No fear of digitization
Digitization has many benefits and sometimes even makes our everyday lives easier. The digital transformation nevertheless also causes anxiety. The term evokes the idea that job profiles are changing and machines are replacing people. An interview with an expert and the examples of three Swiss Post employees highlight the challenges and opportunities presented by digitization.
“Receptiveness to new ideas and a certain degree of composure are beneficial,” is Dr Sarah Genner’s advice for employees when dealing with digitization. The media and digitization expert explores the impact of digitization on people and society. She has some reassuring words. Since the start of industrialization, the various waves of automation have created more jobs than those taken away by technological change. Innovative technologies always entail new job profiles. Dr Genner nevertheless clearly underlines that: “People who long for routine, have difficulty setting priorities and are not technology-minded will struggle with the rapidly progressing digital transformation.”
Digitization enables lots of people to work on a mobile basis and flexibly in day-to-day life thanks to apps, programs and online communication. The spheres of professional and private life are becoming blurred, but these opportunities are increasing job satisfaction on the whole,” according to the digitization expert’s analysis. There is nevertheless also a downside to flexibility in everyday life: “As work and leisure time are becoming increasingly intertwined, there are dangers for people who find it difficult to set boundaries or who work in companies or sectors where there is an ‘always on’ culture,” explains Dr Genner. It is vitally important that people don’t feel under pressure to work all the time due to digitization.
Using technology effectively
Digital technologies boost productivity and enhance cooperation between people, but only if they are used properly. Sarah Genner believes it is the duty of companies and management to ensure new technological opportunities are deployed effectively. Regular staff training is essential in many professions, such as in the logistics sector, for example. This is a key factor in ensuring new technologies are used correctly and taking full advantage of all they have to offer.
Swiss Post is well aware of the challenges and opportunities presented by digitization. It provides employees with digital support in many jobs today. This is illustrated by three examples:
Andreas Weyermann, an employee at Swiss Post Solutions in Berne, is testing the HoloLens in a pilot project: “HoloLens gives me an overview of several sorting shelves for letters. The special glasses project a hologram with the labelling on the shelves when sorting. This allows me to keep track of where letters belong and whether anything has changed as far as the recipient is concerned.”
Sandro Suter, dispatcher at Härkingen, today carries out container planning on his computer using the drag-and-drop method: “Drivers previously had to report to the Control Center window to find out where their delivery had to go. Today, we carry out planning for the returnable containers at the click of a mouse on the screen. The drivers pick up a ticket upon arrival and know immediately where to take their load.”
Luciano Campaniello, an employee of PostLogistics at the distribution base in Ostermundigen, is kept informed of customer the requirements: “As soon as I scan a parcel, I can see whether the customer has left any messages for me via “My consignments”. This means that I can leave the parcel at a place requested by the customer, such as with a neighbour. I previously had to put the delivery back on the vehicle if the recipient was not at home.”