How to overcome manufacturing’s two biggest blind spots
As post-pandemic capital investments begin to increase, manufacturers who prioritize digitalizing processes and leveraging data early on will gain a significant competitive advantage.
Technology / IIoT
For 60% of Canadian manufacturers, cost is a significant obstacle preventing them from adopting new technologies today. However, 55% of manufacturers plan on investing in this area in the next three years. And with recent news illustrating a renewed appetite for Industry 4.0 investments, it’s clear that Canadian manufacturers are starting to make transformational changes for a post-pandemic world.
To thrive in the future, these organizations need to embrace organizational honesty as a core value. This means leading with data-driven operational insights and data-driven decision-making above all else. And while business intelligence may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about honesty, it is critical in enabling an organization to act honestly. That’s because strong business intelligence foundations help manufacturers overcome two of the industry’s most pervasive weaknesses: filtered truths and confirmation bias.
Shattering Filtered Truth with Data
One of the main challenges facing manufacturers is the knowledge gap created by the filtered truth. The filtered truth is often a result of two things:
- First, as an outcome of reporting being done the way it’s always been done. That is, reporting that relies on imperfect processes prone to human error, poor judgement, lack of subject matter expertise and bias.
- Second, it’s a result of messages from the frontlines going through so many levels of management that it ends up being like a game of telephone. This leads to a distorted message received by executives that includes interpretations and biases from the various people and roles who passed it along.
This leaves decision makers to operate based on a perceived reality backed up by bits and pieces of data, and it leads to suboptimal decision making and inadequate plans of action.
By leveraging data analytics and well-designed dashboards, manufacturers can ensure data consistency and transparency and shatter the filtered messaging that goes out to decision makers.
Conquering Confirmation Bias
Manufacturers must get to a place where their data defines the story, and their people add colour to it. Instead, we’re seeing organizations whose people manipulate data to reinforce the story they’ve chosen to tell, often through spreadsheet aerobics. Effective business intelligence programs ensure consistency and transparency in data and reporting so leadership teams can stop making decisions based on perceived truths and start making decisions based on facts.
The Path Forward
Many organizations opt to bring in outside help when implementing business intelligence initiatives to ensure their efforts effectively overcome these issues. As all good leaders know, not even the most sophisticated BI tools can help an organization grow if the underlying data is unreliable.
In short, the most successful manufacturers in a post-pandemic Industry 4.0 will be those who have implemented fundamental business intelligence guardrails designed to shatter the filtered truth. Leading manufacturers are already doing this, and those who refuse to take the leap now will quickly be left behind.