techniques, approaches, tools, and systems, and technologies often spur
companies to change and improve. There doesn't seem to be a better motivator
than a direct competitor using a new tool or technology and getting superior
we’re in favor of implementing new systems and approaches. Sales and
operations planning and lean manufacturing are two of our favorites with the
greatest potential for payback for the average company. You’ll see a lot
of references to them in this newsletter and at our websites.
history teaches us that companies who focus solely on a tool, technique, or
technology, without a clear vision of the process they are trying to improve and
how they want to improve it, get results that fall short of expectations.
sad truth – technology alone will not produce the results you want or need.
If you really want to get the best results from any new approach, understand
that the real key is behavior modification - so that the old
ways of doing things don’t strangle the new system. Unless this is the
outcome of your implementation efforts, the results of any new system or
technology, no matter how good it is, will be disappointing.
what drives behavior modification?
education and training – along with a “pilot approach” to implementation
– are the secret that successful companies keep when it comes to getting
almost anything new on-the-air.
education, done properly, covers concepts and principles, so that users
understand why and how a particular tool, system or approach (S&OP, lean
manufacturing, etc.) works and how it can be applied to specific situations.
General educational also helps users develop a sense of how the business will be
run using the tools of the new system.
specific forms, transactions, reports, procedures, etc..
later phases of most implementations, the conference room and live pilots,
verify that the education and software were done properly, and that it's okay to
“go live” at least on some portion of the business. It’s the
validation that the changes in behavior have been made appropriately and will
work in actual practice.
education is flight school. Training is flying in a simulator.
The conference room pilot is flying with an instructor, and the live
pilot is going solo.
can’t expect good results without doing them all. Yet many companies
think that training is essential and education is optional and the
best approach to implementation is “cold turkey”. Having observed lots
of manufacturing software implementations over the years one thing stands out
over and over again: the really successful companies seem to get the right
mix for these activities - lots of time and money on the educational and
behavior change parts of their implementation, some targeted training activities
and then brief, intense pilots to ensure that things work before betting the
business on the new system.
here’s another secret - from the start, get the people who know the
most involved in leading the change and the education. Even if they do
not conduct the education and coaching sessions, your most knowledgeable people
should participate along with those that know the least. Why? - it's simple:
The more knowledgeable people can accelerate the learning process for the others
by connecting concepts with concrete examples and applications in the company
By participating, they lend credibility to the importance of the change.
They can participate early in the design process for change, rather than waiting
until the end and critiquing someone else's thoughts.
can help you unleash the power of your people to find and implement solutions to
everyday problems. We’ve developed a comprehensive approach to
education, training and the pilots. More than anything else, we’re in
the business of helping companies change and improve. If you’d like to
discuss how you can structure an education program that works, or assess one
that you are using today, give us a call or drop us a line:
603 778-9211 or 1 978 375-7808
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