operations, is complicated. A successful jour-
ney requires leadership understanding and
commitment, cultural change, organization-
al adjustments, and the implementation of a
range of new technologies. In other words,
everything including the kitchen sink.
So it would be only natural to look at that
35% number and say that the industry still
has a long way to go to embrace M4.0. No
doubt there is truth in such an interpretation.
Yet, the idea of the digital thread appears to
be weaving its way into manufacturing companies – with perhaps profound consequences to come.
The tech industry has long debated the
chicken or egg question of whether business change inspires the adoption of new
technology or whether the emergence of
new technology compels business change.
The answer is that both are true to an extent. But, for the moment, I’m betting more
on the egg of new technology.
I’m basing my bet on the idea that, given
the complexities surrounding M4.0, manufacturers need an “external force,” to use the
Newtonian phrase, to help compel managerial and organizational change, the harder
parts of the journey to M4.0. Moreover,
manufacturers need a change agent that
will enable them to accelerate their journey
to M4.0, a journey that has become what
I’ve been calling this year a “digital wagon
train,” notable for its slow and, at times,
Threading that digital needle will help
break down still prevalent functional silos
in many organizations. In doing so, leadership will be compelled to re-think a variety
of business processes and how decisions are
made. Technology-enabled change will bubble up, and the wagon train will pick up speed.
So embrace the egg today, sunny side up!
– David R. Brousell
NE OF THE MORE INTERESTING FINDINGS FROM THE MAN-
ufacturing Leadership Council’s new survey on the Integrated Manufacturing Enterprise, details of which follow this article, is that 35% of survey
respondents say their companies have implemented a “digital thread” in
their product lifecycle processes. Now, that may not sound like a big number
considering the fact that we are, after all, in 2017, but it caught my attention. The reason it did
is that the journey to Manufacturing 4.0, with all that is required for companies to digitize their
LEADERSHIP JOURNAL .................... ....................
Which Comes First: The Chicken or the Egg?