The Skills Necessary to Power Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is still in its infancy, but we’ve already seen the power of innovation and its capacity to transform modern-day factories. From manufacturing-as-a-service models to technologies like 3D printing and co-bots, the factory of the future is alive today. When it comes to taking advantage of current and future innovations, having a qualified workforce is the lynchpin. That means the right combination of hard and soft skills, encapsulated in a knowledgeable employee who understands the fast-paced nature of our current industrial revolution.

It takes skill to embrace Industry 4.0

As manufacturing technologies continue to advance, the industry is still powered by people. Today’s manufacturing landscape is one of coexistence: where hardware and software innovations are tools that help people do their job better. That said, technology is raising the bar for manufacturing skills.

Industry 4.0 is fostering a new economy, and the skills needed to participate in this economy stem from the innovations powering it. Manufacturers are looking for capable workers who can maximize the opportunities new technologies offer. Industry workers with the right combination of hard and soft skills — and the ability to adapt and continually learn — will find themselves in high demand.

Let’s take a closer look at these skills, and why they’re so critical for success in the modern age of manufacturing.

Hard skills: critical for getting the job done

Hard skills, or technical skills, encompass the knowledge and capabilities required to perform job-specific tasks. As industries adopt new technologies at an increasingly rapid pace, the barrier for hard skills is rising. Simply put, producers need employees who understand how these technologies work, and who can operate and service them accordingly.

There are countless hard skills employees can learn and refine to meet industry-specific demands. A strong set of technology-based skills like programming, networking and IT, cybersecurity, and more will continue to be critical in the workplace of the future. Marketing and entrepreneurial skills also can help workers answer the future challenges of Industry 4.0, enabling them to navigate an ever-changing job environment.

Soft skills: intangibles matter in manufacturing

Soft skills are personal attributes and abilities that relate to how a person functions. While soft skills can be refined and developed over time, they’re less tangible than hard skills — yet, just as valuable. They include interpersonal (people) skills, listening ability, time management, communication skills, creativity, and others.

Industry leaders, including those in manufacturing, are increasingly focused on company culture and teamwork. Soft skills enable individual employees, teams, and companies to communicate clearly, think critically, and make better decisions.

Building a well-equipped workforce

Industry 4.0 continues to change the way people live, learn, and work. The workforce of tomorrow must develop and refine a skillset that matches the relentless pace of technology. That means continuous cultivation of hard and soft skills, and the ability to deploy them effectively within the workplace.

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