19 Jun
2023

Creating a Culture of Change: Strategies for Making Change Stick

Successful companies have a constant eye on improvement. This might include programs to reduce production time or costs, or to enhance areas such as sustainability, safety, productivity, profitability, or market share.

Connected Workforce
Machine Monitoring
Change Management
Creating a Culture of Change: Strategies for Making Change Stick
Connected Workforce
Connected Workforce
Machine Monitoring
Machine Monitoring
Change Management
Change Management
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Successful companies have a constant eye on improvement. This might include programs to reduce production time or costs, or to enhance areas such as sustainability, safety, productivity, profitability, or market share.

These organizations recognize the rewards and risks associated with adopting new approaches or technologies. They also understand that change is a process that must be carefully planned and managed.

Improvement initiatives must be guided by a comprehensive change management plan. This helps to ensure that the right people are involved, goals are documented and communicated, and the change management model is rooted in the company’s culture.

In this blog we’ll break change management down to its basic form.

Different Roles – Different Motivation

While organizational change directives generally originate from the top, success will ultimately depend on how it is interpreted and embraced throughout the organization. Each level of the company must have a clear understanding of the goals and buy-in to the initiative. A macro change management strategy must translate into micro-level adjustments, challenges, and benefits for stakeholders at all levels.

Within a manufacturing organization, for example, senior management might be motivated to boost market share or profitability. Vice Presidents and Plant Managers may be focused on improving production for a particular line or plant. And floor operators will likely be concerned with their specific output.

Simply put, effective communication, with goals, expectations, and rewards that are clearly stated is nothing short of essential.

Getting Started: The 7 Rs of Change Management

Because even small adjustments can present big challenges, change management plans often fall short when they fail to embody the company’s culture. Addressing the Seven Rs of Change Management will help to ensure success.

Reason: Change for the sake of change is a losing proposition. Any program must begin with a clear understanding for the reason(s) driving the initiative.  Is the goal to address inadequacies? To accelerate or amplify production; or to take advantage of new technologies? Stakeholders throughout the organization must be adequately prepared for what’s to come, and this includes a clear understanding of what is prompting this program.

Risks: With reward comes risk. It’s important to fully anticipate, quantify, and take proactive steps to mitigate any potential negative impact that may result from organizational change. For example, if any technology earmarked for the project isn’t proven or is not easily implemented, the manufacturer risks excessive downtime, lost contracts, and a massive hit to the bottom line.  Be sure that all new tools and technologies are properly vetted.

Resources: A key part of any change management model is to identify the resources required to deliver the change.  In addition to funding, this should include additions to equipment, staff, or other resources.

Raised: Who raised the change request?  Is this a board-level initiative designed to increase market share? A line supervisor request to enhance productivity; or a suggestion from the floor to improve worker safety?  Where change originates will speak volumes regarding its champions, goals, and expectations. Where the requested change originated helps to define the program’s purpose, milestones, and how success is defined.

Return: As with any program, certain results are needed to justify implementation costs and claim success. These targets must be specific, measurable, and attainable. Furthermore, they must translate into benefits for all impacted employees.

Responsibility: An individual or team should be assigned responsibility for creating, testing, and implementing the change management plan. This not only allows things to progress in an organized and systematic manner but also creates accountability.  

Relationships: Because there are generally multiple initiatives at work simultaneously within any given organization, it’s important to know the relationship between the proposed change and other changes. This will help to avoid conflict, ensure the availability of desired resources, and mitigate any unforeseen disruptions.

Change management is not an overnight fix. Most companies have been operating a certain way for many years. Organizational change is a paradigm shift that takes careful thought, planning, and step-by-step execution. Above all change must be engrained in the culture of any organization.

Managing Change on Your Production Floor

Manufacturers operating in today’s digital era are pursuing aggressive efficiency and production targets by enhancing processes and embracing new technologies. And success will hinge on the adoption of these tools by frontline workers. But without a change management plan that includes input from these users, it's safe to say that implementation will be difficult – specifically improvements to productivity, efficiency, and output.

Production monitoring technology is gaining popularity among manufacturers. These tools capture key manufacturing data and provide real-time information to drive quick meaningful improvement decisions. And while production is tied to nearly all areas of the organization, equipment operators, and line supervisors are most impacted by changes here. Consequently, enhancing production floor operations requires the unconditional buy-in of this group.

Successful production monitoring programs are often best accomplished through a series of incremental steps in which equipment operators should objectively address three cornerstones.

·     Visibility: Are my lines running?

·     Measuring: How fast am I running?

·     Improving: How fast should I be running? How much time is wasted? Am I meeting the goals I should be working toward?

Again, change is often best implemented in small doses. Begin with visibility. Once your staff is engaged move on to measuring production and finally to identifying areas for improvement. Successfully complete one cornerstone before moving on to the next.

It is important that line workers see production line monitoring as an ally rather than a threat or management’s watchful eye. The key is for this group to clearly understand improvement targets, be motivated by the rewards, and recognize how production monitoring can help them to reach those goals.

Ensuring Success

The challenge with organizational change comes from the tendency to fear any new approach as a risk rather than an opportunity. And because companies are a collection of people, anxiety is unavoidable.

Culture is the catalyst for successful change. Stakeholders must trust in the change management model and feel safe in asking questions, offering suggestions, and sharing concerns. Everyone must have an eye on the big picture and their role in making it a reality.

Change management strategies must be communicated to your team frequently. Initiate regular sessions to update staff on the plan’s progress. Address concerns, encourage feedback, and take suggestions to heart. Remember, these can be trying times for those on the manufacturing floor. Once the staff begins to see results, they will be more comfortable with the changes. Until then, however, there are likely to be plenty of anxious moments.

Successful change management strategies require conviction and courage. Meaningful change takes vision to identify opportunities for improvement and courage to guide the organization through it.  

Including the right people at the right time, understanding the motivation of each stakeholder, and clearly communicating expectations, rewards, and objectives will go a long way toward ensuring the success of any change management plan.

While change management isn’t overly difficult, by the same token it isn’t an off-the-shelf solution. Worximity works with manufacturers to develop and execute effective strategies to navigate the waters of change.  Contact us today to learn more.

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