One of the biggest problems when bringing new technology to a business has always been change management.
Whether it’s the business side of manufacturing who do not want to spend the money to upgrade or the senior IT members who do not wish to move from their personal platform, an unwillingness to adapt to newer technology always limits the potential growth of an organization – and manufacturing is no different
In Part 4 of our Adrian Wood interview, I ask him his thoughts on getting teams to embrace change AND how DELMIA ORTEMs can be used to improve this change, but greatly increase productivity.
Here are Adrian’s thoughts on the subject:
Gene: I’ve interviewed so many different people within the industry of all sorts of different skill and expertise levels And it seems as though the onboarding is just one of the most frustrating, but essential aspects of this kind of planning software.
Gene: Just out of my own sheer curiosity, when it comes to onboarding, how can we get more people involved? Because it is such an industry wide issue of people who are unwilling to change just holding on to those spreadsheets. And it doesn’t matter how much you explain the value; change management is very complex and problematic for this process.
Gene: So, do you have any observations on that?
Adrian: There’s always pushback when you move from one process to another; even for a new process is dramatically more beneficial.
Adrian: You always have that! No one likes new technology!
Adrian: Recently, I got a note from my iPhone saying, “Hey, just so you know, you’re going to be upgraded to operating system 17. 1”. When upgrades like this happen, I always think to myself, “Oh no, what’s that going to do”?
Adrian: We all have this natural aversion to change. But, I think, there are some changes within the market that will change this attitude: first of all, and this one is unfortunate for manufacturers, we now see a greater pressure for a new level of agility, optimization, and efficiency being driven by the constant disruption.
Adrian: The COVID pandemic was a turning point for a lot of people because our industry has never seen disruption like that before. However, on the positive side, I think what it did was it proved to a lot of people that were – perhaps – on the fence about change that they needed to change sooner rather than later. They also realized that disruptions will not stop regardless of whether you are prepared for them.
Adrian: The reasons don’t even matter; one year, it’s COVID. If it’s not COVID, it’s Brexit. If it’s not Brexit, it’s a container ship stuck in the canal.
Adrian: Though I do not like this cliched term, disruption is a new normal and now, effectively, most companies now see disruptions are a constant. So, it’s forcing companies to change.
Adrian: Disruptions are forcing manufacturers to change because spreadsheets just DO NOT manage the job effectively anymore. And unfortunately, like I said, I think most companies are now saying “it doesn’t matter if we don’t like change, we have to change, or we’re going to wither and die – as a company.”
Adrian: Many companies have now flipped the internal switch, so to speak, to say, “we need to look for something else”. But I think when I hear some of the pushback from people saying, “we have to centralize our data now”, or “we have to build integration to our ERP system”.
Adrian: I would always push back and say, “okay, so that’s something you’re going to have to do in implementing new technology. There will be new integration. But, was it easy? Constantly sending spreadsheets back and forth?”
Adrian: “How long did you spend trying to find the right spreadsheet? What happened when the spreadsheet was information was out of date and you had to send emails back and forth?”
Adrian: I think people are replacing a frustrating process with something which is initially perhaps frustrating in terms of your new onboarding and getting used to something new, but I think the tradeoff is dramatically better in the long run.
Adrian: I don’t think anyone would in the long term look back and say, “I wish we were sending spreadsheets back and forth, that was such a better process.” It just isn’t. So there always is a little bit of an onboarding hurdle to get over.
Adrian: But as soon as people see the fact that, “you mean, I can just drag and drop this order that came in as an emergency order onto my schedule and it will replan it for me And I can just send this out and everyone sees it because everyone’s got access to the same set of information!?!” That quickly replaces any sort of concern that was about onboarding or change because the impact – especially for companies that are going from a manual or legacy process to the next generation of automation and technology – is dramatic.
Adrian: There’s no other way to say it.
Gene: In an attempt to appeal to reason (or perhaps, just to put things as bluntly as possible), if people were to go forward with Delmia ORTEMS, what is the value/benefits to implementing this software in terms of KPIs, on time delivery, etc.?
Gene: To narrow down the question: what are some of the value pieces that people need to know?
Adrian: So, I think there’s quantifiable KPIs and then there’s qualitative KPIs.
Adrian: First, the qualitative KPIs come from just a tremendous increase in planning efficiency.
Adrian: Again, think about the fact that if companies are mainly struggling with disruption and change – even if it’s positive disruption, like increasing orders or unexpected orders that are coming in – it’s tremendously difficult to evaluate and develop a plan based upon this change; especially, when change from a scheduling perspective happens on an almost daily basis.
Adrian: On a daily basis, new orders drop in, a machine breaks down, a supplier comes up short on our raw materials, etc. Every time that happens, you have to go through a process of saying, “okay, what’s the impact? What does that mean for our orders? How do we respond to it? What can we do?” All of that’s done in seconds using optimization.
Adrian: And so, the efficiency level in terms of qualitative KPIs is dramatic. And so, when you see people that spent days and days, developing schedules or trying to react schedules is unnecessary when you can now do that work in minutes or an hour at most.
Adrian: Now, quantitatively, ORTEMs means your manufacturing plant is better able to meet unexpected demand OR – if you have a machine breakdown – you’re able to plan around that and still see the impact.
Adrian: So, you previously mentioned some of the KPIs that are critical there; delivering on time in full, reducing waste, being able to schedule around unexpected breakdowns, reducing inventory, etc.
Adrian: If you know exactly what you’re going to be able to do and what you’re going to be able to fulfill, you start moving towards a “just in time” model versus a “just in case” model. So, companies that don’t have a good level of confidence around their schedule, planning or meeting production limits tend to overproduce “just in case”.
Adrian: But, that leads to waste, that leads to excess cost, excess inventory, etc. We can reduce all of that by making a more confident decision while still keeping that KPI of customer service or fulfilled orders as high as possible.
Adrian: So, when we see an increase in customer orders, the improved range of execution is very impactful, with often a double digit increase in customer order fulfillment while, at the same time, reducing cost/waste AND reducing the working process/inventory that we need to fulfill it (because we can be precise and critical about, what we do).
Adrian: Being more efficient with the manufacturing process also helps with sustainability issues and ESG governance; in particular, companies that are running very energy intensive operations (like if you have furnaces or heating operations, something which consumes a lot of energy).
Adrian: The more effectively you can plan and utilize those resources without them running empty or you’re consuming electricity is a tremendous boost to overall sustainability reduction of cost and waste as well.
Adrian: So, there are numerous qualitative and quantitative improvements just from being able to more effectively develop a plan and then replan on demand to take into account disruption as it occurs.
D4M is a privately owned company specializing in leveraging digital technologies to accelerate manufacturing clients to their transition to Industry 4.0. With long tenure and hundreds or successful projects, we are confident that our approach and experience provides the roadmap to help bring clarity and efficiency to your manufacturing operation.
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