Several businesses see digital transformation and the promises of Industry 4.0 as ways to improve their level of operational excellence. Did you know that operational excellence is also one of the key steps towards a successful digital transformation?
Seize the opportunities
For several years now, news has spread about the opportunities offered by digitization to improve an organization’s efficiency and effectiveness.
First, while computerization served to automate low value-added activities in an operational, administrative or manufacturing process, digitization pushes this concept even farther.
For example, with the digitization of processes and the inclusion of computer systems, today’s businesses generate colossal quantities of data. The data collected are often used for monitoring purposes, i.e. in scorecards or operational and financial reports.
Improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency
In the manufacturing field for example, innovative solutions born from artificial intelligence and advanced analytics can now help unlock the predictive potential of these data, accelerate decision-making when non-compliance or failures are detected, and as such, improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the production chain.
Even client experience improvement initiatives via digitization opportunities can result in unexpected efficiency gains. For example, processing client data using advanced analytics provides an unequalled level of understanding of clients.
In addition to improving the experience of these clients through greater tailoring of services, a better understanding of your clients provides sharper focus on investments and employee and manager work on current projects and activities that have true value for the client, and improves your efficiency at the same time.
Lastly, discovering trends in demand fluctuations allows businesses improve operational planning and reconcile sales with operations (break down the silos!) to enable the business to produce a good or deliver a service just in time and with the required quality.
The fact that all of this happens, more often than not, on the factory floor or at any other point where the company’s activities are carried out, is directly in line with the philosophy behind operational excellence, which sees “operators” as the main levers for the continuous improvement of a business.
The challenges of 4.0 and operational excellence solutions
Beyond the opportunities, the promises of Industry 4.0 also involve real challenges for businesses.
The notion behind Industry 4.0 will force business culture to go from a hierarchical structure to one of accountability and move towards a learning culture. Furthermore, the increased sharing of data among a business’s divisions will result in changes in behaviour and paradigms. Silos will be removed, managers from different business units will no longer keep information from each other.
Corporate digitization will require implementing training programs to update the staff’s skills based on the company’s, clients’ or business partners’ new needs.
Investing in labour training is key since employees will have to deal with the digitization, connected devices and algorithms. With the support of these components, businesses will take operational decisions at an unparallelled level and pace.
Industry 4.0 offers the possibility of transforming all products into a single service platform.
Aligning the business strategy and vision
To ensure the longevity of the short-term gains of Industry 4.0 (e.g. automating a process or procedure), the company will have to ensure that its actions align with its business strategy and global vision.
Operational excellence, with its close management bases, already commits the business, its employees and first-line managers to a culture of accountability and sharing and ultimately, the decentralization and acceleration of decision-making (with a minimum of guides or parameters).
It makes it possible to settle inefficiencies before scaling them by automating part of your activities.
The world is changing; your challenges will too. Make sure you maintain your operational excellence. Get ready to act. Our experts can help.