“Goodbye to the old working world, hello to ‘New Work’!”

27 October 2020
“New Work” in the Digital Age

In control cabinet manufacturing, the digital transformation is changing not only the specific work processes, but also the way people work. The focus is shifting more and more to creative and flexible working methods, and classical hierarchies, work hours and work environments are loosening their hold. “New Work” is becoming the “new normal” in Minden as well – WAGO is encouraging this transformation, in order to remain a reliable partner for control cabinet manufacturing customers and an attractive employer for future applicants.

At a Glance:

  • Individual self-realization and personal development are central values.
  • The four pillars of the “New Work” transformation
  • “New Work” practices give WAGO employees more space for creativity and innovation
  • Control cabinet manufacturing processes need to be made more efficient and homogeneous
  • Digital tools allow more flexible work environments
  • Save time with the new modular Pro 2 Power Supply

The Transformation of the Working World into a Knowledge Economy

“The transformation of the working world has led us, through the industrial revolution, to a knowledge economy. The path from here to the digital economy is no longer very far.” For Nicole Kreie, Director of International Project Service at WAGO Kontakttechnik, the question is not whether digitization will continue to transform work environments, but rather how fast this transformation will occur. Knowledge doubles every few years; it is becoming harder and harder to filter news and knowledge to find the essential information. “These days, managing, maintaining and efficiently using this accumulating knowledge are essential.” This inevitably leads to digitization, which will transform both work processes and information processes.

The crisis caused by the outbreak of the global Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated how quickly a change to external circumstances can affect people’s work environments, by forcing companies to accelerate the digital transformation process. “And it’s made clear that even in an industry that is crucial in driving product innovation on the market, we don’t always know what’s coming – but that’s all the more reason we need to be prepared for current events.”

These days, managing, maintaining and efficiently using the accumulating knowledge are essential

Nicole Kreie, Director of International Project Service at WAGO Kontakttechnik

“New Work” Requires Inner Work

However, digitizing work environments without taking people into consideration won’t fly, emphasizes Kreie. “More and more, the focus will be on people’s skills.” After all, it’s always the employees who generate new ideas and set trends. And the concept of “New Work” plays a crucial role in this – self-realization and personal development are central values, and individuals’ mindsets matter. “What is essential is for everyone to be willing to get involved, to develop their skills further and work towards the transformation of their own accord.”

The Four Pillars of the “New Work” Transformation

At WAGO, the “New Work” transformation is defined as consisting of four pillars: “people,” “processes,” “technologies” and “business models.” It is important to understand that these four elements are closely intertwined in order to fully exploit the opportunities offered by digital technologies. However, a new technology can only reveal its full potential added value when the people involved – the employees – are transparently integrated into the processes.
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The demand for more compact forms of data combination and provision is reflected in the constant development towards product miniaturization.

Nicole Kreie, Director of International Project Service at WAGO Kontakttechnik

Space for Creativity and Innovation

The “New Work” transformation also plays a central role for WAGO in remaining attractive to qualified applicants in a competitive labor market. More and more elements of mobile and digital work are being adopted at this Minden company. The goal is for work practices like desk-sharing, co-working and mobile offices to be less tied to fixed individual workspaces. The new work practices give WAGO employees more space for creativity and innovation, the impact of which can be seen, for example, in controller or software program development – and this benefits WAGO’s control cabinet manufacturing customers. The focus is on better features for hardware, intuitive operation of software and optimized products that provide more space and flexibility with maximum performance. “The demand for more compact forms of data combination and provision is reflected in the constant development towards product miniaturization,” says Kreie. In relation to control cabinet manufacturing, this is seen, for example, in junction box connectors, rail-mount terminal blocks and controllers, all of which have become smaller. Complete control cabinet units scaled down onto PCBs now seem to be possibility.

Making Control Cabinet Manufacturing Processes More Homogenous

Digitization along the entire value-added chain and data consistency across systems are also prerequisites for automated processes in controller and switchgear manufacturing. Kreie divides the work processes into two core areas: “We have the upstream domain of engineering and the downstream one of manufacturing. Both domains need to find ways to interlink the processes efficiently and homogeneously.” She describes the following example: By preprocessing all the data in advance as a digital image in corresponding CAE tools and then handing it over to the manufacturing domain, a switchgear manufacturer in the engineering domain has automatically shortened the processes – because everything is automated and interlocking. The entire nature of specialization has to adapt a bit, which includes the possibility that job descriptions could also change. “We are seeing many customers that no longer restrict their offerings solely to switchgear construction, but instead have expanded their portfolios to process data for other customers or program interfaces for this data.” In the manufacturing domain, this requires specialists who can correctly interpret this data for additional processes and work with it.

The Right Tools for Flexible Work

WAGO’s digital tools serve to promote the concept of a more flexible working world according to the “New Work” concept and achieve automated processes in controller and control cabinet manufacturing. Complete digitization of the engineering process – from planning to assembly – allows parts of the process, as well as the entire assembly of the rails, to be placed in WAGO’s hands. Projects are planned using CAE software; this directly loads the data, which is based on the eCl@ss Advanced classification standard, into the WAGO Smart Designer Configurator. This allows data to be structured easily and also performs a plausibility check. In order to make things especially easy for customers, the latest Smart Designer add-on offers a quote pricing option for configured WAGO control cabinet components – DIN-rails, terminal blocks or rail assemblies. This allows users to get a quick overview of the total costs of a planned control cabinet, from anywhere and at any time. Finally, the digitization process is initiated automatically when ordering process is set into motion.

Save Time with Modular Power Supplies

WAGO also offers control cabinet manufacturers an additional time- and cost-saving solution with the new modular Pro 2 Power Supply, which provides data from the process and supplies a constant power at all times – for everything from simple applications to automation with high power requirements. For data collection and read-out of status information, a dedicated communication module can be connected to the power supply unit at any time, allowing selection of the desired protocol for coupling to the automation and control level.

WAGOdirect Special: The Control Cabinet of the Future

Our control cabinet components support you in preparing for the future – today. In our second special edition of WAGOdirect Special, “Control Cabinet Manufacturing,” you’ll learn about all the important issues shaping the control cabinet of the future!

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