Digital transformation does not require a different approach to other types of change within the manufacturing environment. Advances in equipment, technology or insights-gleaned (e.g., from ‘big data’) do not change the essence of activity – materials are still being consumed and converted into products to be shipped to customers. For a digital transformation some say you do not need to take a person-centric approach, at Argon & Co we disagree, For a transformation to be truly successful everyone in the facility, and especially the experienced operators, must be at the heart of the change.

Overinvest in skills and capabilities

Digitisation in manufacturing environments can enable new insights to drive improved  productivity and efficiency. However, this can only succeed if the organisation and its people understand how to leverage new capabilities and adopt  new ways of working. If people understand the drivers for change and their role in the solution, it will enable buy-in and enhance the prospects for durable change.

A critical part of this is developing the skills and capabilities to unlock the potential of digital manufacturing, built on a clear and inspiring vision to help people move from the ‘as is’ to the ‘to be’.

Recognise and address the impact on culture

The impact on culture of a new tool or technology must not be overlooked. Superficially this may not be apparent – we still make the same product, but we use tool X rather than tool Y. Fundamentally though the impacts are significant, including  the interactions between operators and processes, the  ways of working, the feel of the process, and volume of available data and information..

Companies increasingly realise their number one asset is their people, and the importance of fusing human experience and innovation with the power of digitisation for digital transformations to succeed.

Ensuring that the change both builds towards and is seen to build towards a better future is essential. Change culture requires engagement at all stakeholder levels to recognise the positives it brings – efficiency and insight, more value add and high levels of customer satisfaction.

Keep engagement levels high

The same truths hold true as for any other programme – people need to be brought on the journey:

  • Make sure each stakeholder understands what’s in it for them, so they are motivated to be part of the journey
  • Align leaders on a compelling vision to cascade. Unity sends a clear message to stakeholders
  • And lastly, realising a digital transformation is challenging and setbacks can be disheartening, so it is crucial that all successes are celebrated to help build momentum

In a fast-paced manufacturing environment, taking the time for niceties like these can be overlooked – but in a 24/7 operating environment keeping the sense of movement and transformation alive ensures teams remain committed to the goal.

Data and tech, and hearts and minds

While many focus on the process and system changes associated with digital transformation, we believe as much focus is needed on hearts and minds to ensure the investment of resources is matched by the resolve and commitment of teams to bring the future to life. Manufacturing of the future is here, now – so are the people who will deliver it – and in many cases, they are already in your organisations, you just need to unleash their potential.

To learn more, watch  the video below

If you are about to launch or are currently leading a transformation programme, our rapid Assessment 360° assessment tool will give you a readiness assessment against industry peers, click the link below to get started.

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Authors: Mark Johnson and Cat Brownlie

Greg Kinsey


[email protected]

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