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Skills and People

Remove the sting of the global skills gap: replacing SOPs with a digital service delivery platform.

Doug Hastings

This article is one of our favourites from around the web. We've included an excerpt below but do go and read the original!

Original source:
  • January 31, 2023
  • Skills and People

'It's upside down, wait, no it's back to front...'

Written Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have long been a staple of businesses across various industries.

However, these documents, while intended to provide clear guidance, often prove to be challenging to interpret and align with actual practices in the workplace. This is due to their tendency to be overly lengthy, overly technical, or simply outdated.

Tim Minchin started giving a graduation speech in 2013 apologising for his forthcoming analogies that would ‘start well but end up not making sense’.

So listen up, or you’ll get lost, like a blind man clapping in a pharmacy trying to echo-locate the contact lens fluid.

If we’re honest, following SOPs for technical workers is much the same. At least it was the point of Minchin’s joke.

The frustration and confusion that can arise for any new to industry starter when attempting to navigate complex and unwieldy procedures is immense, and is certainly no joke.

Whilst well intended, traditional SOPs lead to errors, inefficiencies, personal risk and an overwhelming lack of standardisation across the organisation.

The most pressing problem is that the increasing international skills gap is making the pain felt by traditional SOPs greater and greater. The old way of standardising is no longer relevant.

It is imperative that this issue is addressed to ensure the growth and prosperity of industries globally and the economy as a whole. Advanced manufacturing, mining, and utilities industries are no exception, and they must focus on digital transformation to maintain competitiveness and stay ahead of the curve.

Investing in a digital service delivery initiative is one of the most effective ways to tackle the skills gap and drive economic growth in these industries. The right digital service platform will replace traditional SOPs with digital workflows that both enhance the workers’ output as well as inform it.

There are five key benefits that highlight the significance of investing in digital service delivery initiatives and its impact on the future of advanced manufacturing, mining, utilities industries and the Australian economy.

1. Boosted productivity

Digital service delivery streamlines processes and increases efficiency, leading to enhanced productivity and cost savings.

By providing access to digital work instructions, especially those that provide in-flow learning opportunities, frontline workers no longer need to refer to physical manuals or wait for an expert to be available on site.

In fact, the Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) reports that businesses who have implemented digital service delivery initiatives have experienced a 10-15% increase in productivity.

This increase in productivity can be funnelled to help these companies to boost competitiveness, by way of service speed, downtime reduction or selling packaged service products.

2. Superior customer service

Digital service delivery improves the customer experience by providing fast and convenient access to help and expertise.

The key here is that any expertise should be available on-demand. Scaling a call centre is cost-prohibitive, and so as much expertise that is re-usable by multiple workers or customers should be recorded and distributed.

This is particularly crucial for advanced manufacturing and mining industries that deal with large volumes of customer requests and inquiries.

The Communications Council of Australia (CCA) found that 77% of customers prefer digital service over traditional methods of communication.

By adopting digital service delivery tools like remote expert assistance and just-in-time learning content, businesses can improve customer satisfaction and attract and retain customers, thereby boosting sales and revenue.

3. Global market access

Investing in digital service delivery enables businesses to reach a wider audience and expand their customer base, including accessing global markets.

This is crucial for Australia, a major exporting nation, as it can help to tap into new opportunities and reach new customers. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that exports from the mining industry alone accounted for around 10% of total exports in 2020.

As an example, one HINDSITE customer, KLINGE, no longer has to be present on sites for a portion of their service delivery. This in turns provides avenues to more regularly check in wth sites with limited access (restriction, location or time-based).

By adopting digital service delivery methodologies, these industries can increase their potential customer base and open up new opportunities for export.

4. Talent attraction and retention

By embracing digital transformation, businesses can attract and retain talent that are skilled in digital technologies.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) reports that demand for digital skills is growing faster than the actual supply of skilled workers available. These industries must invest in digital service delivery initiatives to attract and retain talent that they need to stay competitive.

From another perspective, increased access to digital avenues for remote and just-in-time expertise allows workers to feel better supported and nurtured for future career opportunities.

5. Future-proofing

Potentially the most obvious of benefits, digital service delivery initiatives enable businesses to stay relevant and maintain competitiveness in a rapidly-evolving digital landscape.

If advanced manufacturing, mining, and utilities industries continue to rely on traditional methods of service delivery, they risk falling behind and losing market share.

By investing in digital service delivery, these industries can ensure long-term sustainability and growth.

Replacing traditional SOPs and investing in digital service delivery initiatives areiimportant steps to take for the growth and prosperity of advanced manufacturing, mining, and utilities industries, and the Australian economy as a whole.

By boosting productivity, improving customer service, expanding their potential customer base, attracting and retaining talent and future-proofing, these industries will thrive.

The skills gap is still a pressing issue felt by businesses worldwide, and it is essential that skilled industries take proactive steps to address it.

The time is now for these industries to embrace digital transformation and reap the benefits it brings.

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