4 Mistakes Factories Make When Rolling Out New Technology

Business internet technology concept. Businessman chooses Transformation button on a touch screen interface.

New tech on your factory floors is supposed to be disruptive. However, there is a good kind and a bad kind of disruptive.

The good type sees your frontline workers embracing new routines and new processes, with higher output and efficiency. The bad kind sees them lamenting the old system and struggling, while output drops.

To make sure you’re on the right side of change, you will want to avoid these 4 common mistakes.

1. No Frontline Feedback

Presumably, your new technology should fix an existing (if not longstanding) pain point or frustration. So, a successful rollout involves clearly communicating to front-line workers that, “We’ve heard your feedback when it comes to X. As a result, we’re rolling out Y to help you.” 

If, for example, you were introducing a portable CMM technology from Measurement Metrology or something like that. You would first explain the benefits of the solution to the frontline workers. “This will make your job easier because…”

Next, you will want to sell them on the overall benefit to the company, which impacts them. “This will help us be more productive, which helps our output, which leads to more job security and more opportunity for you.”

2. No Buy-in From Management

You also need management firmly on-board. They are the ones who will be selling this technology to the frontline, and likely training them how to use it.

If there is any perceived trepidation about this new technology coming from management, the front-line will pick up on that in a second.

Managers are the ones who will deal with any friction during training or onboarding. When this happens, their attitude needs to be “This is how we’ll fix this” and not “This was a mistake.”

3. No Senior Level Champion

Incredibly complex and expensive equipment is not purchased on a whim. Something compelled the senior level to purchase this equipment, or OK the decision to buy it. Something (or someone) made the business case for this investment.

Whatever it was, they need to personify that benefit to the company. Someone on the senior staff needs to be the “face of the change,” so to speak, and convey excitement for this new investment. If someone at the top is sincerely excited to see what this tech can do, that will trickle down to management and the frontline employees.

4. No Clear or Realistic Goals

Finally, you can’t very well determine if this new technology is a success if you’re not sure what success actually looks like.

Work with your vendor to set SMART goals based on what they’ve seen with other comparable companies. This will keep everyone accountable. The only way you can truly measure the ROI of this equipment is if you can prove that you reduced (blank) by (blank)% in (blank) days.

Of course, the success or failure of bringing in a new piece of technology will depend on a lot more than 4 factors. However, these are 4 of the most common barriers that stand between factories and success. You need to ensure that you have buy-in from the top of the organization all the way down to the front-line workers. You also need to make sure you’re setting realistic goals.

Success will start at the top. However, the frontline workers are the ones who make it happen.