Industry 4.0: Human, Master of change

The study “The Future of Jobs”, published in 2016 by the World Economic Forum, points out that 65% of children who attended schools on that date will in future occupy jobs that do not yet exist. Industrial digital transformation is happening now and can take up 3 to 5 years to be completed, so it cannot be completed only by future graduates.

An article in the Harvard Business Review earlier this month emphasizes that talent is what digital transformation requires most of all and must be present in all 4 areas – technology, data, process and organizational change. And that talent must also be part of leadership, which must inspire change.

During the Manufacturing Synergy webinar, presented on May 28, in a collaboration with Sia Partners, Emperia Industries Connect and PreVu3D, Ms. Sâadia Lakehal mentioned that human intelligence is the engine of artificial intelligence, and that humans remains the author and actor of change.

Since digital transformation is a human story – what are the avenues available for the most efficient transition possible, while maximizing chances of success?


Participatory leadership

Carl Fugère, General Manager of the Regroupement des Entreprises en Automatisation Industrielle (REAI), stresses the importance of enhancing the entrepreneurial skills of all individuals within an organization.

“Business leaders will need to foster constant creativity among their employees so that they can showcase their leadership and take the lead,” he said. “Entrepreneurs will themselves have to develop inspiring and influencing leadership and give everyone the chance to become a variable in the equation”.

Carl completes by specifying that 3 key elements must be part of the process:

– Sharing

– Open mindset

– Communication

Employees increasingly want to realize themselves and companies can help them achieve this goal, while benefiting from the creativity and initiative of their staff.

From an employee perspective, their leadership will develop through the initiatives they will participate and initiate, but also by their continual desire to adapt and being open to new learning, to be ready to do things differently. They will have to demonstrate an interest in being agile themselves in this evolution.

All will win, and this approach will encourage constant collaboration by all. It must be kept in mind that digital transformation is not only today, that it will continuously evolve over the years, will be part of everyday life. By encouraging employees to be involved in the process on an ongoing basis, business development will follow accordingly, and the payoff will be as many as the number of people in your business.


Collaboration for evolution

According to the 70/20/10 learning model, 70% of our learning comes from life experience, 20% from people around us, and 10% from traditional learning.

Companies wishing to make a digital transition would have the opportunity to pool 90% of the knowledge from others (70/20) in order to feed their own transition, and then themselves build their own 70/20 in order to help give to the next.

The words collaboration, regroupings, solidarity, to name a few, have been put forward since the beginning of the pandemic, underlining the importance of bringing together industry knowledge to help each other.

The leaders of manufacturing SMEs, often tending to work independently of each other, could thus have an opportunity to take advantage of the group effect.

The success of the Quebec manufacturing sector lies in large part in the collaboration of all stakeholders in the industry, believes Carl.

For example:

– The REAI is to set up collaborative cells bringing together stakeholders from the automation community, to help companies in the process. These cells will include people of all expertise (finance, HR, operations, IT, etc.) to assist companies in all fields that the transformation will have an impact

– The Groupement des Chefs d’Entreprises innovates by offering virtual self-help meetings to support mutual aid between entrepreneurs

– The recent collaboration between JITbase and Leesta, as Leesta has managed to increase its equipment’s utilization rate by 25% thanks to JITbase technology

– And certainly, many others that we see, read, or remain in the shadow but just as mutually beneficial for all stakeholders

Eric Lépine, Manufacturing / Industry Consultant 4.0 at Sia Partners, believes in a model proven in recent years in Germany promoting collaboration between universities, CEGEPs, start-ups, companies and professionals, thus aligning the research and development needs of the industry.


Mistakes Lead to Success

If 70% of our learning comes from experience, we must act and try it out.

According to Carl Fugère “Entrepreneurs will have to put their ego at the service of a cause, not the company, by giving themselves the right to make mistakes”.

He specifies that by involving people in the organization, at all levels, the chances of success will be increased, and change management will be facilitated.

Small teams to build prototypes and model new ways of doing things can help identify the skills needed in the transition, and already train people accordingly, and minimize the risk of errors as projects evolve and accumulate.

From an employee perspective, the same openness to try new things will be necessary, without the fear of making mistakes, to continually revise their approach, while having a constant desire to develop new skills.


Recruitment: Transfer of skills

During the hiring process, employers often look for candidates from the same industry, who have gone through the same steps and processes and achieved specific achievements.

Now, with the “new” reality, this approach may have some shortcomings, at least in the long term.

Because, by continuing to do things the same way, we get the same results … or worse.

Companies should consider reviewing the hiring criteria to consider the transfer of skills from candidates from other industries.

One of the most effective ways will be to use structured interviews, which in the past may have been underutilized in the hiring process.

These interviews allow for an effective and fair comparison between the candidates, on pre-determined questions and allowing the validation of specific skills for each of them.

But how to validate the transfer of skills?

The questions must be of behavioral and situational types to validate the candidates’ thinking and problem-solving process, and not only the skills listed on their CV.

The objective will thus be to position the candidate in a past or fictitious situation (lived in the company or which could appear) and to evaluate his thinking process in relation to this situation.

The digital transformation will go through people, with people. Empathy, emotional intelligence, change management, problem solving – all of these can only be measured by well-prepared interviews.

In summary, the digital transformation is upon us, is happening now.

The industry must take charge of itself, without waiting for an instruction manual to be available, but to build this new reality through Quebec’s talents, businesses, and organizations.


The digital transformation is a human story – the human remains the author and the agent of change.