What are the key success factors in terms of funding, management backing, staffing, and governance?
A Comprehensive Guide for Manufacturers
Use this step-by-step book as your guide to a successful digital manufacturing journey.
Technical issues usually receive primary emphasis, but organizational capabilities are equally critical for success. A digital initiative requires changes to established processes and traditional lines of communication in manufacturing enterprises, and new ones that bridge across teams and chains of command.
We’ve seen projects run out of steam or get mired in cycles of endless piloting because key organizational success factors have not been dealt with.
These [dynamics] fall into three key areas:
Commitment and Budget
Digital projects frequently fail because they don’t win broad support beyond the originating team, function, or individual. It’s worth putting in the time upfront to develop and articulate a vision for where the enterprise is going, and to explain how a unified data platform and its initial use cases support the long-term roadmap. Set your sights on obtaining:
- Management buy-in to give data-driven decision making urgent priority and an allocated budget
- Project backing from corporate, plant, and IT leadership, and operational teams as well
- Alignment on objectives among these functions and factions
Identify and cultivate project champions and evangelists within different departments and echelons — including management of production, IT, and corporate functions; factory-level teams who will use the insights digital provides; and data architects and scientists.
Engage all departments and teams during planning. Roll-out is too late in the game to try to recruit broad-based support. If you wait till then, you’ll encounter resistance.
Skills and Resourcing
Laying the groundwork for a unified data platform requires a blend of capabilities from groups that aren’t used to collaborating, and in fact may never have done so before. Key human resources include:
- Manufacturing experts who understand the available data and physical sensor structure
- IT staff who can connect sensors to networks and data storage, and develop applications for the plant floor
- Data scientists and data engineers with the knowhow to extract and interpret insights using analytics tools
These teams typically live in their own specialized worlds. To develop a full picture of your digital requirements and how to assemble them, these diverse and specialized groups need to be brought together in the same room to contribute their particular skills and expertise.
Working in concert, this cross-functional team can undertake a full audit of your existing production data and processes. OT can specify the problems they need to solve and the benefits they’re looking to achieve. IT in turn can identify relevant data. Collectively, the full team can determine if these inputs are available and if not, how to obtain them.
Sometimes project leaders will invest in IT systems and services but neglect to fund the operational side. This is why cross-functional governance is essential to managing your digital effort. Common goals need to be set by IT and OT leadership in terms of staffing, resources, and changes to processes and workflows.
Existing metrics, incentives, and procedures need to be re-evaluated in light of the new capabilities a unified data platform will deliver.