Digital transformation efforts are on nearly every manufacturer's road map. But these initiatives go beyond the scope of technology upgrades or short-term projects — they are major cultural shifts.
Here are our 10 best practices for managing digital transformation projects in manufacturing.
Undertaking a digital transformation effort amounts to a major cultural shift in your organization. So ongoing and active leadership from your executive team is crucial.
2. Walk a mile in your customers' shoes.
Every business decision should be made with your customer in mind. Map out how your digital transformation effort will affect your customers’ interactions with your company. Consider the three steps of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. How specifically, will these changes aid them in their journey?
3. Define success and how it will be measured.
What do you hope to accomplish as a result of your digital transformation initiative? How will you know if you’ve met your goal? Consider the anticipated benefits for your customers. How will you measure customer experience? Or return on investment? Before you begin, establish KPIs and capture baseline data.
4. Establish accountability and set expectations for change.
Incorporating a new digital strategy will create shockwaves within some parts of your organization and ripple effects throughout. Be upfront about why you’re undertaking this effort and outline the anticipated benefits and challenges. Communicate how you will define success, and set clear expectations regarding roles and responsibilities as you work toward your goals.
5. Evaluate and align your business processes.
Technology updates will be wasted unless you adapt your workflows and outline clear processes incorporating the new tools. This is also a great opportunity to evaluate any inefficient business processes that might be streamlined or upgraded.
See also: Demo: Cloud ERP Mobile App
6. Dig into your data.
Audit your sources of data. What’s available? What’s missing? What’s underutilized? What’s critical? Think about how your digital transformation efforts can help you make better use of data or gain a clearer picture of your business. And be sure to create backups of crucial business data before migrating to new systems.
7. Move from "Systems of Record" to "Systems of Engagement."
The 4th Industrial Revolution is being driven by major shifts in customer expectations. So all of your business processes need to be re-engineered with customers’ needs in mind. Your ERP, CRM, marketing, and customer service platforms should be unified. This will help you gain insight into your customers’ journeys, solve their problems, and anticipate their future needs.
8. Double down on talent.
Success in modern manufacturing is a race for top talent. New roles such as “data scientist” and “marketing automation specialist” are being added to manufacturers’ rosters. And technicians and factory workers must have a higher level of technological and data literacy than ever before. Hire smart and invest in ongoing training.
9. Communicate frequently and transparently.
Successful digital transformation efforts are characterized by frequent and open communication. Convey progress, next steps, challenges and successes to your team. Encourage everyone in the organization to offer feedback and provide them with a channel to do so. Show your team how these changes will ultimately make their jobs easier or help them improve their outcomes.
10. Improve continuously.
Digital transformation is not a single event. It’s an ongoing organizational, cultural, and technological shift. Continually monitor your KPIs and business goals and engage your entire team in working toward them. Adjust and refine your methods as you learn.
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