In response to COVID-19 and its rippling impact across the globe, The Global Business Alliance (GBA) -- a trade association representing international companies doing businesses in the U.S. -- has launched a five-part video series titled “Jumpstart American Jobs.” Created to provide an opportunity for executives to share their recent insights and learnings, I was honored to join in for the first half of the second part of this series: “Making It Happen.”
Hugh Welsh, President & General Counsel of DSM North America; Michael Moskowitz, Chairman & CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America; and I joined Nancy McLernon, President & CEO of the Global Business Alliance, to discuss the state of manufacturing in North America. Here are a few highlights from our conversation I want to share:
Protect your people and then tackle the rest.
During our conversation we landed on the common thread of caring for people. First and foremost, this included understanding what our employees needed to stay safe and continue working -- remotely when possible. This principle varied in execution from creating infrastructures and solutions enabling associates to work from home efficiently and securely to implementing job site practices with the purpose of supporting safety measures like social distancing.
From a customer perspective, this involved understanding the new needs this unique situation has placed on us all. Organizations across the globe were suddenly thrust into a situation where they had to quickly and effectively identify where their supply chains were threatened most and pivot to make sure they could continue providing the goods and services necessary to support their customers.
The pandemic has accelerated technology adoption for organizations.
In many ways the pandemic has forced organizations to hit the brakes on daily operations, but in other ways it has created an added emphasis on speeding up their technology adoption efforts. Prior to COVID-19 businesses pursued these changes with the purpose of optimizing how they work, but now many are tasked with implementing digital solutions like blockchain and artificial intelligence just to maintain their standard operations.
Personally, I see this as an opportunity for manufacturing organizations to tackle this challenge through a “4R” approach: responsibility, which primarily hinges on providing safety for employees while also finding sustainable solutions; resiliency, which involves finding ways to not only cope with the pandemic’s fallout but also find business solutions to combat it effectively using next-gen technology; reliability, which relies on leveraging digital solutions and technology to provide structure and availability for our customers; and responsiveness, which takes an active approach to both understanding and addressing the evolving needs and demands our customers are facing during this extraordinary time.
We need to implement and leverage technology to empower workforces.
Like I mentioned in my previous point, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the technology adoption efforts for businesses in every industry across the globe. But merely implementing technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, or cloud infrastructure isn’t enough -- organizations must also invest in their people, training them to use these new technology solutions. It’s this combination of implementing new technology and training workers that will not only enable them to work but also protect them in the long run.
Every year, Wipro puts millions of dollars toward training and reskilling our employees. As an organization, we recognize that investing in our workers not only helps us navigate talent deficits when they occur but also protects our employees by giving them better job security. Ultimately, combining human ingenuity with the power of automation and technology allows us to scale our services and stay competitive even amid a crisis.
In addition to these points, my peers and I discussed even more topics related to international manufacturing, COVID-19, and the new normal that we’re all navigating during this crucial point in history. Plus, during the second half of the broadcast, business association leaders from key manufacturing sectors join to discuss their experiences amid the pandemic.
To hear these insights, you can watch the entire “Making It Happen” episode of GBA’s Jumpstart American Jobs Series. Simply follow this link, fill out the form and watch the panel discussion now.