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27-01-2022 | Posted by Principia
I recently had the opportunity of visiting a traditional industry, a carpenter’s workshop, who had decided to undertake the digitalisation process. They had acquired nesting machines that, connected to the furniture design software, receive directly the drawings and, with a simple sequence, execute the appropriate program for each model.
Once in that process, they created a computerised system to manage the work orders and assign them to the machines, where the operator simply notifies in a touch screen when the WO is being executed. Practical, useful, and capable of gathering myriad data to redefine, standardise and reduce costs of production processes.
But it does not work, at least not yet. They did not take into account the small detail that workers were not prepared. They knew their job and how to operate the new machines, but were not ready for the organisational change, without prior preparation or training. They did not know how to use the available information.
Because the digital transformation is not just automating processes, replacing old with new machines, introducing data analysis tools and sophisticated software packages: it is a paradigm change, particularly affecting people, where technological tools and process innovations are a means and not the goal.
In a recent contribution to HBR, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a psychologist who works on people analytics and leadership development, identifies what he sees as the five essential components of the digital transformation: People, Data, Insights, Actions, and Results.
The underlying idea is that data is useless unless there is an analysis procedure to generate insights, which must then be converted into concrete action plans to produce results. People are key for going from data to results.
The critical part of the digital transformation is not “digital” (data), but “transformation” (where humans are essential).
When initiating a digital transformation process, which may include adopting tools like 3DEXPERIENCE to manage documentation or projects, it is important to realise that success is not so much a function of the software but of how one uses it, of having a clear vision of the objective and counting on expert advice during the process.
We must design the changes to maximize the results of the tools. Many attempts failed because of lack of synergy between the various participating elements. Each company is different and requires its own way of dealing with the problem. Digitalisation implies a cultural change in the organisation, involving a change in how people act.
If you need advice for digitalising your company, at Principia we have been supporting firms with technology and innovation for over 40 years. Get in touch and we will help you get the most out of digitalisation.