Company leaders need their workers to understand and buy into the new connected factory philosophy and the benefits it brings. They need to take specific steps to implement the changes and to get them to stick.
Define Long Term Plans
While many companies plan for the short term, this transformation needs to plan at least five years out. Executives need to express the end goal and lay out the steps to achieve it. By presenting what success looks like with the new business practices, workers can better understand why the transition is necessary.
Heavy emphasis should be given to how these changes will allow the company will better meet its customers’ needs. This gives employees a frame of reference to understand how the new processes will affect the customers, who are ultimately the key to their success.
Leaders need to be out in front to execute the change. They need to demonstrate the behavior they expect. They will have to motivate and inspire workers to keep on the new path. Exuding the confidence that they are doing the right things will help employees feel more confident as well.
It’s important that leaders welcome questions and suggestions to make workers feel heard and like they’re a part of the change. Give the workers credit when implementing one of their ideas. They’re more likely to buy in if they feel like they’re contributing and can influence the transformations.
The company also needs to celebrate early successes. Set up small goals that show the changes are effective. Recognize those who are helping to keep other employees on track.
Train and Hire for New Skills
Making this change requires workers that have a new set of skills to deal with data, coding, software development, etc. To get there more quickly, companies will need a mix of new and experienced managers.
There are some different characteristics between experienced managers (learning the digital tools) and new managers who are digital natives (born into the digital world).
Current managers have manufacturing experience that new managers likely don’t. Their characteristics include:
For these workers, the company needs to provide as much training as they can to get them up to speed. For the skills they can’t train, they should promote outside education and/or online courses, including offering reimbursement if possible. They can even offer incentives for completing training programs.
New managers will need to be hired to cover skills that the current workers don’t have. These digital natives tend to share the following traits:
To hire these managers, company leaders need to build and promote the culture of the company as an attractive place for the digital natives to come work. There is a lot of competition for these skills and they will be in high demand.
Communication is the cornerstone of the operation. With visibility into the factories across the world, information sharing and best practices will help to get your entire operation working at its best. Leadership should provide easy ways to share knowledge and tips. Online tools make this easier than ever.
Collaborate to come up with better solutions that work for multiple departments and factories. Expand project teams to include departments and workers that are affected in ways management may not have understood before. Take the time to get points of view that can help projects and processes run more smoothly.
It’s hard for companies to change. It’s even harder to make the changes last. With something as large as the digital transition, company leaders need to have the right processes in place to succeed. By applying the points above, your company will be well on its way to getting your employees to buy in and make it work.
Alberto Martinez is CEO of Lantek, a leading company in the development, commercialization and integration of management software solutions (CAD/CAM, MES, ERP, Advanced Manufacturing) for the global sheet metal industry. Martinez teaches mechanical engineering and Business Administration to Masters students at Industrial Engineers University of Bilbao (2012 – 2017) and Deusto University of Bilbao (2014 – 2017).
Cookies en el sitio web de Lantek
Este sitio web utiliza cookies que nos permiten saber cómo está siendo utilizado el sitio. Dichas cookies no pueden identificarte. Si sigues utilizando este sitio web, asumimos que estás de acuerdo con esto.
Si quieres utilizar el sitio web sin cookies o deseas saber más, puedes hacerlo en este enlace.