MTM – Work design productive and safe

2016 German MTM Conference: "The work of the future will involve making decisions"

Informative, interactive and entertaining – this was the feedback on the 2016 MTM German Conference. Interesting lectures dealing with the working world 4.0, exciting live surveys among the participants and an equally interesting and amusing glimpse of the efficiency and the quirks of the human brain in the age of digitization ensured that those attending enjoyed the time.

What do you associate with the term Industry 4.0? The more than 150 participants responded to this question, not with one answer, but with many using their cell phone, iPad or laptop – digitally collected and presented in a cloud. Prof. Volker Stich, Managing Director of FIR e.V. at RWTH Aachen University, picked up the results in his lecture covering the opportunities presented by digitization. “The work of the future will involve making decisions,” he stated. “As a result, the requirements for qualifications in employees will be correspondingly high. Teamwork, for example, will be given even more importance through the strong degree of networking and interdisciplinary cooperation. Digitization does not mean acquiring digital toys, but companies need to reinvent themselves. Corporations of the future will be learning companies and firms that have a digital map and use artificial intelligence to redesign processes.” Stich appealed to his listeners to not just observe the development, but consciously help shape digital change. “Let’s proceed with greater determination!” he said.

Prof. Peter Plapper from the University of Luxembourg outlined the vision of business-wide optimization of the value stream. “On the way to Industry 4.0, it’s necessary to move from rigid to agile value stream management,” he said. “The human factor plays an important role in this process,” Plapper stated. Dr. Norbert Huchler from the Institute for Sociological Research in Munich argued in favor of the humanization of work. “This means using the benefits of technology and not trying to make technology more and more like humans,” he added. Huchler agreed with Stich on what the company of the future would look like. “We must also change goals in the ongoing process – that’s the mark of an agile company.”

Kilian Grefen from Delta Management Beratung GmbH replaced Thorben Albrecht, State Secretary at the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, who was prevented from attending by a cabin crew strike, at short notice. Grefen introduced a new software tool for productivity management. This tool was jointly developed with the German MTM company in order to enable even fairly small and medium-sized enterprises to introduce the concept of productivity management. The tool functions as a web-based unit, is able to operate in a cloud and covers the complete cycle in productivity management. Christina Hesse, Industrial Engineer at Leopold Kostal GmbH & Co.KG, dealt with the topic of “Future-oriented employee qualifications – humans on track for the working world 4.0.” You can read more about it here.

Following two awards – Dr. Olga Erohin, Miele & Cie. KG, was presented with the MTM Award for her doctoral thesis and Matthias Kraneis, Project Manager for Industrial Engineering at Vaillant, was made an MTM Fellow – neuroscientist Prof. Lutz Jäncke from Zurich brought the conference to a conclusion. He explained in a comprehensible and entertaining way how our brain affects our thinking, actions and feelings – and that this sometimes has very little to do with reason. He explained that we would not become multi-taskers in the digital age either, “for people,” he stated, “are conditioned to only see what is essential.” His lecture, like the other lectures at the German conference, will be available for people to see and hear at the media center in the near future.

Impressions of the 2016 MTM German Conference can be found here.

The recordings of some exciting lectures (in German) can be found here.

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