Preparing Your Organization for an SCO Makeover

Organizational Change Management (OCM) is one of the most important – yet often overlooked – aspects of any digital transformation initiative. OCM is at the heart of the change; it’s the glue holding a program together. It ensures the organization is prepared for change and properly brought along on each step of the journey.

OCM for Smart Connected Operations (SCO) supports the leverage of digital technologies across product development, manufacturing, operations, supply chain, and service, and each of the roles within those functions.

Digital transformations are just that – transformative – which can include significant changes to people/teams and processes, as well as the implementation of new technologies. OCM should be an integral part of the plan to help shape and drive the entire initiative.

For digital transformation programs to launch, scale and drive business value, they need to go beyond the technology to connect with the processes and people ultimately carrying out the change.

Five OCM Principles for your Next SCO Initiative

Over the past years, we have delivered SCO for our clients across the entire breadth of the digital thread, all the way from strategy through implementation and ongoing support with managed services. Organizational Change Management has always been an integral part of the work we do to bring people along for the change journey and set organizations up for measurable success.

As you prepare for your SCO transformation, keep the following five learnings in mind to build lasting change:

1: Represent every role level on the team

Each role on the team will have a unique perspective to share. The factory worker will have day-to-day, practical insight about tactical aspects of the procedures, while the plant manager will have high-level, strategic insight about operational aspects of the manufacturing facility.

It is critical to gain buy-in from each role level. This is easier if a representative from each is involved in the whole process so they can return to their peers as an early adopter and digital transformation champion.

Understanding the perspective of each persona is crucial to the technology development effort, so building this cross-functional, vertically integrated team early on equips the program with a team of change agents.

2: Set up ‘Smart Factory Experiences’ to expose the organization to what could otherwise be an all-too-futuristic concept

Hands on experiences and trainings are an effective way for the organization to become familiar with concepts, benefits, and “what’s-in-it-for-me?” before they are introduced into daily operations. These experiences could range in size and depth of exposure. Show your people what a day in the future could look like or even create a hands-on training environment for them.

The goal is to demystify any new technology or way of working to lower the adoption barriers. Acronyms like MLC (Machine Learning Control) and IoT (Internet of Things) lose their hype and come to life with visuals like prototyped dashboards.

3: Use consistent metrics to measure impact over time

From the outset of the program there should be well established KPIs. The project team should clearly define strategic imperatives to serve as the “North Star” throughout the initiative, such as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE). Keep these measures consistent to allow the team to see change over time and increase their confidence in the new process or methodology.

A North Star also sets a consistent goal for the team to work toward together. If the metrics are constantly changing, the team will lose track of its central mission and cohesiveness in pursuing it. But if those strategic imperatives are sustained and supported by a comprehensive set of metrics, then ultimately, they can answer the question: “Did we achieve what we set out to accomplish?”

4: Celebrate small wins and larger milestones

True digital transformation is a journey that can take multiple years to complete. Celebrating small victories keeps the team motivated towards longer-term goals. Recognize team members by calling them out in the company newsletter, on the internal project site or during an all-hands meeting. Keep them motivated with rewards, awards, or competitions. This works especially well in manufacturing facilities where people are recognized on bulletin boards or monitors for achievements like being the top performer of the month or the team with lowest number of incidents.

5: Communicate early and often – use knowledge sharing to empower the team

Develop a communication plan that outlines the goals, methods, and frequency of communication for the intended audiences.

Three aspects of an effective communication strategy are:

  1. Leverage multiple channels of communication and creative mediums like video and interactive sessions
  2. Enlist change leaders from middle management and executive teams who can deliver messages at varying levels of authority and detail
  3. Tailor messages to each audience according to “WIIFM” (“What’s In It For Me?”) to adequately address functional needs

Communication from upper management is especially valuable to explain how the initiative aligns with the company’s strategy and vision. Communication from mid-level management and other levels helps drive adoption and provides a channel for open communication. This helps stakeholders feel like part of something bigger – striving towards a clear common goal.

Communication is especially critical when addressing change on a global scale. A blend of cultures requires crafted communication that considers cultural variations. Global initiatives should represent every role level and every geographical region. Learn about how each culture views communication, motivation, and metrics to best adapt the approach for all cultures involved.

More resources

As you embark on the change process, there is no need to go in unequipped. There are decades of research informing an award-winning approach to OCM in Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change.

Kalypso has refined the use of these proven steps with extensive client use cases. The following steps are the foundation for successfully navigating an inside-out change.

Organizational Change Management is critical to the success of implementing Smart Connected Operations initiatives. The technology-intensive nature of the implementations requires buy-in from every role level. With realistic goalsetting, celebration of wins, and communication, these programs can lead to significant, positive long-term results for the organization.

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