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Key Pillars of Digital Manufacturing Execution

17 Sep

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Digital Transformation in Manufacturing, or Digital Manufacturing for short, is a matter of survival now for manufacturing concerns.  Manufacturing companies desirous of survival have no choice but to hop on the Digital Transformation bandwagon, rapidly.

Business Transformation of any kind is not an easy endeavor.  Change Management of Digital Manufacturing is typically more difficult than any Change or Transformation Program that an organization may undertake.

Forming a strategy to leverage digital technologies is the 1st step in transforming a manufacturing concern towards Digital Manufacturing.  Bigger challenges are faced in strategy execution.

For Transformation execution to be effective, CEOs must reconsider almost everything about the way their companies work; for instance, establish new Business Models, reorganize their Organizational Design, and also rethink their Leadership style.

Specifically, there are 3 key pillars of Digital Manufacturing execution that need careful consideration for the Transformation to be successful:

  1. Business Model over Technology
  2. Independence of Digital Operations
  3. CEO-driven Digital Transformation

Let us consider the key pillars a little more in detail.

Business Model over Technology

Shifting from old technology to new is easier than changing the Business Model of any concern, especially a manufacturing concern.  Customarily, manufacturers sell machinery, hand out software as complementary, and offer after sales repair and maintenance service for the machinery.

For Digital Transformation to be truly successful, the whole way of doing business has to change.  Manufacturers have to look at what they are selling i.e., outcome instead of a product.  What is important is manufacturers should be willing to do away with existing Business Models to create and capture new value.

Value creation is achievable in many ways using industrial Internet of Things (IoT) by manufacturers.  All of the avenues for value creation should be used in parallel so as to gain the largest impact.

Value created through Digital Manufacturing can be captured in 2 ways:

  1. Software as a Service and Subscriptions/Licenses
  2. Offering Success as a Service

Independence of Digital Operations

Digital operations can create a meaningful impact only when they are independent of the main business.  Independence is important but so is proper linkage with the industrial business.

Initially, understanding regarding value provided by Digital operations may be very limited in the manufacturing business therefore cooperation may be inhibited.  Finding ways to link Digital operations with the manufacturing business must cater to the requirement of understanding how the machines work.

Resistance from the manufacturing business is expected when the 2 forces combine, especially when the Digital operations grow.  Delineating who handles customer relationship and all factors associated with it, is also a question that may spring up in cooperation between manufacturing and digital operations.

Ways to obtain gains from linking vertical business and the horizontal digital function must be found.

CEO-driven Digital Transformation

Sponsor of the Digital Manufacturing initiative has to be the CEO.  Only the CEO has the influence to decide the divergences between the old manufacturing business and the new digital business.

CEOs have to drive the Digital Manufacturing shift.  Leading from the front to make everyone understand that Digital Transformation is a very serious and important endeavor.

CEOs must have the will and resolve to challenge incumbency, obliviousness, and existing state of affairs.  While remaining firm on the strategic direction, CEOs must be flexible enough to experiment, learn, and adjust course.

Interested in learning more about Digital Manufacturing?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Digital Manufacturing here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Editor’s Note:

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Supply Chain Management (SCM) is the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of Supply Chain activities.  It also captures the management of the flow of goods and services. 

In February of 2020, COVID-19 disrupted—and in many cases halted—global Supply Chains, revealing just how fragile they have become.  By April, many countries experienced declines of over 40% in domestic and international trade. 

COVID-19 has likewise changed how Supply Chain Executives approach and think about SCM.  In the pre-COVID-19 era of globalization, the objective was to be Lean and Cost-effective. In the post-COVID-19 world, companies must now focus on making their Supply Chains Resilient, Agile, and Smart.  Additional trends include Digitization, Sustainability, and Manufacturing Reshoring.

Learn about our Supply Chain Management (SCM) Best Practice Frameworks here.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

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– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Lean Product Development: Talent Development

19 Aug

Top products are the creation of top designers and developers. Lean Product Development helps in developing expert designers and developers, who are excellent problem solvers and are adept at creating innovative solutions.  Developing Key Talent for Product Management accelerates Innovation and time to market while lowering costs.

Managers responsible for developing creative products and solutions need to take 5 key steps, in order to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector:

  1. Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organization DNA
  2. Create and Implement Design Standards
  3. Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews
  4. Evaluate Organization’s Product Development Process
  5. Revisit Organizational Leadership Culture to Focus on Learning

Let’s dive deeper into the steps to effective Talent Management.

STEP-1 Incorporate Technical Excellence into the Organizational DNA

Technical mastery needs to be at the heart of everyday work practices and the guiding principle for manufacturing concerns.  Incentives, recognition, and rewards should be created based on technical competence, and it should be incorporated into routine business practices.  Likewise, training programs need to be geared towards enhancing the engineers’ technical capabilities.

For instance, technical competence is an integral element of training new engineers at Toyota.  One of the main requirements for qualifying for an engineering leadership position at the company is mentoring of young engineers.  Similarly, Ford Motor Co. has a technical maturity model in place for each department in the engineering function.  The giant automaker reinforces this when creating roles and responsibilities, conducting design reviews, and remunerating its engineers.  These measures help curb attrition and motivate people to stay longer.

STEP-2 Create and Implement Design Standards

The next step is to develop design standards and execute them.  Design standards should be set in place and implemented by using the existing organizational knowledge.  Design leaders should hold regular sessions with developers on a smart board and solicit their views on the layout of a certain system and training an apprentice in design principles.  These design guiding principles should be compiled into user-friendly handbooks for future design and development programs.  Lessons learnt from each project should be incorporated into the design standards with regular updates to the handbooks.

Toyota reserves 10-15 days out of the development project time period for the development team to ponder over the lessons learned from an ongoing project.  The development team incorporates these lessons into the design standards and updates the design manuals with these newer experiences.

STEP-3 Hold Regular Technical Design Reviews

The 3rd step involves holding frequent technical design reviews to nurture people via action learning and collaboration. The product design and development units should organize weekly technical design assessments.  The assessments need to be conducted at the design and development facilities—factory premises, test lab, or prototype shop—instead of a conference room.  This helps in gaining practical knowledge and skills.  Regular assessments assist in developing design and engineering teams through on-the-job experiences and cross-unit cooperation.

Interested in learning more about the other steps to facilitate Learning and Development of Key Talent in the manufacturing sector?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development: Talent Development here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Lean Product Development & Innovation

8 Aug

Improving Product Development competencies in designers and developers is a concern for senior leaders in the manufacturing sector.

The approach most organizations take in developing Human Resources does not go beyond staffing the cream of the crop from leading global educational institutes.  Talent Development to them is, typically, sending their people to attend workshops and keeping up with employee annual training hours’ goals, and that’s it.  Companies usually spend more on acquiring latest manufacturing equipment or modern collaboration tools than they do to develop their greatest asset—their people.

Research on manufacturing practices unequivocally suggests that it’s primarily the inspiration to adopt a culture of Continuous Improvement in people that results in operational excellence.  This Continuous Improvement Culture has more significance than implementing Lean practices across all processes.

The “Lean Product Development” concept isn’t a new notion.  The practice has been around since the 1980s.  An MIT study in the 1980s revealed that manufacturing practices in Japanese automakers were totally opposed to those of auto manufacturers in the rest of the world.  These approaches were referred to as “Lean” practices.  Research into manufacturing practices of Toyota has spread the knowledge about Lean Product Development globally.

Lean concept is strikingly opposing to the philosophy that emphasizes on delegating the responsibility of developing the designers’ / developers’ capabilities to the Human Resources Department.  In order to develop and deliver superior products, Lean Product Development focuses on enabling the developers build “personal dexterity” as the key element of success.  The concept necessitates technical training and collaboration between developers.

Before embarking on the Lean Product Development and Innovation journey, organizational leadership should work on finding answers to these 3 fundamental questions:

  1. In order to design better products, which critical insights do we need to develop regarding customers, products, and processes?
  2. Which mediums, organizational knowledge, and tools are required to develop these insights?
  3. Which organizational structures and ways of doing businesses are ideally suited to develop these valuable insights and improving the expertise of developers?

Pondering over these critical questions and answering them facilitates in creating a pool of skilled Product Designers and developers.

Let’s dive deeper into these questions.

Question 1

Lean Product Development emphasizes on developing a steady stream of products at an even pace—referred to as “Takt.”   iPhone 1 and iPhone 2 are examples of a steady stream of products released at regular intervals in Apple’s iPhone value stream.

Takt has evolved the way products are designed.  An initial product is developed as a means to validate an idea.  Products are progressed from the initial product based on stakeholders’ feedback.  The purpose of a value stream of products is to improve the current product offerings, inspire the existing customers to upgrade, and tempt potential customers to try the product.  In these evolving value streams, every product release serves as an opportunity to gain insights into the market.

The value enhancement through Takt has 2 broad objectives:

  • Fixing problems in existing products and creating offerings meeting the customer needs.
  • Lowering manufacturing costs and improving quality.

Question 2 

Lean Product Development underscores the significance of the medium through which developers should learn in order to create superior products.  Developers’ capabilities in technical Problem Solving and learning what the others are doing helps enhance the quality of each new release.  Development teams should have quick access to accumulating a thorough knowledge of the entire supply chain and the effect of their decisions on manufacturing.  This assists in improving the efficiency of the developers.

Instead of learning and gaining knowledge through traditional ways, Lean Product Development encourages the developers to learn through Action Learning—the process where teams are continuously mentored and encouraged to learn collectively on the job, solve problems creatively, and test models to cope with real-life issues.

Interested in learning more about the key elements to consider before enabling Lean Product Development & Innovation, and the phases of the Lean process?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Lean Product Development & Innovation here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Did You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients.  In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Value Grid Analysis vs. Value Chain Analysis

1 Jun

A traditional Value Chain involves a linear sequence of activities—from conversion of raw materials into components which are assembled into products.  The products are then distributed, marketed, sold, and serviced.  Management plans and execute strategies and operations based on this sequence.

This set of activities worked well for organizations in the past.  However, this linear progression does not encourage Innovation and provides little protection from the risk of being outperformed by rivals in today’s disruptive markets.  Such a competitive environment calls for implementing more robust ways of managing Customer Demand and Value Creation.

An effective approach to deal with this challenge is the Value Grid Analysis Model.  The Value Grid approach provides a perspective beyond traditional linear progression of activities, where organizations need to balance equilibrium between suppliers and manufacturers aside from concentrating only on reducing lead times.  It outlines new opportunities and risks for organizations.

The Value Grid Analysis provides a number of routes to improve Performance and reduce risks.  It encompasses the following 3 pathways—or dimensions:

  • Vertical pathway – using traditional Value Chain, companies find opportunities upstream or downstream from adjacent tiers in the existing Value Chain.
  • Horizontal pathway – companies look for opportunities from similar tiers in multiple (parallel) Value Chains.
  • Diagonal pathway – explore opportunities to create value across multiple value chains and tiers.

The Value Grid Framework necessitates diverting leadership attention towards 3 key opportunity areas to create Competitive Advantage:

  1. Customer Demand
  2. Information Access
  3. Multi-tier Penetration

Let’s dive deeper into the 3 opportunity areas.

Customer Demand

The first opportunity area to drive competitive advantage pertains to controlling internal and external customers’ demand.  It warrants a company to manage customer demand upstream (suppliers and companies that supply to suppliers) as well as downstream (customers).  By managing customer demand downstream, organizations control the decision makers responsible for the purchase decision.  When companies are unable to control the decision makers, they look for levers across the Value Chain to influence decisions.  These levers include direct advertisements to the end users, focusing on distributors, or incentivizing retailers to recommend a product.  Organizations also try to influence upstream, e.g., their R&D units, to create products which can be used in conjunction with the existing product range to boost their efficacy and benefits for the end-users, ultimately influencing consumers’ decisions downstream.

Information Access

The 2nd opportunity area involves linking information sharing to influence decision making.  A few manufacturers prefer to partner with those suppliers who openly disclose the information (capabilities, flexibility, and pricing structures) of their 2nd-tier suppliers with them.  This assist them in planning and helping the suppliers manage materials and prices better.

For instance, with increased tariff on imported steel and price of steel continuously going up, car manufacturers like Honda purchase steel in bulk and sell it to their suppliers at a reduced rate.  This helps them keep the prices of their cars down and compete better.

Multi-tier Penetration

Nonlinear thinking (Value Grid Model) enables the organizations to determine innovative solutions beyond the scope of traditional Value Chains.  To manage excess demand organizations take on multiple Value Chain tiers to control demand and buyers’ power.

Leading manufacturers evaluate multiple value chain points for their participation in order to scale.  They sell not only to Original Equipment Manufacturers but also in the aftermarket.  Supplying to more than one Value Chain tier allows organizations to withstand pressure from OEMs to reduce costs, demand shifts, and offers attractive margins.

Interested in learning more about the 3 opportunity areas of the Value Grid Analysis Framework?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Value Grid Analysis here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“As a small business owner, the resource material available from FlevyPro has proven to be invaluable. The ability to search for material on demand based our project events and client requirements was great for me and proved very beneficial to my clients. Importantly, being able to easily edit and tailor the material for specific purposes helped us to make presentations, knowledge sharing, and toolkit development, which formed part of the overall program collateral. While FlevyPro contains resource material that any consultancy, project or delivery firm must have, it is an essential part of a small firm or independent consultant’s toolbox.”

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Is “Profit Leaks” a Consistent Issue in Your Organization? Use Cost-to-Serve (CTS) Analysis to Prevent It

9 Dec

Supply chain management across industries is revolutionizing at a rapid pace by technology.  By implementing technology systems, supply chain organizations aspire to eliminate waste, meet customers’ needs at reasonable costs, and ensure profitability.  Enterprise Resource Planning systems facilitate in processing unstructured data at an aggregated level.  However, at workflow or micro level the data produced through ERPs needs to be further refined to understand costs.

Supply chain experts need to look at their unstructured data and understand the cost of offering a product; know which product mix they should promote; and gauge the impact of service levels on transportation costs, profits, and pricing strategy.

Supply Chain Executives can use the Cost-to-Serve (CTS) Analysis approach to control distribution costs, identify negative-margin products, and prevent profit leakages.  CTS Analysis affords the organizations the means to identify the total cost of serving customers—including all the costs in a product’s value chain (from raw material to delivery)—at the product as well as customer levels.  The approach helps leaders split and evaluate individual customers, geographies, products, product families, or combinations of products / customers.

The Cost-to-Serve Analysis can be undertaken to identify costs related to Supply Chains, Logistics, Distribution, Warehousing, or Transportation.  CTSA allocates indirect cost to products—overhead or fixed costs that are not easily and directly attributable to a single order, shipment, or activity.

The CTS model for costing entails detailed modeling of all the value and non-value added activities in the process.  The approach is more precise than other methods in determining “what-if” budgets, as it accounts for all the activities and link them with their relevant cost pools.  CTS employs an activity-based modelling algorithm—which segregates the entire supply chain into multiple tasks while calculating the costs at every task—to help the supply chain practitioners calculate costs at various levels.

The CTS Framework entails 5 fundamental steps:

  1. Obtain Buy-in from Key Stakeholders
  2. Conduct Cost Categorization
  3. Determine per Unit Cost Breakdown
  4. Develop Classification Matrices
  5. Make Joint Decisions

Let’s delve deeper into the first 2 steps of the CTS Framework.

1. Obtain Buy-in from Key Stakeholders

The first step to implement Cost-to-Serve Framework involves getting across-the-board agreement and stakeholder buy-in.  The decision to calculate the impact of cost to serve on revenue entails engagement and collaboration from multiple departments in a company.  Multiple cost centers work in partnership across a value chain and thus profit and loss responsibility cannot be attached to a specific unit.

For instance, a decision to trim down the costs to serve a customer (or various customers) has to be agreed upon by stakeholders from the:

  • Sales and marketing department to calculate the impact of service level agreements.
  • Logistics function to calculate the cost impact.
  • Go-to-market Strategy to ensure alignment with Corporate Strategy
  • Warehousing unit to ensure resource planning and allocation.

2. Conduct Cost Categorization

The 2nd step of the Cost-to-Serve Framework involves categorization of costs associated with the entire supply chain.  Supply chains typically have various cost centers (or functions): e.g., Procurement, Manufacturing, Warehousing, and Logistics.  These cost centers further have multiple processes with costs associated with all of them.  CTS requires top-down estimation of costs at the process and activity level and then aggregate those back to the cost center level.

This categorization of costs across the various functions of the supply chain and their associated processes facilitates in accurate calculation and obtaining estimates at the micro level.

Interested in learning more about the other steps of the Cost-to-Serve Framework?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Cost-to-Serve Analysis here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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