Sunday, February 25, 2024
Useful Resources for Brilliant Manufacturing, Operational & Industrial Intelligence Technology Enthusiasts!

Automation, Control & Plant Intelligence - Articles, Analysis, Reviews, Interviews & Views

The Need for Effective Communication Regarding Automation

by Thomas R. Cutler   |   March 06, 2017

Ben Rossi wrote for Information Age recently that, "Automation is already with us. The digitalization of public sector services has already seen many of the processes previously carried out by human hand now scheduled by software. Far from being met with resistance, this digitalization has had an emancipating effect, freeing up staff from the daily grind to focus on other issues and the reduction in red tape has generated efficiency gains."

The 2017 Technology Industry Report, completed by Michigan-based Automation Alley, is a nationwide survey of nearly 400 senior technology and manufacturing executives to determine their knowledge of Industry 4.0, and whether they are ready for the digitization of manufacturing within their company. Industry 4.0 is the fourth industrial revolution and the convergence of digital and physical technologies currently disrupting the manufacturing industry.

According to Ontological Executive Coach, Ignacio Isusi, "Advancements in technology are often met with resistance, especially when the workforce fears displacement. The rise of automation is often associated with the threat that companies will outsource labor to machines. It is up to executive leadership in the C-Suite to ensure that the employees feel valued, respected, and perceive their critical role to the future success of the company."

Isusi works with industrial leaders to capture the communication needed to honestly acknowledge while the nature of the jobs may change due to automation, it can and must be shared in a way that empowers the workforce.

Almost half of knowledge work activity can be automated, according to a recent McKinsey study. CIO Dive reported that physical tasks "in highly structured and predictable environments, as well as data collection and processing" will be the first to be automated, according to the report. And because those types of jobs make up a little over half of activities in the economy, that equates to almost $2.7 trillion in wages.

The McKinsey report acknowledges nearly all occupations have potential for some automation, which could result in a savings of about $16 trillion in wages. For industrial CFOs tasked with YoY (year over year) cost-trimming those data are tempting as a panacea.

Isusi shared that with an ever-increasing number of Spanish-speaking workers the imperative to share in a multi-cultural environment often exacerbates the fear and isolation associated with automation advancement.

Hispanics will make up nearly 20 percent of the labor force in 2024 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Hispanic share of the labor force is expected to increase more than that of any other demographic group, because of both overall population growth (from higher births and increased immigration) and higher labor force participation rates. Over the 2004-14 decade, the Hispanic civilian non-institutional population grew at an average annual rate of 3.2 percent.

Civilian population, by Hispanic origin, 1994, 2004, 2014, and projected 2024

Hispanics labor force participation rate was 66.1 percent in 2014. Hispanic men historically have had a higher labor force participation rate than non-Hispanic men. Hispanic women, by contrast, have had a lower participation than non-Hispanic women. The high labor force participation rate of Hispanic men reflects, in part, their age structure: Hispanics have a younger population than non-Hispanic groups, with a greater proportion at the ages of higher labor force participation.

Higher participation in the labor force by Hispanic men relative to other racial and ethnic groups is projected to increase its share in the labor force, continuing the trend of even more racial and ethnic diversity in the workforce in the next 10 years. The projection for Hispanic women's participation rates is also higher than the projected rates for non-Hispanic women; this is a reversal of the historical data.

These data are from the Current Population Survey and the Employment Projections program and can be found in the Monthly Labor Review article "Labor force projections to 2024." Hispanics may be of any race. Population data are for ages 16 and older.

"Putting the importance of the work environment among colleagues and bosses ahead of even the salary itself is very revealing. It speaks of the real needs of the workers. Money is important but not the most important. It is the language that enables communication and this is the one that opens the door to a good or bad working environment," asserts Isusi.
Ignacio Isusi is an Ontological Business Coach at ISUMAS Coaching and a multi-cultural industrial communication expert who drives best-practice leadership. Follow on Twitter @IgnacioIsusi or LinkedIN at

Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., ( Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 6000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler authors more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector and is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide. Cutler can be contacted at and can be followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler. See More Details.

Popular Articles

Manufacturing Insights