Three Ways Manufacturing Leaders Can Prepare for the Tech-Driven Future

As the manufacturing becomes more reliant on technology, what does that mean for industry leaders? Are leaders going to become obsolete as machines and automated processes take control? Can they sit back and let machines do all the work?
The answer to both these questions is a resounding no, according to tech humanist and recent Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast guest Kate O’Neil! As the founder and CEO of KO Insights, Kate is all about helping leaders and their organizations find the best strategies for balancing human experiences and the modern technology. To help manufacturing leaders, she offers these three insights for navigating the technology-driven future.

Insight #1: You’re Still in Control!

While machines and automated procedures become more common, it can be easy for leaders to feel like they’re being replaced. However, decision-making and agency are more important than ever in a technology-heavy world. In her podcast, Kate stresses that while machines might speed up the process, machines can’t always recognize the human voices and needs behind processes. For example, a machine might focus on the reaching a specific outcome, but overlook key safety guidelines, which can put employees at risk. This is why leaders need to stay engaged and aware, especially when it seems like technology is taking control.

Insight #2: Look Beyond the Data

Technology produces a lot of data on everything from employee output to environmental impact. This can be a perk for manufacturing leaders, who can examine the data and find creative, productive ways to move their organization forward. However, leaders shouldn’t overlook the humans beyond the numbers! When looking at data, Kate suggests leaders look far beyond the hard data. In particular, ask questions about how the data was determined and consider any nuances that may have impacted the results. Think about the real humans behind the hard numbers, and take their concerns and feelings into account as well when making decisions.

Insight #3: Are You Aligned with History?

As the manufacturing industry shifts and changes, it’s more important than ever for leaders to think about the future. The decisions you make today have the potential to impact the future of your organization. It’s important to think about how you and your organization want to be remembered, especially when it comes to technology and the future of your employees. When making decision, always consider all options and solutions, think about the needs of your employees, and don’t forget to take a pause when needed.

Learn More on the Podcast

To learn more about the importance of human leadership in the technology-driven future, check out Kate O’Neil’s episode of the Mindfulness Manufacturing podcast.

At Manufacturing Greatness, Trevor Blondeel works with manufacturers to connect the top to the shop floor. If you’re ready to improve your own organization, contact Trevor to learn how Manufacturing Greatness can help you build stronger leaders and develop a dynamic, high-performing workplace.