Industry 4.0 - Impacts on management and the manager's role

To stay competitive, manufacturing companies must embrace Industry 4.0. As our environment and tools continue to evolve, managers also need to take their skills to the next level.

Are managers ready to move their skills to Level 4.0 to stand out and enable their teams and organizations to reach their full potential?

Here are 4 key points to understand the changing role of the manager in Industry 4.0:


1. New management models

Much like previous industrial revolutions, Industry 4.0 is marked by a shift in mindset.

The new generations of workers entering the workforce do not share the same values as the more senior staff members. For organizations and work teams to perform to their full potential, leaders and managers must review their management models to bridge the generational gap and better collaborate with multigenerational teams in order to benefit from everyone's strengths.

Today's manager leads just as many workers as before. Their challenges remain the same as those of the 3.0 manager, but with an added technological component. They must therefore further develop their soft skills to mobilize their teams, and that is something a machine simply can't do.

- Antoine Drapeau-Perreault, CEO Canada, Proaction International

Moreover, with omnipresent technology and the rise of automation, employees are more than ever in search of meaning.

To mobilize their teams, managers today must adopt a coaching attitude. While technology undoubtedly provides tools that are essential to the sustainability of companies, it doesn't replace human qualities. The development of operational and managerial skills, therefore, remains at the heart of this digital transformation.

Consequently, the 4.0 leader is a manager who:

  • Believes in their employees and helps them to develop;
  • Is constantly evolving to adapt to rapid technological changes;
  • Has the courage of their convictions and the humility to admit their mistakes;
  • Inspires by their transparency.

Here are some keywords HR specialist Jean-François Bertholet recommend shifting in our organizations:

  • Incentives Recognition
  • Obedience Engagement
  • Control Accountability


THE 4.0 APP FOR MANAGERS UTrakk DMeS Download the brochure


2. An increasingly complex ecosystem

Real-time access to massive databases of information is a true revolution. We can now better analyze teams' work, know the Overall Equipment Effectiveness, etc. One can easily get carried away and lose track of priorities.

In a world of information overload, a solid management structure to manage all this data becomes essential. Managers must be equipped with the proper tools to take advantage of it and learn how to target relevant information (critical thinking, complex problem solving, etc.).

How to keep the necessary balance for good management?

Mindfulness and emotional intelligence are very effective tools to introduce into our daily lives, especially in this Industry 4.0 and all-connected era. Despite our busy schedules and the whirlwind of information, taking time out to breathe must also be a priority. In these downtime moments, managers learn to listen to their own selves.

People cannot manage like machines; human management involves recognizing one's emotions and those of others, and getting to know oneself and others.

This is how we can learn to work better together.


3. Labour shortage

Gestionnaire en manque de main-d'œuvre

Although many processes are automated nowadays, people remain the driving force of any company. Critical thinking and decision-making are human skills that artificial intelligence cannot replace. For Antoine Drapeau-Perreault, optimum organizational performance is based on the right combination of human management and technological tools.

However, human management requires manpower, and this is a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce. Indeed, unemployment rates have been steadily declining for the past few years, indicating a labor shortage that will not go away any time soon.

People don't leave a company, they leave a boss.

Have you heard this one before? Well, managers do play a key role in retaining employees, especially in positions that require specialized labor. Employee retention is all about engagement.

How do you motivate your teams and inspire them to engage?

To succeed in this, the manager must master the art of:

  • Communicating a clear vision and objectives.
  • Contributing to the transformation of the organizational culture towards a more participative model that uses employees' full potential.
  • Involving employees in sharing ideas and solutions.

When everyone in an organization plays their part in a collective vision to achieve a common goal, meeting objectives as a team is motivating.

This approach creates a much stronger performance movement within the company and enhances the sense of belonging, which greatly contributes to employee retention.


4. Connecting Industry 4.0 and Manager 4.0

Gestionnaire 4.0 avec tablette

Tomorrow's manager must be as agile with personnel management as he is with tools from different technology families. Having the ability to calculate performance with so much precise data is an incredible asset in a plant.

Imagine managers equipped with an application that helps them lighten their technical tasks and allows them to have more time to focus on innovation. What an opportunity to bring the organization to another level!

UTrakk offers this possibility - among others. This application allows to:

  • Support best management behaviors
  • Plan meeting rituals
  • Schedule the right actions
  • Manage performance gaps to seize opportunities

Offering high-performance technological tools is not enough to improve the performance of teams and organizations.

Managers must be supported in their evolution and key employees must be trained to coach their teams in order to perpetuate the process beyond the digital transition.

As business performance specialists, when the experts at Proaction International (UTrakk's creator) implement a continuous improvement project in an organization, they also work with managers to establish a new performance culture through coaching.



Proaction International's team of management digitalization experts can help you deepen your knowledge of Management 4.0 and get you in sync with the best management practices.



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Équipe Proaction International
Topics: Management Digitalization