Change management and people
I’ve lead supply chains, factories and their building projects in Finland and in Poland for many decades. Having learned hard lessons through my responsibilities, I’m still today shouting myself hoarse: “Don’t forget people!” By people, I mean our customers in the supply chain or its factories.
Have you, as a manager, seen hard-core IT professionals sitting comfortably near a new factory or next to a production line under construction, holding a PC tightly in their lap, connected to that great and miraculous control unit that is the key to delivering results at the factory that you are responsible for?
Having been born in a cottage with no electricity, I feel great admiration and respect for those IT professionals – in their area of expertise, I’m all at sea. I’m accountable for the results but still confused about what’s happening. But guess how many others in your operative organization are all at sea about how and with what resources people are building the tools that we aim to deliver results with!
I’ve seen so many times with just how little provisions people have embarked on a project to implement new systems and receive a newcomer. In the end, they have always learned to manage the newcomers and fixed or replaced those operations that prove to be unworkable in practice. But at what price! I wish that not everyone of us had to make a personal study trip to Siberia.
My message is: Do not forget people – those results makers that you are building the new tool for. Build together!
Engaging people pays off
Engagement doesn’t mean presenting fancy process flow charts, flow models, etc. to the future users. Most likely, they won’t even understand the terms you use the same way as you do.
Engagement means getting the users themselves involved in building the newcomer – using their own know-how and planting their own hopes and whishes in this new miracle. They have to be engaged from the very beginning so that they can grow with the newcomer to understand what it’s all about, why it’s being built and how it will eventually be utilized.
All this might feel burdensome and time-consuming, almost impossible to accomplish with people who are not familiar with the provided technology.
But I dare to argue otherwise! Those who need to learn will do so – I mean those people who will eventually use the tool being built. Why? Well, because they are responsible, industrious people, competent in what they do and, most importantly, want to experience the age-old joy of success!
I’ve often compared the aforementioned steps to the miracle of birth, to expecting a child, hopes for the future – but also to fears of what’s going to happen to us. All family members and relatives take part in the expectation and preparations and, when the time comes, each of them will be there to welcome the new arrival to this world, helping the mother, supporting the family, and paying special attention to the child… helping the newcomer to build a healthy self-esteem.
As a candy manufacturer, I also see another analogy here: a candy with a twist! Every new functionality must be wrapped in the infrastructure of the work community. All parties of the organization have the right to learn and grow with the project to come to terms with the newcomer.
Values in the daily life
Roima’s values highlight many important aspects that support the above. Let me mention two of them here:
We continuously improve our own processes as well and invest in customer experience. We want to offer the best possible service and expertise!
We believe that at the heart of all change is human. Future workers are multi-skilled talents who want and are able to develop the company’s processes, find meaning in their work and are committed to the company goals. The company blossoms when the performance of the organization is high and the work is meaningful both mentally and physically. Compatible, easy-to-use information systems increase work efficiency and reduce routine work.
Taisto Pitkänen has 40 years of experience in the Food & Beverage industry. Most recently he served as Factory Manager at the confectionery factory in Lappeenranta.