On March 18, 2020 our CEO Joanna Riley joined the Horasis Extraordinary Meeting, a global event where thought leaders from around the world share their visions and roadmaps for creating a more sustainable future. Joanna’s panel discussed the topic of the 4th industrial revolution, and how companies can, and must use smart technology to automate traditional manufacturing and industrial practices.
Here are some of the key highlights from the 2021 Horasis Extraordinary Meeting:
“A massive concentration of wealth generation happening on a few big platforms, which leaves us vulnerable.”
Michele Mosca, the Co-Founder, IQC, CEO of evolutionQ, started off the session with some fascinating insights around cybersecurity. He shared a big difference between cybersecurity (actively guarding against known threats) and cyber resilience (proactively anticipating future disruption) and how companies can digitize with resilience in mind. He said, “The fact of the matter is that there is a massive concentration of wealth generation happening on a few big platforms, which leaves us vulnerable. The more companies rely on single systems, the more risk we have. This is why companies need to invest not only in technology but in resilience planning and thorough implementation to protect themselves.”
“If we can achieve digitalization, we can achieve greater prosperity and skilling for all people.”
– Ilídio de Ayala Serôdio
Mosca wasn’t the one person who felt this way. Ilídio de Ayala Serôdio, the President of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Indonesia and a seasoned engineering consultant, shared that the world will change radically in the next ten years and that every part of the supply chain needs to be designed for resilience, as every component will be vulnerable in an increasingly connected world, including airplanes and satellites.
“If you implement digitization aggressively, you’ll see a return on investment in one to two years.”
– Viren Joshi
As the discussion went on, Viren Joshi, Chief Executive Officer and President of Sigma Electric shared his experiences traveling the world and setting up lean manufacturing sites and how the global pandemic exposed how inefficient and frail our current supply chains are. He shared how many companies are hesitant to start digitalization and that those who implement it aggressively see a return of investment in one to two years.
“If we don’t implement this new technology and upskill the workforce, companies will not succeed and flourish. Countries will not succeed and flourish.”
Joshi went on to say that the key to successful digitalization is to be rigorous, to plan well, and to ensure that the workforce upgrades along with the technology. He finished with a stern warning that had everyone nodding theirs: “If we don’t aggressively implement new technologies and upskill the workforce, companies will not succeed and flourish. Countries will not succeed and flourish.”
“Industry 4.0, automation, and digitalization cannot happen without upskilling your workforce.”
– Joanna Riley
Workforce upskilling is one of the best predictors of success, both of companies and technology implementations. A 2020 report found that most technology implementations fall short of expectations not because the technology doesn’t work, but because users were unable or unwilling to work with it. In other words, industry 4.0, automation, and digitalization cannot happen without upgrading your workforce.
The World Economic Forum 2020 Future of Jobs report found that 85M jobs are being replaced by technology, but there is a silver lining. If we manage to upskill our workforce (and roughly 54% of the workforce needs reskilling in the coming years), new industries will create 97M jobs, and will also allow us to capture $85 trillion in realized revenues.
Whitepaper: Learn more about upskilling and reskilling the global workforce
“Digital transformation will start with a period of disruption, followed by a dramatic increase in efficiency.”
– George Fomitchev
Of course, the global pandemic was at the forefront of the discussion, and George Fomitchev, the CEO of Endurance Lasers, shared how his industry was impacted by the global pandemic. As supply chains were disrupted, prices increased five-fold and led many leaders to reconsider how and where they source their parts. Viren Joshi confirmed that the past year sparked a lot of discussions about onshoring and nearshoring.
Fomitchev also shared how Russia is proactively trying upskilling and reskilling its workforce and the challenges this initiative has faced. He shared that he foresees a period of disruption and unrest as economies become more digital, followed by a dramatic increase in efficiency.
“We need to stop piloting and testing technology, and move into creating strategic roadmaps to implement it.”
– Gustavo Ghory
Gustavo Ghory, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Kimberly-Clark and Co-Founder SmarterChains SA, spent more than three decades optimizing supply chains for Procter & Gamble. He wrapped up the session with a strong call to action: “Now is the time for leaders to take action on digitalization. It’s imperative that leaders start leveraging technology. We need to stop piloting and testing technology, and move into creating strategic roadmaps to implement it.”
“We don’t change our behavior because we see the light, but because we feel the heat.”
– Michele Mosca
Michele Mosca added that companies should act on digitalization before they lose momentum. “One of the biggest challenges with making these changes is that they are difficult and require time and sacrifice. There is no immediate reward, and this often leads leaders to put it off for future generations. But we don’t change our behavior because we see the light, but because we feel the heat. We felt the heat with the pandemic, and it is now the time to move to strategic, long-term thinking and sound, resilient practices to make the world a better place.”