Business innovation has always been central to firms’ ability to overcome disruption, driving up productivity and saving costs in the long term.
Labour shortages are a catalyst to invest in innovation – yet a recent survey by CIPD found that just 9% of firms plan to invest in technology as a way of addressing skill or labour shortages.
Change is never easy if you’re looking to deploy new technology but also maximise your people power – read our expert advice and resources to support your digital journey.
1 – What can technology deliver?
Start by diagnosing challenges and opportunities within your business – whether that’s adopting hardware or software – begin with the problem at hand, rather than tech. Identify manual or high labour-intensity processes which are lowering productivity or particularly at risk due to labour shortages.
Be aware that a single technology may not deliver everything in exactly the way you want it. But by deploying the 80:20 rule, where 80% improvement is better than none, you gain a better perspective on the positive return on investment (ROI) that technology adoption may have on your business.
Wincanton made significant investments in robotics to free up the time employees spent on repetitive and less attractive tasks as part of a company-wide shift to accelerate innovation. This boosted productivity as workers could be redeployed from stock management to higher-value roles like order fulfilment.
2 – Engage your suppliers
Suppliers are at the forefront of tech adoption and development, and by engaging them in your company’s challenges and business targets, you gain valuable insight into how tech can help you reduce the need for manual resourcing and improve staff’s engagement and productivity.
Online research and comparing approaches with peers are useful tools, but engaging directly with your suppliers is key to understand what solutions are out there – with plenty of suppliers offering advice, demonstrations, and training for your company.
3 – Get your people on board
Digital transformation and automation can raise concerns about job security for some workers – but the greatest gains are often a partnership between technology and people, not an either/or. Be clear about the purpose of new tech, timeframes for deployment and benefits for staff. Assess how automation and productivity improvements can translate into staff redeployment or higher skills investment, and communicate retraining and upskilling opportunities to get your workers on board.
UK Greetings, revolutionised its use of data – by increasing automation, live data reporting and advanced data modelling within the business. In six months, over 20 employees retrained and upskilled via online training resources, with the company seeing significant improvements in productivity and retail sales.
Member Case Studies
Wincanton's investment in automation to boost productivity helped to mitigate the impact of labour shortages
By training staff to work with autonomous robots, and deploying technology to supplement the recruitment process, Wincanton has improved productivity and filled the gaps left by reduced access to labour.
For more information please read the full case study.
Want to get started? Read our resources:
- Check out the latest labour market analysis from CBI Economics commissioned by The Recruitment and Employment Confederation
- Watch the highlights from our Labour Shortages CBI@10: how adoption and diffusion of technology can help
- Explore how to solve productivity challenges with tried and tested technologies
- Understand the benefits of fuelling your company’s digital transformation
- Read expert advice from our Annual Conference 2021: adopted by all - breakthrough ideas and technologies
- Find out more practical advice to help businesses build back better through innovation