Tata Steel is working on digital twins of factories to help blue-collar workers work from home
Byline: Khushboo Tiwari
Bombay: Thanks to the difficult times of COVID-19, companies are now building a more flexible workplace future. IT, technical and clerical jobs transitioned easily to working from home, but blue-collar jobs did not.
The company has launched pilot projects creating digital twins of its factories to enable out-of-factory operations. Currently, Tata Steel is trialling the model in Jamshedpur.
Elaborating on the plans, Atrayee Sanyal, Vice President of Human Resource Management, Tata Steel, says: “When we talk about the Digital Automation Industry 4.0, we also think of the digital twins in our factories, as well as ‘to our blast furnaces in a way that the control room is completely outside the factory area – a different area where people can come in or operate from home. A pilot has already started and many more are to come.
While the company is already working on real-time AR-VR learning for new entrants, it is making progress in retraining and robotics to help manual workers shift to a flexible working mode.
“The work of should not only be available for people who do office-oriented jobs, people on other profiles. For that, retraining and robotics is a big leap and a time-consuming process. We also work a lot on building teams for a good process,” adds Sanyal.
Around 30% of Tata Steel’s other white collar profiles work from home or have the option to be location independent. The recruitment and onboarding process continues to be online with e-learning courses. However, the company plans to apply a 50-50 ratio to the integration. Some roles and profiles like this in IT have now fully shifted to working from home and opened doors for talent in every city.
“At one point during the pandemic, 70-80% of all white collar workers were working online. But our blue collar workers had to be in the office while people in the services and support system worked 100% from home. That was the scale of the change when things started. We want 100% of our employees to be in flexible mode,” says Sanyal.
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