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5iR unravelled

What it will mean to Smart Manufacturing  when embracing the People Centric Focus

Let’s start with the elephant in the room, shall we? Firstly, industries are still trying to get to grips with 4IR…and now we are talking about 5IR.  Simply put, we are starting to recognise the need to intentionally connect the art of being HUMAN, and creating harmony with IT, Technology, Robotics and Automation in the Manufacturing Industry. 

Man and Machine Unite!

As MESA Africa invests heavily into raising awareness of the phenomenal solutions and strategies in Industry, they are also investing equally in people development, best practices, value add training and education to improve the synergy and growth of upcoming talent too. 

So, the golden question is, “Why is 5iR so important and what is the intention in bringing synergy between People centric approaches in the way we target innovation?

Some of the lessons learnt over the last few years along, will show that many organizations recognize the importance of integrating human elements with technological advancements to enhance efficiency, productivity, and innovation. Especially since, people development was put on the back burner.


Why do we need understand it, some may bother to ask, whilst my thoughts are….what happens if you don’t?

Maybe this will help stimulate your thoughts and allow you to investigate further. In fact, here are some of the advantages of integrating the 5IR approach into your Leadership Strategy, Business plans, KPI’s and vision for the next 5 years. 

Enhanced Productivity: By leveraging automation and technology in the manufacturing processes, repetitive and mundane tasks can be automated, allowing employees to focus on more strategic, creative, and complex aspects of their work. This can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

Innovation: The combination of human creativity and technology often leads to innovative solutions and products. People bring unique insights, emotional intelligence, and critical thinking skills, while technology can provide the tools to bring these ideas to life and scale them.

Customer Experience: Integrating technology with people-centric approaches can significantly improve customer experience. Automated systems can handle routine inquiries, freeing up human resources to address more complex and personalized customer needs. After all, the whole point of upgrading and innovating, was supposed to be all about a more amazing industry, customised to provide customers with excellence. 

Agility and Adaptability: In today's fast-paced business environment, organizations need to be agile and adaptable. We are always hearing about AGILITY and ADAPTABILITY, yet few understand how to implement it, in real life situations. By combining human adaptability with technological tools, companies can respond more quickly to changes in the market and industry.

Skill Development: Embracing technology requires ongoing skill development for the workforce. The synergy between people-centric approaches and technology involves providing training and support to employees to ensure they can effectively use and benefit from the available tools. This is where most companies have a scotoma of note. They invest in technical skills and now they are stuck with human behavioural issues. This is why, skills development, EQ and so much more, is needed. I guess EQ especially, as common sense, ain’t that common.

Ethical Considerations: As technology advances, ethical considerations become increasingly important especially in the Manufacturing industry. Let’s include the important discussion of ESG’s here for a moment. By uniting the human experience with technology, we need to make sure that technology is developed and used in a responsible and ethical manner, taking into account social, cultural, and ethical considerations. That is part of the brilliance of the innovation happening in the Manufacturing industry, from food security, to alleviating human suffering, poverty, supply chain, healthcare, infrastructure development and so much more. 

Think about it. Since everything is geared to creating a better, more seamless experience for human beings, so why not enjoy the ride whilst learning more about how you can explore this area of growth, more intentionally?

You still need convincing? Then how about some advantages to whet your appetite?

Advantages of Industry 5.0 include:

  • the creation of high-value jobs, 
  • personalized services for customers
  • offering real-time data, real time decisions and real time excellence
  • enhanced design freedom for workers
  • advanced robots and manufacturing innovations will free up human capacity to concentrate on other areas, 
  • business agility with positive societal impact
  • the better automation of manufacturing processes
  • human workers that concentrate on delivering bespoke products and services
  • and a company that intentionally adopts a human-centric, resilient, and sustainable approach for future success.

I read an amazing article by Jorge Zuazola, where it mentions – “Digital strategies evolve through adaptive leadership” 

I felt that was so profound, because you are essentially balancing the act of being human, with the strategic development of our automated world, to work hand in hand, with leadership. There can be nothing further from the truth, than the need for human development to also take precedent over WHY, we are striving for excellence in the 5IR space. 

I would ask a simple question – “Who is on the receiving end of all of this fantastic upgrades, innovation and progress?” Ain’t it human beings? 

So really, it’s a no brainer. 

My belief is simply this. Join us on this exciting new journey and let’s learn together and allow us to help you! Let’s collaborate, share ideas, brainstorm, mastermind and connect with solution focussed, meaningful discussions. 

5IR, is here, you just haven’t realised it yet 😊

To learn more about how we can add value to your journey, kindly connect with Jane Collett (MESA Africa Marketing & Communications) to find out about our upcoming 2024 Annual Summit and monthly Knowledge Sharing 4 Information events.  jane@mesa-africa.org |  or visit the website and view the Events Calendar

Author - Dr. Arthie Moore- Robberts

Leadership Strategist 

MESA Africa EXCO Member