Sample Business Studies Paper on Digital Technologies

Introduction

Digital technologies have brought about a drastic change in companies across the globe. Essentially, productivity and employment have been significantly affected as the technologies have altered work performance, workers’ roles, and organization structure. Hence, new trends are emerging in the work environment, which have diversified the work process. Boeing is an aviation company that has completed 100 years of evolution and embraced digital technologies which have reshuffled work processes at the company. The company has implemented digital transformation by incorporating robotics, artificial intelligence, supply chain digitization, and automation of its factory. As such, employment and occupations have been significantly affected.

Digital Transformation in IT and its Impact

            Boeing was established in 1916 as a significant manufacturer of global airlines. As of now, the company is organized into three business units, which include commercial aircraft, defense, space and security, and Boeing Global Services. In the recent past, Boeing has experienced digital transformation in all its business units. The company commenced its digitization by shifting from a decentralized IT to a reframed IT for every business unit. As such, the leaders who were driving the IT were called into the drawing board to decide to enforce enterprise-level digitization (InfobasE, & Avenue Education (Firm) 2019). The transformation in IT led to the splitting of skilled professionals to various departments to enhance the better functioning of teams. More skilled workers were recruited to meet the demand in the IT department. Primarily, the company has been able to optimize time, processes, and mitigate risks using IT with the help of stable leadership.

Digital Transformation in Supply Chain and its Impact

Another area of interest that has experienced change due to digital transformation is the supply chain department. After persistent delays in delivery due to part shortages, the company decided to digitize its supply chain. The digitization was cumbersome since the company operates in 50 states and 140 countries, with over four million parts being delivered by over six thousand suppliers. As such, the system developed could find connection points between the manufacturers and the mechanic at the end of a chain. The company used leadership skills to get all the employees in the supply chain to visualize the whole process and collaborate where necessary.

Unfortunately, most of the employees did not survive during the change in the supply chain department due to changing roles. Reports from the Forbes magazine indicated that employees in the supply chain could not prove their worthiness. One of the anonymous employees at the company said: “I worked in areas where we had a perception that we were doing nothing other than monitoring the situations.” When contacted, the company responded by stating that it was doing all it could to ensure that changes in technology do not affect the employees (Forbes Magazine 2017). However, the company also stated that the employees needed to disabuse themselves of old and ingrained habits. Additionally, the company stated that it was nurturing its employees through in-training programs.

Application of Robotics and Its Impact

The use of digital technologies in Boeing’s assembly lines has twisted manufacturing processes at the company. More robots have been deployed in making aircraft. Most of the workers who worked on 777 jet fuselage have now to watch a riveting robot as it replaces the need for human involvement. The move to incorporate robots has sparked discussions on the impact of these technologies on jobs. Aero Mechanic, a newspaper published by the International Association of Machinists, raised a concern over the use of robots to cut down on manufacturing defects (Hill 2016). However, Boeing responded to the issue by highlighting that the involvement of robots reduces the chances of mistakes when making an airplane. The newspaper emphasized that Boeing’s advanced manufacturing could not only be tempering with quality assurance but also putting employment of personnel at a higher risk. On the other hand, Boeing’s website stipulates that their highest priority is the quality and safety of their products, and there are stringent measures in place to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements (Meyer 2015). Furthermore, the company states that it sets aside more than $3 billion annually on research and innovation for transforming all its business units. The company also states that its transformation in designing and building new products has yielded positive results in the past years.

Data Revolution and Its Impact

Boeing has also made a milestone in data solutions by embracing digital solutions as the company looks towards revolutionizing the future of work in the digital age. Currently, Boeing’s data structures support LOTAR (Long Term Archival and Retrieval), which is a cutting edge technology in data support using artificial intelligence (Boeing Company 2015). The company uses data to distribute engineering and manufacturing plans both in 2D and 3D. As such, the company has started utilizing database connections coupled with the Internet of Things to realize enhanced manufacturing. Massive changes in employment have accompanied the digital transformation in the data packaging. As such, more data scientists and artificial intelligence experts have been hired to ease the transition process (Evans & Lindsay 2018). There have been a shortage of employees in the field of artificial intelligence to the extent that the company has been hiring retired staffs to deal with complex projects.

Additionally, employees have to cope with changes due to changes in roles. The company has taken the necessary steps of training employees to adapt to the changing environment. Further, the company is investing in augmented reality to reduce the time used for training. As such, Boeing seeks to apply intuitive methods in creating an augmented reality work instruction with computer vision algorithms, which will reduce the cost and speed of training employees. Essentially, most of the staff in the company will have the necessary operational skills required to boost productivity in the company.  According to Boeing, its culture, which includes training, is veered towards the pursuit of innovation and technological advancement, and the leadership has done the best to realize this goal.

Transformation of DTE labs and its Impact

Boeing has also made a tremendous step in the use of digital technologies by setting up Digital Transformation Environment (DTE) labs and education centers in space. There is no other company that has made such a move in the aviation sector. Boeing’s achievement could have never been a success without technology. Through the establishment of the labs and education centers in space, the company has expanded training, cultivated knowledge-sharing platforms, and has paved the way for the next generation technology (Boeing Company 2014). Consequently, the state of the art technology utilized has reformed Boeing professionals with outstanding skills and experience. The labs have been the backbone of reformed architecture in the modern environment. Panpaliya, one of the researchers in the company, when interviewed by CNN, stated: “Boeing’s DT environment is very much alike to the Silicon Valley environment, having powerful programming and Ping-Pong tables.”  Indeed, the DTE is very different when compared to the outdated IT environments that have been in use. DTE has expanded workers’ skills and led to the employment of hundreds of people to pioneer the program and ensure the growth of technology. The majority of people who have benefited from the DTE are those with technical skills.

Transformation of Cloud Analytics and Its Impact

Boeing is also utilizing cloud analytics to provide support services to customers. As such, the company has embarked on the Internet of Things to reduce the burden to customers. Boeing 777 and 787 transmit 1MB and 28MB respectively; by incorporating sensors to the internet, the company is capable of providing support services to the airlines. Consequently, airline operators have been able to save on fuel and daily maintenance using operational dashboards provided by the company. To improve the efficiency of service delivery, Boeing partnered with Microsoft in 2016 to enhance the accessibility of services using mobile devices. Cloud analytics has enabled Boeing to establish a good relationship with customers (Atlas & Hendry 2014). Furthermore, cloud analytics tools have reduced the need for more personnel for customer care because it is automated. As such, most of the personnel working in customer support have been trained to cope with the changes in the company. According to Boeing’s chief executive, he emphasizes that for Boeing to be a global technological leader, then it must aim at producing the best from its technological investments.

Conclusion

Technological change affects production, employment opportunities, and existing employees. Essentially, Boeing, which is an aviation expert, has experienced drastic changes both in production and on employment. The production process has been enhanced through digital technologies with the help of the company’s leadership. As such, there is a minimal error in production, and the sophisticated supply chain has been simplified. On the other hand, more employment opportunities have been created while others scrapped. Additionally, the roles of employees have been changed to accommodate the change process. Indeed, technology has vast spread implications.

 

References

Atlas, L., & Hendry, L. (2014). Technology in society. Available from:                               < http://www.aspresolver.com/aspresolver.asp?MARC;3383093>.[14th                      October 2019]

Boeing Company. (2014). Boeing magazine. Seattle, Boeing Aircraft Co.

Boeing Company. (2015). Boeing news. Wichita, KS, Boeing Co.

Evans, J. R., & Lindsay, W. M. (2018). The management and control of quality.                Cincinnati, Ohio, South-Western.

Forbes Magazine. (2017). The Forbes scrapbook of Thoughts on the business of life.         New York, Forbes.

Hill, C. W. L. (2016). International business: competing in the global marketplace.

InfobasE, & Avenue Education (Firm). (2019). Aviation. Available from:                           <https://fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylists.aspx?xtid=182091>. [14th                       October 2019]

 

Meyer, A. (2015). Weekend pilots: technology, masculinity, and private aviation in           postwar America.