Technology Record - Issue 25: Summer 2022

130 From smart factories to remote field service, the pandemic has accelerated manufacturers’ investment in digital tools to enable new ways of working. But often, the workers using these tools are struggling to keep pace. In Microsoft’s recent Work Trend Index survey, 36 per cent of frontline workers said they didn’t have the right tools or technology to do their jobs effectively and 54 per cent said they’ve had to adapt to using digital tools on the fly, with no formal training. “Frontline workers – from the factory floor to those providing on-site services for customers – are the backbone of manufacturing,” says Abid Chaudhry, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft 365 and Teams at Microsoft. “These deskless workers need the same capabilities as information workers: real-time communication and collaboration, automated processes and workflows that boost productivity, and upskilling opportunities that empower them to adapt quickly to change. But often, the digital fabric of the organisation doesn’t quite cover them. Manufacturers require secure, scalable ways to provide the tools that these employees need in a way that is relevant to the work they do. We’ve developed tools to enable everything related to people’s work to be done through a single interface – from digitalised clock-in and clock-out to shift management, prioritised task assignment, knowledge-sharing, learning and social interactions. For instance, the Updates app in Microsoft Teams enables people to create, submit and review updates to employees via chat or a Teams channel.” Microsoft 365 and Cloud for Manufacturing (currently available in preview) are designed to help do that. By migrating to the cloud and adopting Microsoft 365, for example, international furniture manufacturer USM provided a modern workplace where its employees can collaborate with fast, uncomplicated communication and new levels “ This is about making sure the entire workforce is included as part of the organisation’s Industry 4.0 transformation journey” Microsoft’s Abid Chaudhry tells us how manufacturers are empowering their workers to collaborate, automate and upskill while supporting business goals BY J ACQU I GR I F F I THS F E ATUR E Connecting with purpose