicated successfully in many other industries and sectors.


One of the advantages of Artificial Intelligence is our increased ability to produce data that then improves standards, but it is up to humans to validate samples of this data and then take action - a process that will tend to be increasingly led by individuals, transversally, without obstacles or hierarchical impositions.


No computer system has yet been produced that acts completely independently of the person using it. The rise of the online brings with it tools that make troubleshooting easier and support the process of continuous improvement, but implementing all of that requires action to be taken by individuals.


An opportunity to humanise industry


Digitalising the economy helps us make better, more human decisions, working more productively with far less effort.


By freeing people up from routine, repetitive tasks, technology opens up a space for more creative roles that truly add value to businesses; one example of which is customer service. In fact, many argue that the market for personalised products will only succeed if communication continues to be carried out face-to-face.


More relationships between people, fewer hierarchies


The speed at which projects can be carried out is increasing, and companies need an agile structure that allows them to respond to internal and external demands in a timely manner. Since everything has to be done with more immediacy, it is important that communication is fluid and both resistance and conflict-free, that is: the quality of interpersonal relationships should be improving further and further. It is also in this sense that hierarchies, in their most traditional sense, will tend to disappear.


Multilingual, multicultural teams


The digitalisation of the economy is also reflected in increasingly global projects, and within which the focus falls, once again, on human resources: multilingual and multicultural teams with varying levels of knowledge in different areas such as production, sales, logistics and project management.


Behavioural and motivational problems are mitigated by hiring people who are aligned with the organisation's values ​​(who know how to do what they are doing, and recognise the reasons as to why it is done in that way). If they are aligned with the organisation, they’re that much more likely to feel good in what they do. Motivated people who are fully involved tend to do their best with fewer conflicts and sources of tension.


The importance of trust when it comes to change


The buzzwords associated with Industry 4.0, robotics and artificial intelligence are shrouded in fear and anxiety, obscuring the true result of the changes taking place: the circumstances in which people and teams find themselves are improving, which will naturally have an impact on the success of organisations. Trusting that technology will be used to their advantage, not against them, human resources will be available to embrace change and make their daily contributions.

Industrial companies are not incorporated as 4.0, and the process of transformation they must go through requires the support of each person involved in order to be a success.


5 key ideas:

1 – Now that technology is within reach for everyone and anyone, human factors are what will make companies stand out

2 - Technology is useful when it comes to responding to people’s needs

3 - Digitalising the economy helps us make better, more human decisions

4 - With improvement processes conducted from the inside out, hierarchies tend to disappear

5 - Human resources need to feel confident in order to accept change. It is essential that they understand that technology will be used to their advantage