This is an exciting week, I am preparing for the different panels for an event this week at Operations Calling. I found myself searching for ways to drive home the main point about adoption of digital platforms. I have tried in so many ways to explain this in this blog, at events, with industry influencers and of course with all my customers. I have used technical explanations, analogies, theories, examples and more. At the end I find myself repeating cliches and quotes that I believe provide a concise and memorable phrasing and drive a point home - and I love them. They are also very effective in the face of all the debate and skepticism around digital transformation, a topic a write a lot about.
So this post is going to be a bit full of what seems like cliches and obviosity but at the same time points out how ridiculous it is that we are still dealing with skepticism and denial about what digital technologies can do for our industry.
Digital Transformation requires a commitment to a fundamental change that results in an order of magnitude productivity increase.
And it does and can happen! I have seen it with my own eyes - two recent examples of manufacturing sites that have successfully transformed show how true this is (you can watch one here, the other is still not public). Once you see and experience it, the reality of it seems so easy, so obvious. At the end of the day what make this a reality is the collective human organization's quest to achieve a goal and the focused effort that it takes. If you will it, it will come true! And let's be clear it is a collective team's and organization's effort to achieve a common goal. "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.", from The Lorax, 1971, Dr Seuss.
Its not a secret that change requires a focused strategy, just listen to Walker Reynolds. Strategy is nothing without a clear goal. So many companies and people talk about strategy but they have no well defined objective or goal. Drucker wrote that “Objectives are the fundamental strategy of a business. Objectives must be derived from what our business is, what it will be, and what it should be.”
So defining goals and objectives are key. Arnold Schwarzenegger says that you should "visualize the person you want to become". In other words visualize your goals, draw a picture of what your manufacturing operations will look like when you are fully transformed and has achieved three digit precent improvements, for example increasing throughput by 100%. I can just hear the critics, its not easy, its complicated, you don't understand. Well here is quote from Clint Eastwood: "If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster". Nelson Mandela said: "It always seems impossible until its done. Nelson Mandela".
But remember that "culture eats strategy for breakfast", another of Drucker's famous quotes (borders on being a cliche). In the examples mentioned above it was clear that culture was a critical factor in the transformation. It works hand in hand, driving change with a clear goal ignites people and that helps create a culture of change. Also aligning a culture of continuous improvement with digital tools is an explosive catalyst for change. That is exactly what happened in this case - its just incredible to watch.
Change is infectious because the results and accomplishments are real and rewarding. Organization and their people that change are eager and proud to share their feedback and observations. This is something that you can use to gauge the impact of a digital technology as well as the other way around if it affects change.