Harnessing Change for a Successful Business

Change is natural and even crucial in order to survive and move forward. This is also true when it comes to business. Mainnovation’s Focus+Change - approach puts inevitable change in the spotlight, helping businesses manage uncertainties for the benefit of their operations.

Harnessing Change for  a Successful Business

There is nothing permanent except change. Heraclitus, the Greek philosopher expressed that change is the only reality in nature. That is also the case in Maintenance & Asset Management, says Peter Decaigny, Managing Partner of the Netherlands –based consultancy company, Mainnovation N.V.

Decaigny notes that Maintenance & Asset Management organizations must continuously respond to changing market conditions, production requirements and cost targets. Technical departments need to deal with different external influences such as the shortage on the labour market of technically skilled employees, the digitalization shift towards a digital factory, the aging of production assets as well as the pressure on life time extension and renewals.

– These are all “additional” challenges next to the day-by-day challenges of every technical organisation, he explains.

Managing the permanent change modus

Mainnovation’s Focus+Change approach is universal, it is a mindset. To improve the effectiveness of change programmes, companies must work on the acceptation of it.

– In our daily contact with maintenance and asset management organisations we observed that a lot of good initiatives and improvement programmes did not have the expected results. Despite all the effort to optimize the content, the result was often poor and unsustainable. Technically skilled people try to solve this problem with more focus on the content: more milestones, more processes, etc. However, it is not about being right, it is about getting it right.

Decaigny points that the employee is a key and scarce resource in businesses. Therefore, companies need to pay special attention to the “human” aspect in all kinds of changes.

– This is in contradiction to what we often see in technical departments. There is often over attention for the technical (content) aspects and little attention on the change or the acceptation.

Decaigny adds that there are two prerequisites for a successful change: the necessity to change – in other words is everybody convinced (not only the management team) – and do we have a clear future vision? For these prerequisites to be matched the employees should be involved. When this is done, companies should work on a guided transition.

– Employees have a lot of knowledge and insight. This information is often crucial for the next steps. The involvement also helps to overcome the NIBM (Not Invented By My) syndrome.

If employees in the field are not involved, you get natural resistance, but even worse, some solutions cannot be implemented due to possible practical issues that are left neglected. For instance, tablets that have a short battery life, synchronisation cycles of more than an hour every morning, smart glasses that need a finger touch for commands in an environment where everybody must wear special gloves and so forth.

Because time is also a scarce resource in today’s fast-pace business world, Decaigny recognises that new ideas are needed to help guide workers through the change process.

– We do not have the time for everybody to participate in all steps of a change programme. So, we must combine different success factors like storytelling and leadership behaviour to motivate and coach the people.

Getting employees involved in change is key

Focus+Change are two parallel, but interconnected, tracks where Focus has a direct link with the content (the ratio, the analysis, the solutions) and Change has a direct link with the acceptation (the behaviour, the mindset, the soft skills).

– The result is the product of Focus (quality of the content) with Change (the effectiveness of the acceptation). You can compare it with an OEE measurement that is used to improve how effectively a manufacturing operation is utilized. In our case it is used to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of transitions in Maintenance & Asset Management.

The approach applies 10 proven success factors to help companies manage the constant flux of change they face.

– This is not an add-on somewhere at the end of a project but something we must integrate from the very beginning of every project or programme.

The Focus+Change approach has 10 proven success factors that can be used as a checklist:

1. Make the need for change visible. We do this through our VDMXL benchmarking and economic value-driver analysis

2. Develop a clear vision for the future and strategy

3. Measure the result and progress. We do this by continuously measuring and improving KPIs in the VDMXL Control Panel

4. Create management support by demonstrating the economic added value

5. Involve the workplace actively in designing and implementing the strategy

6. Improve the skills & tools for all employees through training and coaching

7. Communicate the change programme by storytelling

8. Ensure strong leadership within the Maintenance & Asset Management organization

9. Motivate the employees and management by using techniques such as change readiness assessment, people impact analysis and the excuse wall

10. Engage VDMXL Coaches for the guidance of the change process

Text: Nina Garlo-Melkas

Asset Management | 14.3.2019

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