“We must remember that in the end it is the individual human being who must solve the problems. ” – Eiji Toyoda
Society has reached the point where one can push a button and be immediately deluged with technical and managerial information. This is all very convenient, of course, but if one is not careful there is danger of losing the ability to think.
Flexibility and adaptation are the two foremostly important watchwords in the continually changing industry scenario today. Technology in communication and information technology makes new advances every single day. Naturally it is critical for companies to be constantly vigilant of technological advancement in order to remain significant, at par with peers and relevant to market demands.
On the other hand it is equally important to scrutinize technology , assess its relevance to the company principle, policies, people and the shop floor before making radical changes. One need not be the trendsetter when it comes to adopting technology. One need not adopt and upgrade at every available new technology. In order to be the most profitable & efficient enterprise its is not necessary to be the market leader in adopting new technology.
It is hence suggested that whenever a new technology is acceptable and is decided to be implemented in the organisation the following steps ought to be enacted:
- Re-design / modify the it to match with the organisational values
- It should support the ongoing work flow
- It must be highly visual & its impact felt
- Pre testing of the technology in the shop floor is suggested
- It ought to support the people & processes
- It must have a proven value add in the organisation
- In the long run, the technology should be able to pay for itself and keep the business sustainable.
- It must keep the flexibility of the organisation intact in order to upgrade.
One must adapt the technology which is absolutely relevant, reliable and has been thoroughly tested as per the conditions of the enterprise. Technology should be adapted to support the people , processes and principles of the organisation. When a technology is resisted by either of the above, or is not the interest and in sync with the current working methodology, it is likely to lead to conflicting interests internally. This in turn would lead to a loss in collective efforts towards the one common goal in the interest of the company’s mission.
For example, manufacturers across the world rely heavily on CAD softwares for designing & designing of simulations & virtual imagery to represent the actual look & feel of finished products, swatches & samples. But if this is done irrespective of the companies processes and without considering the compatibility of the shop floor, it is likely to cause major issues during production.
People do the work, computers move the information
Information technology and computer aided manufacturing is a necessity of the day, but they need to be implemented on the shop floor in consideration with the expertise of experienced shop floor workers who are a better judge of feasibilities.
Lean Manufacturing makes it possible to remain absorbent. Introduction of thoroughly tested technology is a simpler process in a Lean Organisation than in a conventional one. It is less time consuming and incurs less costs to induce changes in a lean system.
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