With support from:
With this WIDE (Workplace Innovation in a Digital Environment) project, we are responding to the need for guidance and support on the impact that the digital transformation is having on company culture and how work is organised.
Production companies in Flanders, without exception, are all being confronted with the need for digitalisation in order to remain competitive at local and international level. The Industry 4.0 living labs contribute through their specific operation to facilitating and accelerating this transformation by bringing innovative technologies closer to businesses. However, the digital transformation is not just a technological investment path, but goes hand in hand with a skills revolution: organisations are transformed by technology and the skills required are changing rapidly. Digitalisation also has a profound impact on the workplace, changing many existing relationships and methods of working and collaboration in a company. In particular, the relationship between operators and their current managers will change, but the function and role of staff members and supporting departments (planning, maintenance, quality, HR, etc.) may also change significantly. This is certainly the case when the autonomy of the processes is laid down at the level of the machines themselves.
With this WIDE (Workplace Innovation in a Digital Environment) project, we are responding to the need for guidance and support on the impact that the digital transformation is having on company culture and how work is organised. Companies must be able to produce more efficiently and flexibly to meet the changing demands of the market. This also means, among other things, abandoning the classic ‘cubicle organisation’, where each operator has a defined task in a specific workstation. Then there is the evolution towards greater autonomy of teams, whereby managers no longer manage tasks in a task-oriented way, but give teams more scope to organise and plan their work as they see fit. This requires not only the technical ability to meet the additional expectations, but also the competence to deal with and be accountable for increasing responsibilities.
To achieve this, we need committed employees who can and want to take ownership and responsibility and also gain a certain degree of autonomy. Innovative work organisation can play an important role in realising this change in corporate culture. A guidance path will therefore be developed, starting from the expertise built up in the food industry (WIFI 2020); this will be applied and validated across sectors in six industrial SMEs from different areas (food, textile, wood...) that are implementing digital technology (or are about to implement such a technology). The results obtained will then be broadly rolled out and valorised by the project partners.