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The leaders of Kibar Holding know that acquiring technology is easy, but employee engagement, like love, is something that can’t be bought.

 “Our goal is to be the Industry 4.0 leader in Turkey” says Ufuk Özdemir, Group HR Director at this large Turkish conglomerate dealing in steel and aluminum, and exporting to over 100 countries. “The only way to achieve this goal is to have engaged employees with the right skills. Yes, we are investing in machines, but we’re also investing heavily in people.”

The factory of the future

Manufacturing executives realize that Industry 4.0 (i4.0) is revolutionizing the factory of the future, but there is a widening gap between ambition and transformative action.  As KPMG explains in a paper titled Beyond the Hype, the challenges are manifold. Strategy, business model, technology, systems and processes are all part of the equation for success, but the biggest challenge is people.

The fourth industrial revolution demands significant change. New ways of working, new skills and capabilities, new operating models, new roles and responsibilities will be required. This means manufacturers must adjust their talent strategy to acquire and retain the skills needed to operate in the i4.0 environment. A new culture is needed to manage the new ‘digital employees’ and to encourage greater innovation, collaboration and risk taking.

According to research by Deloitte about the augmented workforce of the future, this new culture will be especially critical because even though tasks are being automated, the human parts of work are becoming more important. Skills such as empathy, communication, problem solving, persuasion, personal service and strategic decision making are more valuable than ever.

The task at hand for HR professionals now is to find leaders who can develop visionary talent strategies and are open to partnering with outside organizations to diversify the recruitment pool. They must find creative ways to position i4.0 as a competitive differentiator.

 Mastering your own career

One way to become a leader in i40, for example, is to be perceived as a ‘cool’ place to work. Because the company is technologically advanced, data-driven and highly innovative, Kibar can attract new talent to the industrial sector.

But with 23 companies in the group, Kibar has always had a hard time keeping track of its workforce. Kibar is a diversified industrial group for metal, automotive, packaging, construction materials, real estate, logistics and energy.

One key requirement was to have a leadership model that fostered knowledge sharing across the various companies. A manager who has improved efficiency in a car-parts factory could probably do the same in a ketchup factory. But to enable such synergies, Kibar needed one view of its workforce and shared talent management processes.

The company decided to implement SAP SuccessFactors to get a single view of its talent and to centralize HR processes. Kibar’s new HR system, called Maestro, enables employees to take employment opportunities into their own hands and be the masters of their own career development. It’s a win win approach. Employees are more engaged, and Kibar has also become more agile due to the ability to deploy its talents across the firm.

“Thanks to the solutions, we can easily track and report on competency gaps per entity, per company and for the entire group. Our goal was to make every manager, everywhere, an HR manager for his team. But to do that, you need a system that’s simple to use. That’s one of the many benefits of the SAP SuccessFactors solutions,” says Ufuk.

Maufacturing today requires rejuvenation in many areas, especially when it comes to drawing next generation talent into the workforce. Thanks to technology, Kibar is now able to cascade goals and knowledge across the entire group and track and measure the competences it needs to remain one of Turkey’s most successful companies.

And thanks to its forward-thinking people strategy, Kibar is certainly well positioned to be Turkey’s leader in Industry 4.0.

Follow me on Twitter: @magyarj

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