Four obstacles to the digitalization of the supply chain
04. Positive change management and building trust is imperative
If the supply chain function is to change through digitalization, then getting all your people involved and thinking differently is the important first step. For those on a more automated supply chain frontline, this also means placating job loss concerns.
Undoubtedly, fear leads to a lot of change resistance, not just from employees but from customers and suppliers too. All groups want to be certain how any new automation-led processes and operational changes will benefit them, and not make their own responsibilities harder to deliver… or leave them open to sudden, unforeseen shocks.
Handing over decision-making to systems in intelligent organizations does come with perceived risks, therefore building trust on all levels - from C-suite to warehouse floor - is imperative.
One way to reduce what is often unfounded fear is by using data modeling or digital twins. The latter produces a virtual representation of a current process in order to show how things would look and act when the full impact of digital transformation is achieved.
Michael Muilenburg, Director of Operational Technology & Connected Manufacturing - Film, Materials, Technology and Eng, at 3M, believes this is valuable. His team are “scouts for the latest and greatest in anything that can help our workforce” and this includes across the shop floor, process engineering and supply chain quality all the way up to division manufacturing management.
3M started the digitization journey five years ago by looking at data modeling and simulations via digital twins, and while initially theoretical, the pandemic forced them to address speed to customer and distribution centers, as well as question all aspects of the company’s systems.
Michael says: “We learned what our capabilities are, we learned that computing power and programming are not the bottleneck. It is possible for lots of learning and practical changes to come out of our other initiatives.”
We learned what our capabilities are, we learned that computing power and programming are not the bottleneck. It is possible for lots of learning and practical changes to come out of our other initiatives.
Director of Operational Technology & Connected Manufacturing - Film, Materials, Technology and Eng.,