Input Stories

Input Stories

Five Lessons for Digital Transformation

In recent years, industrial companies everywhere have begun investing heavily in the digitalization of manufacturing, and with mixed results, according to an article in the February 2022 Manufacturing Leadership Journal, a publication of the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council.

When it comes to digital transformation of manufacturing, “[m]ost companies are still learning by doing,” writes Hitachi Vantara Industry Executive Greg Kinsey in the piece. “What are the key lessons learned so far?” Here, we share those lessons.

Lesson 1: Don’t Start with a Solution
“Too often, people fall in love with a solution before really understanding the problem(s) to be solved, or the job to be done by the solution.” Instead, start by focusing on the problem and doing an initial analysis that is solution-agnostic.

Lesson 2: Go to the Genba
“The Japanese word Genba is defined as the place where value is created. It is where the work is done—the factory floor.” Your shop floor staff has a deep understanding of production—and usually lots of ideas about how to make it better. Engage them and seek their ideas.

Lesson 3: Build Buy-In and Alignment
Work to obtain the buy-in of all the key stakeholders in your planned digital-transformation project. Without it, the project is unlikely to succeed.

Lesson 4: Use the Minimum Viable Dataset
Instead of beginning with all available data and building algorithms on top, “start with a minimum viable dataset. Select those critical few variables that you believe are needed to solve the problem. The ‘trivial many’ variables are best ignored.”

Lesson 5: Integrate Digital with Operational Excellence
Get your operational excellence strategy team together with your digital strategy team. “Companies have found success joining together these two functions and achieving tremendous results.”

Want more? Get these types of insights and dive in deeper on digitalization as a member of the MLC, the NAM’s global business leadership network for manufacturing executives.

View More