COVID-19 has done some big things for technology.
According to McKinsey, automaton has moved ahead by three or four years in the past 365 days. Other tech changes have moved even faster. For example, before the pandemic companies thought a shift to remote work would take a year. In fact, it took most businesses an average of 11 days to figure it out.
This seems good, but there’s more to the story.
Consumers have changed their behavior, too, with consequences for businesses as well. They’ve shifted to online shopping and digital contacts at the same startling speed as manufacturers, but they’re not all happy about those changes.
Many consumers are frustrated about being pushed into adopting technologies faster than they had planned. Some didn’t really want to do it at all.
Consumers also report that they want face to face interactions with their transactions. More than 65 percent of Americans report feeling more lonely during the pandemic. For people who live alone, pleasant contact with people at work or during errands was important, and may now be impossible.
Those who spend a lot of time on social media feel more loneliness and Zoom can even make loneliness worse. Zoom fatigue is a real thing, according to research from places like Stanford. The feeling that high-tech workarounds are depleting and frustrating is increasing consumers’ feelings of dissatisfaction in general.
Manufacturers are coping with a speed up of industrial technology — but that’s not all. New communication technology has been a big help. Being able to send out a video via email instead of trying to gather the workforce together.
At the same time, misinformation and disinformation are running rampant. Workers may turn to social media for help with information gaps, and false information is easy to find on those platforms. Phishing schemes center on Covid-19 relief checks and desperate searches for PPE. The fact that companies are using new technologies for communication makes less tech-savvy workers more vulnerable to messages from bad actors.
Add the fact that expert advice on change in industry during the pandemic includes things like, “Be prepared for change in the supply chain.” That could cover anything from a need for alternative packaging sources to delivery via trained bats.
Many manufacturers are discovering that a reliance on paper records makes it hard for them to cope with upstream and downstream changes. Being unable to predict where bottlenecks might come from makes it overwhelming to prepare for extra resource needs, too.
IoT, Big Data, cloud computing, and new payment technologies are all emerging as possible solutions. However, companies that weren’t prepared to jump into Industry 4.0 before the pandemic are finding it hard to prioritize the elements they need the most.
Vaccinations could change everything. In the meantime, if you need service or support for Rexroth industrial motion control, we can help. Call us for immediate assistance.