Value creation for manufacturers: the key to business success

Posted on 1 Dec 2022 by Joe Bush
Partner Content

With new innovations always on the horizon, manufacturers are amongst the businesses most susceptible to change. However, many manufacturers struggle with business and digital transformation.

In fact, a recent report from The Manufacturer found a third of manufacturers (33%) say their ability to manage change is one of the main obstacles to achieving their business goals over the next 12-24 months.

Columbus - creating value for manufacturers

A common theme for those who succeed is consistently clarifying the outcomes and value they expect to generate. Then, pair this with a holistic approach with the people’s side (of transformation) at the centre, not the technology.

To achieve new value, you must concurrently deploy the right digital technologies and be strong in many of the disciplines that lead to successful business transformation.

Putting value into context for manufacturers

Value can come in several forms and be a financial or non-financial gain. For example, one group of stakeholders in your organisation might see value as increasing revenue, while another might see value as improving specific business processes. Essentially, value is any improvement perceived as beneficial for your internal and external stakeholders.

By addressing the “what’s in it for me?” question, you can position your goals to the individual stakeholder, making it easier for you to gain their buy-in. Manufacturers often don’t like change, and their motivations are one of the main wildcards in transformations. We’re talking about hidden agendas, personal ambitions, fear of the unknown and so on.

Follow a value first customer approach to defeat the odds

In a quickly changing digital world, where digital transformation is growing increasingly complex and the desired outcomes are often not achieved, what can be controlled? To succeed, manufacturers need to focus on the following intertwined activities, starting with value first.

1. Constantly hunt new value

Columbus recommend using a design thinking approach to identify and hunt new value. New value is something you don’t currently have, so you might be able to increase value in areas of the business where you already create that type of value (for example, increased revenue of an existing product line).

New value on the other hand, is all about finding value in areas you currently don’t enable value today (for example, making it easier for a customer to do business with you where it currently isn’t easy).

2. Align people and mindsets

Aligning and guiding people starts at the top. Empower your people with approaches and toolsets that enlighten them, a bold and engaging vision, and effective stakeholder management and communications. Always put the leading and managing of people through change at the heart of digital transformation.

3. Enable the appropriate transformation capabilities

Recognise, introduce and/or continuously develop the enabling disciplines and abilities required to deliver and sustain business and digital transformation. Resolve those capabilities in running the company that may hinder change, keeping it efficient and straightforward yet effective.

It typically takes a different type of skill to change the organisation than it does to run the organisation. By that, we mean the difference in capabilities to enable and lead change over and above the day-to-day management of people and processes.

4. Justify and deliver at the right pace

Learn, justify and deliver with the right approach and speed for your business and circumstances. Your approach may vary for different elements of the transformational journey (e.g. Portfolio, Programme, and Project investment appraisal and sign-off intervals, waterfall or agile delivery, adopt don’t adapt, explore or exploit utilising modern measures, such as Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) approach.

Tackle change and transformation the right way

Successful value management contributes to the overall success of your transformation project. By putting the right set of stakeholders together, you can:

  • Hunt value together
  • Prioritise and align on what success will look like
  • Understand the capabilities required to get there and at what pace

This allows you to layer and craft the transformation initiative that will get the entire business pulling on the change, rather than it being pushed upon your manufacturing organisation with little engagement.

Ian Kingstone, ColumbusAuthor: Ian Kingstone, UK Director – Strategy & Change, Columbus

Ian has over 25 years of experience in leading people, business processes, internal and external consulting of IT strategy and business change. He’s passionate in digital & business transformation, process, technology-driven and leading people through complex change.

Columbus is a global IT services and consulting company with more than 2000 employees servicing 5000+ customers worldwide. Columbus helps ambitious companies transform, maximise and futureproof their business digitally. We are specialised within the industries of manufacturing, food, professional services, retail, and distribution.

For more stories on Leadership click here.