When we hear the terms “Industry 4.0” and “digitalization,” we imagine fully automated, lifeless factories churning out products in a lights-out kind of manufacturing environment. The reality, however, is far from that image. The digital transformation of any enterprise is more like a journey than a step change, and achieving such a transformation is only possible through the empowerment of an organization’s number one resource: its workers.
The modern workforce is shaping up to be very different from the traditional understanding of a workforce and how it should function. The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an inflection point for the reconfiguration of the modern manufacturing frontline paradigm. Disrupted supply chains, lack of external support on the shop floor, and the absence of specialized and task-oriented workers all changed the core perception of how a typical manufacturing workforce should operate. The pandemic made it clear that manufacturers need to empower their workforces and use the best possible digital means to do so.
Agile methodologies originate from the software development sector, where development teams work in a more collaborative and cross-functional manner to deliver a product that is developed with an iterative approach and is continually improved to meet the requirements set out.
This is a methodology that is the exact opposite of the waterfall method of development, where an elaborate plan is established at the beginning based on user requirements and the project is executed by subject matter experts, the aim is to deliver a solution in one go with minimum possible change requests and by following the specs to the exact detail.