June 23, 2017

A Different Spin on Communications in 2017

by Erin Johnson

We’re about midway through 2017—can you believe it? Time flies and things continue to change in our industry, sometimes more quickly than we realize.

So let’s stop and check in on some big things in communications so far in 2017. You might be thinking marketing communications—but I’m putting a little bit of a different spin on it:

Machine Communications
Yes—it’s the Internet of Things. As a recent blog post from IEEE Communications Society cheekily puts it, one big 2017 so far is: “Internet of Things Takes Off and We All Become Part of the Borg Collective.”

The gist is that wireless communications are being built into so many devices we see and interact with every day, both in the consumer world and the industrial one. We’ve been tracking how the relationship between fenestration and Industry 4.0—the marriage of automated manufacturing processes and smart systems—has been developing for a little while now. Take it from our own Tony Thiret, recapping Glass Processing Automation Days (GPAD) earlier this year:

The Internet of Things is a buzzword that’s been floating around for years. But what it really means is that we are in the midst of another industrial revolution. Connectivity and automation are not sci-fi fantasies. They are making a huge impact in other industries, and some in fenestration are dabbling. Early adopters are seeing that when their equipment can talk to each other, great things happen.

Machines are communicating, driving efficiencies that move your business forward. Most importantly, if you’ve made the investment in automation, and further, the investment in smart systems and software, it’s critical that you’re getting the most from it.

How to do that? A huge part of it is…
Internal Communications
It seems like many marketing folks have fully realized the importance of internal communications over the past few years, and if you ask me, it’s more important now than ever before.

One of the reasons internal communications are important as it relates to Industry 4.0 is simple, but maybe not the first thing we think about: no employee wants to feel like they’re being made redundant by robots.

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and possibilities that automated lines and smart software can bring to our operations. This kind of technology has been helping manufacturers all over the world drive profitability and meet increasingly complex demands for a few years, and it’s not stopping now.

We’ve written before about how automation can help maximize your labor force, but a huge part of that is ensuring your shop floor employees understand how new technology is enhancing their jobs, not replacing it. Things including enhanced safety on your shop floor, less fatigue due from manual lifting, and much, much more.

In my estimation, that’s one of the biggest communication challenges fenestration professionals face as we continue moving through 2017—and beyond.  

What are you doing to overcome that challenge? I’d love to hear from you at Erin.Johnson@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: June 23, 2017 by Erin Johnson Filed under: 4.0, communication, industry, internal