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Workforce 4.0: The Human Side of Digital Transformation

By Scott Jenkins, Chemical Engineering magazine |

As chemical process industries (CPI) companies continue to experiment with, invest in, and implement a host of digitalization tools, workforce engagement and involvement is the key determinant of success Chemical process industries (CPI) companies are entering a critical stage in the movement toward digitalization (Industry 4.0), in which the majority of organizations are now initiating pilot projects aimed at improving operations with advanced digital tools. This includes a wide range of technologies, including data analytics, cloud computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence and many others. As the digitalization transformation of the CPI gains momentum, it has become clear that the movement is as much about people as it is about technology. The acceptance and involvement of workers is critical to the successful adoption and expansion of digital tools, as they are asked to adapt to new work practices. Greg Smith, a senior consultant at the Cutter Consortium (Arlington, Mass.; www.cutter.com) who has worked with companies from across many industries on digital transformation initiatives, says “What I’ve found is that you can always make the technology work, but the ultimate success or failure of a digital initiative…
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