Change management is a vital part of the roadmap
Published by : Industrial Automation
Prashant B Kapadia Director – Business Development at Hitachi Vantara Digital solution business.
After a decade of Industry 4.0 what is the extent of digital transformation in the manufacturing space in India?
After a decade of Industry 4.0, the Indian manufacturing industry has started adopting industry 4.0 at a significant rate. Any transformation program has its challenges, the Indian industry is learning from peers, and this helps improve the success rate of digital transformation. Industry 4.0 is a journey and Indian manufacturers have identified the tremendous potential in it to gain manufacturing competitiveness. In the last few years, industry also has recognised relevant themes/Use cases for Indian environment. Many success stories are proof that manufacturers and their clients started receiving promising outcomes. Many manufacturers mapped their Industry 4.0 roadmap, developed innovation culture, learned from successful and even few failed PoC (Proof of Concepts) efforts. The good news is many of them started scaling Use Cases implementation across the enterprise. Overall, we are on the right path on the journey.
How should an enterprise begin the process? Is there an ideal roadmap to follow for companies beginning their digital transformation journey?
Digital transformation should not be considered as merely technology implementation. At the same time it is also not another tool for an incremental improvement journey. To get the maximum benefits out of digital transformation journey, manufacturers must start with a business objective; prepare a roadmap to align to deliver maximum value to the customer. They must identify gaps in their current processes, people skills and technology adoption. It is imperative to conduct fact-based analysis. The starting point should build a hypothesis based on past data. This process helps them to zero in on relevant solution core, relevant themes along with relevant intervention for the transformation. Look for disruption within and beyond your industry. Leaders must assess the relevance of yesterday’s competitive levers and evaluate their relevance in today’s world.
The ideal digital transformation roadmap is not chasing competitors or increase market share by few more percentage points, but look for new revenue generation opportunities, creating differentiating position by analytics wrapped products and services, reduce non-value-added activities, increase productivity, reduce process variations and make customer journey efficient. The successful digital-industrial companies can offer ‘Product as a Service’ with assured customer outcomes, e.g., safety, speed, efficiency, first-time-right quality and zero unscheduled downtime. They can sell customer experience, e.g., elevator manufacture can sell number of trips without unscheduled downtime. Today’s customer pays the premium for excellent and uninterrupted experience. Change management is a vital part of the roadmap and must incorporate from the first step of the journey. The ideal roadmap should accommodate how change happens on the ground and plan for it accordingly. In the boardroom, Executives can smell good while plotting a roadmap. It can start counting efficiency gains and speed and data-driven analytics increase in customer digital tools. Success depends less on strategic inspiration than on the way people on the front line adopt digital tools. To build a business case for digital transformation is very critical; initiative wise RoI visibility gives confidence to all stakeholders.
What is the role for various stakeholders in the organisation in this endeavour?
Digital transformation program demands a very strong commitment from top management and supported by board members. In the first phase, leaders need to take buy-in from all stakeholders, to explain the benefits of change to the workforce. The only CEO who believes that it is a good idea is not enough. Leaders have to develop and articulate relevant success mantra for digital transformation in the entire organisation. Driving the changes in the transformation cannot be delegated. It requires the whole organisation to change, not just one of its parts. Today’s technology allows user to analyse data in ways that can reinvent an organisation; rolling them out requires keen business insight and management skills. Essentially, the CEO needs to empower and equip to sort out where to deploy them and to understand how tools might reshape the culture.
Leaders need to identify new challenges in digital business, e.g., tension between the new generation workforce and people with the traditional mind-set. They have to re-design flexible organisation structure to meet greater expectations of productivity. To make this initiative successful, they need to expand some of the core skills. In digital transformation, approach must centre on the customer. Business/Functional leaders must lead with vision and take ownership of the transformation journey. They are the ones who know which influencers can accelerate adoption and which bureaucratic obstacles must be cleared. They are in the best position to ensure that employees actually use the technology so that they can meet the company’s objective.
Investment to increase digital literacy across the organisation should be in the leader’s priority list. IT, Digital and Analytics teams are very critical pillars and internal technology advisor to develop an overall roadmap. It is essential to have a strong partner with end-to-end capabilities and willingness to work along the entire journey. Building an ecosystem partner network is also essential to be successful in implementation and sustaining benefits.
In general, what are the key challenges to overcome in the process?
As my experience says, most digital transformation efforts did not fail because the technology did not work but the reality is most digital transformation efforts fail because people did not use the new technology. There are two main reasons for this. First, when people are not sufficiently trained, they cannot apply new tools effectively, so they stop using them and find alternatives. Second, when leaders promise certain outcome to stakeholders and they do not receive quick outcomes, e.g., increase in productivity or efficiency, they will make a decision that it is in their best interest to find other methods to secure those outcomes. To overcome challenges in the process, digital skill development should be an integral part of the roadmap. Building innovation culture is very essential. Leadership should help the team to see the big picture and support them to take courageous projects. Focus on a process, and you will get results. Focus on results, and you will get frustrated. To get the most out of your process, you need to understand what it is and what needs to happen at each step.
Will the current scenario act as a catalyst; or rather, the companies use this opportunity In the current scenario, companies who had implemented digital technologies earlier are enjoying benefits of real-time visibility in their supply chain operation which helping them to serve their customers efficiently. They can utilise data and analytics to reconfigure supply chain effectively. Data-driven insights help them to improve productivity and better cost control. The Indian manufacturing industry is looking to improve productivity, efficiency and cost optimisation and utilise this opportunity to implement digital technologies quickly. They recognised this opportunity to become competitive in the global supply chain and accelerate the journey to realise benefits quickly.
Prashant B Kapadia is a Director – Business Development at Hitachi Vantara Digital solution business with a focus on Business development of Intelligent Enterprise, Smart Manufacturing, Analytics, IoT, Cloud & Big data in Indian Market. During his 24+ years of experience, he has taken up different role in Consulting, Project Management, O&M and Sales & Marketing in India & International Market.
#July 2020 Magazine Cover Story
Digital Transformation – The Next Wave The Covid-19 pandemic has achieved what CEOs and CTOs failed to do – struck a blow for Digital Transformation like nothing else did The only constant in life is change, wrote Heraclitus of Ephesus (circa 500 BCE), who famously asserted that Life is Flux, and to resist change is to resist the essence of existence. Yet, most people spend a better part of their lives resisting change. The concept of digital transformation dates back to the time PCs became mainstream and digitisation began, paving the way for digitalisation and then, transformation. To read the full cover story Please click here