The firm is a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Safran Transmissions Systems. Located in Poland’s Aerospace Valley, Ropczyce was well located to attract representatives of several major manufacturers from the sector, as well as those from their supply chain. The subject of the event was optimising production processes. The event was opened by Alan Davies, AGI Poland’s managing director, and Andrew Taylor, the Aero Gearbox International’s CEO.
The main presentation was from Grant Thornton’s [bpcc.org.pl/uploads/ckeditor/attachments/14751/Grant_Thornton_Prezentacja.pdf], which opened a fascinating discussion about the pros and cons of introducing new automation into existing processes.
The presentation showed the potential cost savings associated with the implementation of various optimisation programmes. [Link to Grant Thornton’s presentation] Much of the debate was about the skills that go with the technologies, and the need to improve workplace culture as well as implementing new solutions. The education and training of young people, who will be needed to operate the machines of the future, was also touched on. To what extent should Poland focus on educating Masters of Engineering, and how necessary will vocational schools be in an era of mechatronics, Internet of Things (IoT), big data and Industry 4.0?
The second presentation, from Łukasz Chodkowski, managing director, Poland, Déhora International, focused on the workforce, in particular on optimising shift work. He presented the idea of self-rostering, whereby production-line employees can organise their own working time (within limits), with a smart algorithm to juggle their need for work-life balance. The system fits in with the production planning process, optimising labour input and manufacturing output.
Employers across all sectors in Poland, in particular manufacturing, are faced with increasing staff turnover, as record low unemployment and rising wages mean employees are quicker to change jobs than before. Mr Chodkowski spoke about the changing needs of Poland’s workers, no longer just chasing ever-higher wages, but increasingly concerned about a good atmosphere in the work place, leisure time and employer branding. [Link to Déhora presentation]
There was a lively debate following the two presentations which highlighted the different problems faced by firms in the region’s aerospace sector, and the solutions which are being used to solve them. Issues surrounding future skills needs will be taken forward by the BPCC at regional and national level.