Is your manufacturing firm afraid of innovative change?

What can push your fear of change into overdrive? It’s when the change will affect your business. These changes can have repercussions that affect your process, profits, reputation, employees, and customers.

Stories of failed change in business increase the scare factor. Think of Windows 8, which was supposedly going to revolutionize Microsoft’s UI, but was quickly replaced due to user backlash. Should experiences like these hold you back from making major changes to your manufacturing firm? No.

It’s no coincidence that Amazon is worth roughly one trillion dollars. It’s because they are the company that most heavily invests in R&D. They are innovative and that innovation shows up on their balance sheet.

If you want to take an innovative approach to a manufacturing business, then what things do you need to change first? 

“Manufacturers are increasingly pressured to offer a wider range of products and more custom experiences. As such, the opportunities to drive down costs through labor reductions or by buying cheap supplies is diminishing. Companies can’t sacrifice quality, so they have to improve margins through efficiency, which is where digital technologies enter the fray.”

Processes and attitudes that are stuck in the past

As the quote highlights, manufacturers need to provide increasingly custom experiences, and find ways to improve efficiency without sacrificing quality. Innovating through technology is the most cost-effective and sustainable way to do this. The challenge is to make changes, organizations have to get past processes and attitudes that are stuck in the past. The main contributors to resistance are momentum, cost of change, and buy-in.

1. Momentum

Manufacturing has been around a long time. In fact, you can date the industry back to the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Add to that, that it’s very much a nuts and bolts industry and you can understand why it’s so hard for people in this field to let go of legacy processes and attitudes. This makes it hard for people to open their minds to what is possible through technology.

2. Cost of change

Making a change in the manufacturing industry is incredibly expensive. This is why car manufacturers only make cosmetic updates to their cars every 3-4 years instead of completely reworking the body styles. They know that the cost to retool a whole production line is too high to undertake more often than every 6-10 years.

Updating technology also has other implications. For example, aside from updating machinery it could include updating large data processes, training, and development. This makes technology solutions just the tip of the iceberg as far as cost goes. 

3. Buy-in

Getting everyone to buy into the change is another challenge, especially when fighting against momentum and the high cost of updating systems in manufacturing. Leaders may question the need to update technology when things are already working. Because of these roadblocks, it’s important to help department leaders understand the importance of change and the long-term vision. 

You may think that once you have buy-in you’re golden. Not so much. Let’s look at some common mistakes that happen when building technology solutions for manufacturing.

What does digital transformation in manufacturing take?

Having your company fully embrace innovation takes more than changing your mindset. It requires a true transformation in how you think about, approach, and solve problems for your company. Do you want to learn more so that you can take these steps for yourself? Then read our complete guide on creating the right technology solutions for manufacturing.