Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

147 INTERVIEW INDUSTRIALS & MANUFACTURING Teaching manufacturers to fish Digital tools are helping manufacturers to drive productivity with better employee engagement and collaboration techniques, says Innovia Consulting’s Tom Doran BY ALICE CHAMBERS “ Productivity can be lost every time data is incomplete” For manufacturers, communication between departments is vital. Without the ability to collaborate in near-real time with accurate data, results are less than optimal. Innovia Consulting, a Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Business Central partner, is helping its customers – from food manufacturers to wholesale distributors – to implement digital tools to improve employee engagement and production. “We’re big believers in teaching a person to fish,” says Tom Doran, chief marketing officer at Innovia Consulting. “We help our customers to become self-sufficient by using agile-to-deploy solutions that help them achieve their objectives. “Productivity can be lost every time data is incomplete. So, if systems are not integrated, and users can’t collaborate from their desktop, this will directly impact productivity. For instance, when a customer calls a manufacturer to ask where their shipment is, the employee taking that call should be able to collaborate with their team on the production floor to know instantly why that shipment has been delayed.” Collaboration technologies such as Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams also help to increase productivity by reducing machine downtime. “Manufacturing is a very dynamic environment and often, when challenges arise, employees need to be able to collaborate with different departments in real time to avoid machine shutdowns,” says Doran. “If machines must be shut down, for example, during changeovers in food or pharmaceuticals manufacturing, it is crucial for organisations to schedule these crossovers to minimise downtime and maximise business productivity.” In addition, businesses can employ Microsoft technology to help close the skills gap being created by the manufacturing industry’s aging workforce and the fact that a significant number of employees are taking their training and knowledge with them as they retire. “Rolling out ongoing training is really important in the manufacturing space, and Microsoft tools help to achieve that,” says Doran. “With Teams and Copilot, for example, users can record training sessions and then create little glossaries of all the main topics that were covered with Copilot. They can even include hyperlinks to the specific training videos to avoid employees sitting through hours of training sessions to find a single piece of information they can find within a few minutes.”