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Industry 4.0 17.03.22

Leading changes in industry 4.0

What is change management?

The emergence of Industry 4.0 is revolutionising the way companies produce and distribute their products, and is therefore having a major impact on the business model. It is accompanied by a major digital transformation, with the introduction of new technologies. The implementation of these new technologies, such as Big Data, the Internet of Things or augmented reality, represents a significant competitive advantage but can be difficult to ensure.

Change management refers to all the operations that enable a company to adapt to the new tools and approaches of Industry 4.0.

 

The strategy of change management

There are different ways of approaching change management, depending on the type of business and the long-term objectives. However, these different methods agree on the overall approach, which is detailed below :

1- Define precise objectives

Any change management strategy is linked to precise objectives, both long and short term. These define the expected benefits according to an analysis of investors, competitors, customers and the market.

2- Carry out a diagnosis of the current situation

The aim of this stage is to determine the best actions to implement to support the company’s change according to its existing operating mode and organisation.

3- Implement an internal and external communication strategy

It is essential to put in place a project communication plan that will detail all the stakeholders, in order to organise effective communication.

4- Organise a knowledge transfer

Change management is applied by integrating all the players in the transition, using effective management methods. These are based on the participation of all the employees in training courses or seminars enabling them to better understand the challenges of the change. These events enable them to redefine, together, a corporate vision that is appropriate to the new ways of working, on both technical and organisational aspects.

5- Follow up on the actions taken

During all the stages, it is necessary to define adequate performance indicators to evaluate the scope of the project. This fifth step consists of using these indicators to adapt the approach already in place.

Change management tools

Tools are available to follow this change management process. These have been developed by theorists to facilitate the management of change, by adapting to the psychological transformation brought about by it.

Amongst the most commonly used are :

  • The Leavitt diamond :

This tool is very effective in assessing the consequences of a change on the different levels of a company. Developed by the American work psychologist Harold J. Leavitt, it enables us to understand the interactions between the transformation and the different components of a company: individuals, tasks, organisation and technology.

 

  • Lewin’s force field diagram :

This tool, which takes the form of a matrix, facilitates decision-making by separating the driving and restraining forces on a given problem or situation.

 

  • The change equation :

This tool also facilitates decision-making by analysing a given situation and can also prevent resistance to change.

The change management strategy, as well as these tools, are adapted to the structure of the company. A young organisation, for example, will find it easier than an older organisation to fit into the digital business transformation, but will have to spend more energy on development and market share acquisition because of its fragile financial situation.

Mistakes to avoid

Implementing change management is sometimes very difficult. Indeed, most companies do not have a clear implementation strategy. They therefore set up various isolated projects without coordinating them. Yet it is relevant to take advantage of the existing synergies between the different technologies, and thus successfully apply the full potential of the technology. This lack of coordination in companies may be a sign that the automation of industrial tasks is not yet optimised.

Furthermore, one of the mistakes to be avoided when leading the change is to neglect the company’s investment strategy. Indeed, investments play an important role in the change management of companies. It is therefore essential to analyse the return on investment in order to make the best decisions.

Change becomes necessary !

The intervention of change in the strategy of companies is necessary today. Here are a few examples of companies that have been able to put in place a relevant change management process, which is the guarantee of their current success.

  • Firstly, there is Netflix, which, having started out as a DVD delivery service, had to reinvent itself to cope with changes in the way entertainment is consumed.

 

  • The independent Scottish brewery Brewdog also re-involved itself during the pandemic to devote a large part of its business to making hydro-alcoholic gel. Their initiative helped to supply over 50,000 charities, medical centres and hospitals.

 

  • Originally in the paper industry, Nokia had to reinvent itself several times, later moving into telecommunications. Today, Nokia has been selected by NASA to deploy a cellular network on the Moon.

 

These examples illustrate the importance of change, without which companies cannot compete and respond effectively to the demands of their customers and employees.

 

 

Ecrit par Emma Guignard

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