Discussions with shops around the nation result in a few inevitables.
1. How do you get people to move forward?
2. How do you get other people to move forward?
That is a purposeful pun.
It really gets to be all about people in our efforts to change products and processes. Those changes always mean changes in people, projects and props (the tools and technologies). But the people are in the center of it all.
Product change means marketing and selling customers and investors. For an In Plant, they are the same. Customers are investors. They are the source of income and many times the only source. Sure, the CFO, COO, and CEO have strong opinions and input especially for transactional product lines. Yet, more and more effective print and distribution management for In Plants must engage the Marketing and Sales customers. That is high powered growth. Transactional has a high likelihood for being sourced and reduced significantly. You must move forward.
Process change is the same. Your highest sell is to your internal production teams. Next comes the customer. Many processes can be changed without engaging the customer. Yet, you need to ask yourself why you are doing changes if the customer does not benefit? They have an interest, even if it is just to know you are working on cost improvement or cost containment for them.
Prop changes are for the products and processes or they should not be done. Nuff said. You should not be retooling just to get the next fancy wangamahoochie. Technology must meet real business demand to go through the pain of change. Your production team must understand how the customer will benefit along with the product and the process. Your production team should improve skill and contribution and have more fun when you change technologies and tools.
Projects are what implement changes. Have them or die. A defined way to analyze, define, plan, implement, and optimize goes with every change. There are budget approvals and customer approvals and departmental approvals and worker approvals and self approvals and vendor approvals and IT approvals and on and on and on that must be planned and coordinated along the path to productive and prosperous change.
So people are involved in every step and every area of change. Those murky, hard to understand, mental, emotion, physical, and spiritual beings can make change heaven or hell.
Just for fun think of four types you will encounter.
Mundane Mary: The person will ask question after question. She will want to understand the universal and specific reasons for the change. Put her on the analysis team with a specific deadline. She might drive you insane, but she might find a hole in some plan that saves your hide.
Slap Happy Sam: The person will want to implement without a thought. Every day is an opportunity for a new party. He can get inclusion guaranteed as long as he is armed with a few facts to support his sales of you and the project. Make friends with him. Get him to understand how this change will improve happiness for someone.
Hard Ball Bart: Whew.. he will want profitability or cost reduction. This guy is important. He will make you justify in the right manners. Convince him. Do your homework.
Amiable Amy: She just want to get along. So make sure she is on the implementation and training track. She will work until it works for everyone else.
This is a blog not a book. So I am ending here. Just some thoughts to stir you up on the path to progress.