The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

48 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om “The keys to successful response and recovery are for manufacturers to operate remotely everywhere, simulate everything and automate anywhere” E X E CUT I V E I NT E R V I EW T oday, we are in the middle of the most amazing technological change that our businesses, our industries, and our world, have ever witnessed. Coupled with this transformation, comes the health, safety and economic implications resulting from the global pandemic. We spoke with Çağlayan Arkan, Microsoft’s vice president of manufacturing, to find out how the industry is responding. Covid-19 has affected all industries. What are the biggest changes you are witnessing in manufacturing? As the pandemic unfolded, we immediately saw massive disruption in terms of demand, supply and the workforce. For supply chains, an impor- tant aspect of this was an over-reliance on one source or one country as well as supply chains that were too lean. In addition, manufacturers were facing serious challenges around business continuity. They could not see their inventory or their suppliers. Without having their work- force on the shop floor or having the ability to connect to their assets or suppliers, manufac- turers struggled to operate. We believe some of the biggest changes coming out of this crisis will include a certain, if not significant, level of regionalisation and localisation of supply chains. We also anticipate manufacturers will build capabilities around remote operations in order to deal with the next crisis. Reskilling of the workforce, closing the skills gap, and ensur- ing health and safety around the new stand- ards that the pandemic imposed on us all will As manufacturers navigate their crisis response and recovery, the opportunities for accelerated innovation are now more important than ever. Çağlayan Arkan of Microsoft tells us why Manufacturing a more sustainable future BY ANDY C L AY TON - SM I TH