Manufacturing Automation

Agile Leadership in Manufacturing Automation

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In any industry, the importance of adapting to new technologies such manufacturing automation that can improve and automate processes is paramount. With a rapidly changing digital world powered by data, robotics, and artificial intelligence, you need technology to remain competitive.

Artificial intelligence is changing the world with its ability to automate and streamline manufacturing processes. In manufacturing, automation stands to not only increase your performance output but to make for a safer work environment that protects rather than replaces your employees.

But without an agile approach to leadership, your manufacturing business will fail to make the adjustments it needs to maximize the potential of automation technology. Understand the role of leadership in implementing automation, then explore the skills you need to flexibly adapt.

The Role of Leadership in Manufacturing Automation

The world of manufacturing is changing all the time. Advancements in technology bring about new processes and policies that can be hard on employees. With a workforce struggling with change and the fear that automation will displace their jobs, effective leadership is an absolute necessity. The right leader will help a workforce adjust to change while ensuring that worker concerns are addressed.

A wide variety of breakthroughs in manufacturing automation have allowed companies to minimize waste, cut costs, and even automate certain tasks within a factory. These breakthroughs include:

  • Automated production lines for raw materials
  • Automated assembly lines
  • Robotic inventory management
  • Computer-aided design
  • Algorithmic quality assurance

With all these machine-aided processes within a manufacturing facility, workers may find themselves hard-pressed to understand the systems they work with. Additionally, fears that worker positions might be replaced by robotics can impact productivity and morale.

As AI only continues to improve, so too does the potential of your manufacturing ventures. However, without addressing the concerns of a workforce through agile leadership, it will be difficult to obtain the success that automation makes possible. Therefore, leaders in manufacturing must develop the skills they need to produce an effective and highly automated workforce.

The Skills You Need to Lead Effectively

Businesses of all kinds are adopting new hardware and software tools that can automate processes, improve productivity, and quite simply make life easier for workers. However, using new tech is always an adjustment. As many as 68% of workers say they encounter at least one challenge with working with job software. Addressing these challenges is where agile leadership can be especially effective.

With the proper skill set, a leader can bridge communication gaps, remain open to innovation, and tackle any problem that occurs head-on. These skills are all elements of agile leadership in the digital age that are instrumental to coordinating successful automation in manufacturing.

The following are the skills you should hone to make the most of your automation endeavors:


The effectiveness of any leader depends on their ability to communicate. The emotional intelligence, empathy, and care you show in managing a workforce can make all the difference in how productive your employees are.

Especially as you deal with implementing new tech systems, your ability to communicate objectives, functions, and workflows is vital. For example, your employees will struggle to learn new processes. Quality communication can help them understand.

Additionally, if your employees are concerned that they might be replaced by new automation technology, a simple speech from you about how this tech is designed to assist them rather than replace them can mitigate the risk of internal sabotage.


Then, an agile leader must be able to innovate. An open-minded approach to tech integration will help make this possible. This means collaborating with all your employees, garnering feedback, and continuously exploring advancing tech systems to ensure the success of your business.

No one can innovate alone. It takes a team to understand what problems are occurring in the manufacturing process and how to go about solving them. By keeping an open mind, a natural leader invites the kind of feedback they need to address the problems that will occur in automation.

While they might be more precise, no machine is perfect. As a result, your automated processes will encounter problems. Keep an open mind, then develop your problem-solving skills.


Problem-solving is a skill that no leader should be without. Your ability to assess a situation, explore potential solutions, and then execute a plan can make all the difference in coordinating automation tech with human workers.

In the modern world, one of the best tools you can use to improve your problem-solving abilities is that of data analytics. This form of business analysis relies on cold, hard facts, typically generated from the same tools we use to automate manufacturing processes. From Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to digital twinning models for manufacturing equipment, a range of information can be available to you with the right approach.

Then, it’s up to you to practice analyzing this data, forming a narrative, and then translating that narrative into an actionable strategy.

Creating an Agile Workplace for Automated Solutions

The reason agile leadership is so vital to modern manufacturing processes is the same reason automation is possible at all. Technology is advancing all the time; you need the skills to implement this tech without alienating and aggravating your entire workforce.

From communicating with clarity and empathy to learning how to problem solve, agile leadership can help guarantee the success of your autonomous tools. By practicing these skills, you’ll find you maintain a happier, more efficient workforce in which both humans and robots can thrive.

Indiana Lee
Indiana Lee lives in the Pacific Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors regularly with her two dogs. Indiana also has experience in owning and operating her own business. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @indianalee3.