The new generation of quality managers won’t accept paper processes. In fact, they’re not likely to be happy with Excel either.
Their thinking goes something like this – Why waste paper or spend hours filling in Excel sheets when you can automate? These days you can easily get a cloud-based quality management system (QMS) to do routine tasks for you, giving you more time to work on quality improvements.
Digital natives see technology as not just a tool, but a way to free up time for innovation and creativity. They expect autonomy in their work and thrive in an environment where they feel empowered.
Sadly, most manufacturing companies are slow to catch on.
Recent research shows that 80% of small to mid-sized manufacturing plants in the USA still rely on paper forms and manual data entry into systems like Excel or ERP systems.
This explains why 22% of industries struggle to attract and retain “digital natives”, spelling bad news for the future of manufacturing unless something is done to address this issue.
Digital natives – why do you need them in manufacturing?
Digital natives are people who value environments where tech is integrated in innovative ways. They seek roles where their tech skills are appreciated and valued. Most younger Millennials and Gen Z fall into this category as they have grown up in the internet age.
Attracting digital natives can be a real asset to any quality team – they can easily embrace technology and make the change towards the factory of the future. They bring a more creative approach to work compared to previous generations. But do you really need them in your factory?
Deciding against hiring digital natives might initially seem like a good idea – you’d stick to what you know because this might have worked quite well anyway. However, as a wise man once said, ‘There is no growth in a comfort zone’. And that’s not the only problem.
The whole new generation is digitally native. If manufacturing is not appealing to them, they will choose other industries. With the high average age of manufacturing personnel, this is a big risk for the industry. Should your quality employees leave or retire, you might end up with no quality team altogether.
Fortunately, there are four strategies you can use to attract digital natives and keep them engaged in their quality management role.
Blend old with the new
The first step is to identify areas in your quality processes that might benefit from digital tech. You can involve your quality team to brainstorm ideas from their first-hand experience. Key areas often include:
- Automating data collection and analysis
- Moving towards cloud documentation
- Using mobile apps for on-the-go tasks
These are things that can be fairly easily integrated with your existing systems and will give you some quick efficiency gains, as well as helping you attract the best talent.
Offer continuous growth
Digital natives are highly focused on developing their tech skills. They’re attracted to job roles that offer them access to the latest tech and a culture that encourages innovation and experimentation.
Clearly, in the field of quality management, experimentation has to be balanced with risk. The solution is to create controlled environments for experimentation where new ideas are piloted in a small-scale or simulated scenario. This will satisfy their thirst for innovation and give them the autonomy they seek, without putting your core operations at risk.
Encourage knowledge sharing
Knowledge sharing is second nature to digital natives. The internet has made information and knowledge widely and freely available and they expect the workplace to be the same. That’s why it’s a good idea to set up mentorship programs that facilitate knowledge exchange.
Younger staff can gain industry insights from more experienced employees and in return digital natives can share their tech skills. It’s all about building a cohesive team dynamic to boost overall efficiency and productivity.
Invest in tech
Without some kind of investment in cutting-edge tech, you’re going to find it difficult to hire digital natives and keep them on-board.
Look for tools that streamline data collection, data analysis, project management, and collaborative work, as these are usually well-received by digital natives. Make sure to choose tech that enhances your processes while also being appealing and intuitive to digital natives.
A cloud-based quality management system (QMS) ticks a lot of boxes for digital natives. Implementing a QMS such as AlisQI provides:
- Centralized Access: A cloud-based QMS streamlines quality management by offering a single platform accessible anywhere, anytime. This fits with the digital natives' mobile lifestyle.
- Real-Time Collaboration: Make sure your team members are all up to date with instant alerts and feedback. Digital natives thrive in a lively and forward-thinking workplace.
- Data-Driven Insights: Having advanced analytics at your fingertips means more informed decisions and continuous improvement.
- Scalable and Flexible: Cloud solutions are designed to grow with your business, allowing you to adapt easily to change without manual updates or downtime.
- Robust Security: Reassure stakeholders with solid security and compliance features.
Find out how AlisQI can help streamline quality processes and attract the brightest talent – book a demo today.