A Primer for Employees New to the Digital Transformation
Bringing new employees up to speed can be a challenge at the best of times, but in this current environment of lightning-fast change, it is even more critical. I joined MAPI after nine years in an aerospace and defense role. At MAPI, I felt like I had awakened to a new industry on the cusp of even greater change – the largest being digital transformation. Quickly I discovered that while there is a lot of information out there, much of it is best guesses or a repackaging of the obvious. And while my journey is far from over, I thought that sharing my initial steps might help those new to the next era of manufacturing.
As digital transformation is a key theme for MAPI’s members, it was helpful to catch up on the semantic differences in “Parlez-Vous Digital: Is Everyone at Your Company Speaking the Same Digital Language?”. Last year, MAPI collaborated with a few partners to dive into various elements of digital transformation. We partnered with Spencer Stuart to look at “Digital Transformation in the Industrial Sector,” and Deloitte on “Transitioning to a Digital Supply Network.”
Additionally, a colleague recommended I use more digital resources to dive into manufacturing topics. I set up regular Google Alerts on the topics of manufacturing, IIoT, and digital disruption (among others). Next, I signed up for the consulting companies’ free postings. From Deloitte to BCG to Booz Allen, I opted-in for relevant content. Committing time on my calendar to review and share the information allowed me to dedicate time and headspace, and also help members and others on my team.
Some examples of useful information from consulting companies include:
- Machine Design’s 5 Steps to Achieve Data Transparency and Efficiency
- BCG’s How Digital Transforms Innovation Strategy
- McKinsey’s Briefing Note AI, automation, and the future of work: Ten things to solve for
For those looking for a deeper dive, I recommend checking out the Internet of Things: Digitize or Die: Transform Your Organization by Nicolas Windpassinger. This book is a solid balance between the technical and the strategic. Windpassinger provides definitions and dynamics for analog leaders, introduces the IoT Methodology – “transform from the edge,” walks through tech and transformation processes, offers differentiation strategies, highlights the most relevant business models, and uses the tech to support the true and ultimate driver – customer experience. He promises to give “all the necessary knowledge to understand what is happening and, more importantly, what options you and your business must leverage for this major milestone in digital transformation.”
Another option recommended by MAPI colleagues is Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Business Transformation by George Westerman, Didier Bonnet, and Andrew McAfee. The authors explain how digital must transform industries outside of the obvious tech sector. It contains a framework on where companies must invest with a playbook for leaders to follow to see results and their organizations.
I also began listening to, asking of, and engaging with MAPI members over the phone, via email, and at council meetings. Council directors have the unique position to talk with professionals across all MAPI councils. Members have generously shared points of pain, interest, and discovery. The more discussions I have, the more connections I make with ideas and people.
I hope that this primer shared some quick, easy, and immediate solutions for those early in their digital transformation journeys. During this time when there are no proven solutions in this ever-evolving technology spectrum, the tried and true has yet to be established. Change appears faster than constant, and I have a feeling I am not alone in grappling with what digital transformation means for manufacturers.