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3min July 2, 2021 3min Jul 2, 2021
July 2, 2021 3 minute read

Five Questions to Ask Before Digital Transformation

It’s been said time and time again: when it comes to Industry 4.0, the best plans often lead to the best outcomes. Planning doesn’t have to be a painful, drawn-out process. Sometimes, the best place to start is with a few simple questions to get everyone on the same page.

Here are five questions to ask yourself, your teams, and your leaders before diving into a digital transformation project.

1. What are our biggest pain points?

You are likely familiar with your team’s biggest pain points. But do you know what other teams struggle with on a daily basis? Compile the toughest challenges from across your organization to get a comprehensive view of your organization. Look for overlapping issues that can be tackled together.

Build a Value Stream Map (VSM) to see where bottlenecks exist across your entire production workflow.

2. How are teams currently accessing data?

Getting access to a centralized data repository can still be a major challenge. Knowing whether to leverage IIoT, Digital Twins, Data Lakes, or some other form of storage requires a deep dive into your connectivity and data strategy.

Our Digital Maturity Assessment can help you see where you are now and how to get to the next step— without tackling too much.

3. Where do we want to go from here?

Short-term goals are important: they make it easier to snowball wins as you implement a digital transformation strategy. However, building your transformation framework around current problems could mean you’ll hit a dead-end on progress.

Think bigger than today’s challenges for long-term success. Setting a strong foundation, which includes the five pillars of digital transformation, can help you achieve both short- and long-term success. Build a continuous improvement mindset into your strategy, culture, and workflow.

4. Are the right people at the table?

Digital transformation starts at the top, but that doesn’t mean conversations and asking questions should only take place between executives. Find a way to bring in feedback from plant managers, engineers, and operators. Understanding their challenges helps ensure that your chosen solution meets their needs.

The benefits are two-fold. Corporate investments result in ROI because teams can achieve their goals. Plus, your teams are excited about using a solution that they helped choose, resulting in better adoption rates.

5. Do we have an adequate training plan?

Don’t let a good thing go to waste. Implementing a new technology, methodology, or workflow will be difficult without adequate training in place. Make sure that everyone has the time to learn and understand new digital transformation tools. Assign internal leaders to help train and onboard plant employees.

When possible, be flexible with different work schedules and learning preferences. Our white paper on navigating change management during digital transformation can help you set a plan for success.

There are plenty of other considerations to take into account before jumping into a digital transformation plan. Using these questions as a guide can help you start having the right conversations with the right team members.

Our white paper, “Five Reasons that Digital Transformation Fails,” is an excellent resource for planning your digital transformation. You’ll learn more about the mistakes that many manufacturers make when taking on digital transformation and how you can avoid them.