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Left behind by Industry 4.0

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Left behind by Industry 4.0

We’re hearing a lot about the fourth Industrial Revolution or the concept of Industry 4.0 since the turn of the decade. Without repeating everything that has been said on the subject, it pertains to the automation of manufacturing companies and the integration of new technologies in production chains. With the emergence of robotization, sensors on machinery, or RFID technologies, among others, many companies have begun the technological shift.

Among those forgotten in this shift are front-line managers. Their environment has been digitized and robotized, which has added variables to be managed and transformed the role of the operators under their responsibility. What did we give them in return? Nothing. They have been left with paper and pencil and sometimes a shared computer to do their work. Some lucky ones were given a Walkie-Talkie! The front-line manager is the overlooked party of the shift to 4.0.

How can this be explained? Our interpretation is that technology companies have simply lacked exposure to the role of managers and therefore misunderstood the problems they experience on a daily basis. Decision makers still take management for granted and fail to view it as fundamental to performance. In the end, we observe an accumulation of management performance backlog in organizations and the results are as follows:

  • Disorganized and underperforming management processes nested in paper mode
  • Knowledge loss when experienced managers leave the company
  • Ineffective integration of new managers that hinders their leadership
  • Cumbersome, complex and inefficient organization-wide communications
  • Long and underutilized variance resolution cycle in operations
  • Front-line management’s loss of credibility, which struggles to play its role

All these problems worsen in times of crisis:

  • Frequent changes in manager roles so as to fill vacant positions
  • Changing communication modes through distancing measures
  • Communication rituals reorganized by remote working
  • New follow-up parameters added to an already challenging monitoring stack

Management 4.0 – The Suit Analogy 

Just as superheroes get their powers from their suits, or just as astronauts need their suits to go into space safely, Management 4.0 is the idea that managers also need the right equipment in order to play their supervisory role and multiply their strengths tenfold.

What I see in companies where my teams carry out analyses are managers whose on-site presence is random:

  • Visits to workstations without a clear objective
  • Lack of rigor and direction in discussions with team members
  • Unstructured note-taking that gets lost in the daily routine without being acted upon

Without a clear goal, how can managers produce results? To ask the question is to answer it:

  • Lack of follow-up on key issues
  • Lack of stringency in the escalation of key information in the hierarchy
  • Frequent recurrence of similar problems

That is why Proaction International has developed the concept of a manager’s “suit”. We have called this technological solution UTrakk DMeS (Digital Management ecoSystem). Its purpose is to avoid randomness in the managerial role and to guide managers in the efficient and optimal realization of their day/week/month so as to maximize the value they create:

  • Presence in the right place, at the right time, and in a structured way
  • Rigorous monitoring of key parameters and performance indicators
  • Triggering action plans and resolving performance gaps
  • Proactive management of the organization’s performance as an integrated team
  • Real-time project management organization and follow-up

Resulting in financial, operational, and most importantly, human benefits

Management 4.0 – powered by UTrakk DMeS, enables managers to gain complete mastery of their role, giving them an unprecedented ability to collaborate with the rest of their organization.  The benefit? The creation of a performance culture, which, in turn, improves operational performance. Financially, this obviously means an ability to increase productivity and reduce material waste and reworking. Above all, it helps at the human level to:

  • Increase the manager’s sense of achievement
  • Facilitate the fulfillment of the manager’s role
  • Increase managers’ credibility and legitimacy
  • Stimulate collaboration between direct and cross-functional teams
  • Attracting new talents that are steeped in technology on a daily basis

And that, while maximizing and encapsulating the knowledge of today’s teams in management tools.

With a good management “suit,” managers don’t spend their day wondering how they should be managing, but rather how to create value by managing. And the suit is what guides this management process. That enables us to multiply tenfold the value of the managers we work with and help them maximize their sense of achievement and pride with their team. Management 4.0 isn’t just about technology; it’s about placing people at the heart of technology.

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