The Record - Issue 20: Spring 2021

98 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om BY J ACQU I GR I F F I THS P eople, enabled by technology, are at the heart of the manufacturing industry’s transformation. And as the latest tech- nologies continue to bring exciting new ways of doing business, companies face the growing challenge of attracting, developing and retaining the skilled workers to match. “Even before the pandemic, manufacturing has been changing so quickly that it can be dif- ficult for the workforce to keep up,” says Colin Masson, global industry marketing director for manufacturing at Microsoft. “Now, manufac- turers face new challenges in terms of worker safety and productivity. On top of it all, cus- tomer needs and demands for remote monitor- ing and services, and for more agile factory and supply chain responses, are adding pressure to their business.” To keep up, says Masson, the workforce must also transform. “That starts with embracing technology that can attract, train, and retain the next generation of workers, as well as enabling them with the skills they need to reimagine manufacturing and shape a sustainable future,” he says. “By combining the right productivity apps, intelligent cloud services and security, the industry can set its workforces up for success.” Getting that combination right will yield ben- efits in terms of both productivity and skills development. “Manufacturers embracing digi- tal transformation can boost workers’ produc- tivity by connecting empowered technicians securely with remote assets to troubleshoot and resolve issues, so technicians are dispatched only when necessary,” says Masson. “They can provide front-line workers with the remote, expert assistance needed to avoid downtime, and enable them to do their best work by uni- fying devices, data, relationships and processes into intelligent apps that guide them safely through best practices and compliance require- ments. And they can increase productivity by augmenting people with team collaboration tools, mixed-reality guides and remote assists, internet of things (IoT)-enabled machines, and artificial intelligence enhanced applications to keep pace with increased operational, mainte- nance and process complexity.” Microsoft’s Colin Masson discusses how the latest technologies are enabling manufacturers to attract, empower and engage top talent Solving the F E ATUR E gap skills