Journal Published Online: 20 October 2020
Volume 4, Issue 3

Empowering the Workforce in Post–COVID-19 Smart Manufacturing Systems



The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has exposed many issues within the global value chains and caught many companies with their guard down during the early stages of their digital transformation. Several COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as travel restrictions, social distancing, and remote work were quickly introduced, and many manufacturing companies have struggled to keep their factories operational. As a result, smart technologies, such as artificial intelligence and wearables, have been rapidly deployed on the shop floor to mitigate the COVID-19 impact with the short-term objective of keeping the workforce safe and the facilities compliant with the requirements to remain open. The majority of these newly introduced and rapidly deployed smart systems carry a significant price tag. This paper explores the impacts of this rapid adoption of smart technologies with regard to the workforce’s role in smart manufacturing systems during and post–COVID-19. Furthermore, we attempt to provide initial insights to the question: “What is the long-term impact and value of these rapidly deployed and sophisticated smart technologies in the post–COVID-19 Smart Manufacturing Systems?”

Author Information

Wuest, Thorsten
Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, USA
Romero, David
Department of Industrial Engineering, Tecnológico de Monterrey, Mexico City, Mexico
Cavuoto, Lora A.
Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA
Megahed, Fadel M.
Farmer School of Business, Miami University, Oxford, OH, USA
Pages: 5
Price: Free
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Stock #: SSMS20200043
ISSN: 2520-6478
DOI: 10.1520/SSMS20200043