GOING DIGITAL: WHY IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN ROBOTS AND SOFTWARE
In today’s world, digital transformation has become a requirement for the long term security of businesses globally. But what does it really entail?
Digital transformation is the process of adapting to new technologies and innovation to stay relevant in an ever-changing marketplace. But, it’s also about changing organizational culture and thinking so that employees can thrive in this environment.
Many companies make the mistake of only focusing on significant capital investment in plant, software, and equipment. However, while those are usually an intrinsic part of a digital transformation, they are just things to buy. The difference between a successful digital transformation and a failed one is all the other elements that make up your company. Your people and culture are going to be critical in your future plans.
This article will explore the human element of digital transformation, how Covid impacted our organization’s digital transformation journey and what we learned along the way.
How Covid encouraged us to change
Like most companies, during the Covid pandemic of 2020-21, we had to change many aspects of our operations. The need to socially distance from each other and introduce home working was a massive shift in our operational activities and culture. Although we have locations worldwide and were used to communicating remotely, we were still nervous about this change.
At first, it was weird not having our colleagues around us in the office environment, but we used the available tech (Zoom, obviously!) to keep in regular contact with each other. And it was this factor that taught us the importance of communication, not just from an operational perspective (i.e. to keep updated on progress with projects etc.), but also the social aspect. Sometimes it was good just to chat and see how we were all doing.
Again, as other companies discovered, we found we could use the video calling platforms purely for social events like virtual escape rooms and holiday parties. We learned that even though we were physically remote, we could still connect with each other and keep the team spirit going through what was a bizarre and challenging time.
Where are we now?
We found that remote working was so effective that we decided to keep it as a permanent way of operating. Although we can now meet up periodically, in person, we’ve learned the benefits of giving our staff ownership of their roles and supporting them in their success. And everyone is thriving at work and loving the freedom that working from home offers.
Yes, we invested in a more holistic platform (Microsoft OFFICE365), but that was all it took to start our digital transformation. We’ve incorporated digitization, practically made a paperless workplace and now use fully digital platforms to manage our business and teams worldwide.
So, what did we learn along our small digital transformation journey?
To thrive in the digital age, companies need to manage change. That means embracing new technologies while also changing how employees think and work. It’s a tricky balancing act, but businesses must stay competitive.
The key to managing change is buy-in. Everyone needs to understand why it’s essential and what they need to do for the company to succeed at this transformation. This was easy during the Covid pandemic as it was enforced by law, so we had no alternative.
However, in “normal” times, we learned that there are a few key things to keep in mind when managing change:
Communication is key
Make sure everyone understands why the change is happening and how they can help. Explaining the business case clearly and how it benefits everyone (not just the company) will help employees understand and accept the changes.
Change can be scary
It’s important not to let the fear of change prevent people from embracing it. Companies can use change management techniques like the “fear-setting” approach to analyze and overcome their fears.
Lead by example
Everyone involved in the transformation must be committed to engaging with change. If management is not willing to learn something new, it will be difficult for employees to get excited.
Make small changes first
Instead of making massive changes all at once, consider making smaller changes first. It’s easier to get the ball rolling with these gradual changes, and successful examples of the benefits from those changes can be used to encourage other employees.
A healthy company culture is vital to the success of any change programme. Employees must feel empowered by management and have a sense of what is expected of them
Employees also need to know how their work fits in with the bigger picture or goals that they’re trying to achieve. For example, it’s all well and good saying that remote working will increase productivity. But if they do not know their work supports the company’s broader digital transformation, they may not feel inclined to make time for it.
The best way to ensure that employees are fully engaged with change is by carefully monitoring how they react to new ideas or changes in workplace practices. This will help managers identify any issues before things escalate and encourage staff members to work together to overcome these issues.
Everyone knows that the most successful companies are agile and flexible in their approach. That means embracing change whenever it appears.
However, even when you know what needs to be done, things can still be challenging. Digital transformation is not always straightforward, especially when adapting it for a specific business. This is why the most successful companies constantly evaluate their workflows and procedures.
For example, when using QIS for their quality management, we show them how to make it work for them, rather than the other way around. By monitoring how employees use these systems, businesses can more easily find faults or issues before they become real problems.
Is Digital Transformation Worth It?
The goal of any company is to remain competitive and profitable. To do that, businesses need to embrace digital transformation as quickly as possible because if they don’t, their competitors will.
However, it’s vital to bring your people with you on that journey. If you show them the impact digital transformation has on the business, your employees will understand why they need to embrace change quickly. This way, everyone will keep working towards that common goal of success and company culture can be nurtured for better results.
Ultimately, the key lesson we’ve learned from the Covid pandemic is that you never know what’s around the corner, and complacency may damage your company in the long run. Creating a business and culture based on change and evolution is crucial to long-term security and success.
QIS is the quality management system of choice for manufacturing companies worldwide. To learn more about incorporating live quality data into your digital transformation, please contact one of our team to discuss your requirements.