Industry 4.0 is transforming the pulp and paper sector – but just as valuable is the expertise and experience gained over a career spent serving customers and collaborating with colleagues. We cannot allow this vast store of knowledge to exit the industry when people retire. Instead, we must establish succession plans to ensure that knowledge from senior specialists around best practice is successfully captured and integrated with new skills and perspectives from the younger generation.
Certain specialist technical skills only apply to specific industries, but ‘soft’ skills such as curiosity and creativity are universal, and can be transferred to great disruptive effect from one industry sector to another, replacing entrenched thinking and business as usual with new, innovative ways of working.
That is why, at ABB, our search for the best engineers extends beyond the pulp and paper industry to encompass a host of other industries – aeronautical (where I began my career before making the move to pulp and paper) and electronics being two compelling examples, where expertise in optics, electronics, signal analysis and detection, for instance, can be used to solve issues in paper mills.
At ABB, for example, we often recruit from non-engineering backgrounds; in fact, some of our most experienced engineers have a background in physics and chemistry and learned engineering at ABB.