Virtual collaboration defines new working world

Especially in times of the Corona pandemic, the whole working world is changing. Where short conversations could still be held directly in the office some time ago, loneliness often reigns today. Many employees work decentrally in home offices. But even before the Corona pandemic, it was clear that the world of work was about to undergo a major transformation. The increasingly complex demands placed on globally active companies require a new level of collaboration. This involves bringing together people who are geographically distant from each other, but who nevertheless work together. An effective and simple form of communication is required from all employees who work together on a site-by-site or even global basis.

In order to be able to form powerful, agile and cross-company teams, DESMA has integrated the so-called ‘Spaces’ in the new digital platform SmartConnect 4.U Ecosystem. Especially in complex projects, many employees are involved, and each individual is important for the success of the project. However, communication plays a decisive role for the efficiency of the team and thus of the entire project. In ‘Spaces’ DESMA offers a simple and intuitive way to form cross-company teams. The special communication rooms can be designed open or closed. Thus, confidential conversations, but also open discussions are possible. Especially the possibility to store documents in a central place and to make them available to others is an important point. This allows efficient and targeted joint work on individual documents, and all employees are always up to date. There are various options for avoiding miscommunications. For example, conversations can be linked directly to physical objects, such as production facilities.

But successful virtual collaboration is not only defined by communication, but also by knowledge sharing. Thus, DESMA shares with its customers all known data about the machines on the new digital platform SmartConnect 4.U Ecosystem. At a glance, it is possible to see what service calls, spare parts deliveries, inquiries, offers, orders and the like have taken place. This can even be broken down to the individual machines and thus a complete history is available. But the digital provision of machine documentation also has major positive effects on the analog world. For example, a maintenance employee always has all documentation in its most current form for dozens of machines at hand on a tablet PC. This eliminates the time-consuming task of maintaining and archiving documents in paper form. Particularly in large companies, maintenance personnel spend a lot of working time on the way between the workshop and the machine. To reduce unnecessary journeys, DESMA now offers its customers the possibility to access the control panel of the machine themselves and thus to use remote service. It does not matter whether only the way between the master office and the machine is to be saved, or the maintenance staff helps in the emergency service from home. With this tool it is even possible to offer company-internal and location-independent global service. To round off the collaboration, SmartShop makes it easy to order spare parts for machines. Interactive 2D drawings or even complete 3D models of the machines can be used. The customer sees the machine as it actually is in front of him. Spare parts can be ordered without any risk of confusion and free of language barriers.

DESMA provides another form of knowledge exchange in the form of webinars. Thereby, the special circumstances of the Corona pandemic can also be used in a special way. Because many employees who were previously heavily involved in production now have the opportunity to invest their time in training and further education due to production downtimes and cut-off supply chains. Of course, a virtual webinar is an interesting alternative to traditional training. Travel time and travel costs, which are incurred in the case of face-to-face events, are completely eliminated in the case of training courses held as webinars. Thanks to our extensive range of webinars, the topics are so varied that there is something for everyone. For example, the topic “Fundamentals of Elastomer Technology” is suitable for newcomers to the rubber processing industry. But even business people who otherwise only rarely have contact with production can efficiently acquire new knowledge here. In addition to the basics, new products and concepts are also presented to provide new food for thought, because this unusual time can of course also be used to reposition oneself. An up-to-date schedule of all webinars is available on the SmartConnect 4.U Ecosystem digital platform. Free registration is available to all customers at SmartConnect 4.U. For all those who can now spare even less time in their working day for further education due to the chaos that has arisen, DESMA offers an online learning portal on the new digital platform SmartConnect 4.U Ecosystem. This also enables learning independent of time at any time.

Due to the currently still existing travel restrictions, new machines have been successfully accepted digitally at DESMA for a good year now. For this purpose, investments were made in high-class equipment in order to guarantee perfect conditions. Where in the past a whole delegation had to travel for several days, today a DESMA employee on site at the machine connects all parties involved on a virtual way. Among others, he receives support from the corresponding sales representative who accompanies the machine acceptance from the home office. The employee at the machine is equipped with a headset, camera and laptop or tablet. The customer navigates the employee to all the points he wants to look at in more detail, which means that nothing stands in the way of uncomplicated acceptance. In the case of special questions, for example, the respective design engineer or project manager can be easily connected.

As it was not possible to hold the DESMA Open House as usual last year, it was also held digitally. After registration, the first XpertenForum enabled DESMA customers to participate in 13 digital workshops on interesting topics and the latest developments, to contact the experts directly in live chats or to watch live sessions. The platform and the workshops contained therein could be used 24/7 for 3 weeks and thus offered the necessary flexibility. The first digital in-house exhibition was a complete success, with over 1300 participants from 45 nations.

Especially in view of the victims the Corona pandemic is claiming from all of us, it is important to take something from it for the future. We should not only remember the social responsibility of each individual, but also the knowledge that it depends on each individual when a big task is at hand. Above all, good communication and coordinated cooperation are necessary. But not only in the context of society as a whole, but also in the world of work, the Corona pandemic has massively accelerated an already existing process. For example, many more people now work from home than before. Business trips and training courses can no longer be conducted as usual. Online meetings, digital team building, knowledge sharing in the form of digital platforms and webinars have permanently changed the way we work. Flexible working time models with a high home office share have the potential to lead to unimagined dynamics and commitment. Meeting via the web instead of on-site saves time, money and protects the environment. Employees are able to meet in America, Asia and Europe on the same day. Digital machine inspections also help to save resources. All these possibilities will have a lasting impact on our daily work and will change it permanently. Maybe after this transformation we will have more time and money for the actual projects. We at DESMA have already been on the way to this new, virtual working world for several years – become a part of it, too.