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Provide Learning Time

EP Editorial Staff | May 1, 2022

You’ve escaped pilot purgatory, cleared organizational obstacles, and are now in position to implement an advanced analytics system that will significantly improve manufacturing performance.

By Nicholas Gigliotti, Seeq

You’ve escaped pilot purgatory, cleared organizational obstacles, and are now in position to implement an advanced analytics system that will significantly improve manufacturing performance. With a well-defined IT architecture for your solution and a wide array of beneficial use cases, one nagging question may remain: How will I convince my colleagues to take the time to learn these new tools and implement them in their daily work? You may anxiously foresee yourself playing the role of behavioral economist, rather than process engineer or project manager, as you strive to prove a positive cost-benefit relationship.

Here are four pieces of advice to help you lead implementation of an IIoT program, or any program for that matter.

Decrease activation energy required to get started 

Every engineering student knows the lower the activation energy, the quicker a chemical reaction will occur. The same principle applies to personnel charged with implementing new processes/procedures. The likelihood of quick adoption is increased if you make it easy by providing resources that empower self-paced learning.

Manage firefighting 

Nothing inhibits learning new tools and techniques as much as the interruptions caused by daily firefighting. By managing who handles “emergencies,” you can ensure the appropriate staff have sufficient blocks of time to explore and learn new tools. The key is showing management how time spent now learning a new system will quickly improve productivity. Introduction webinars, targeted at all levels of an organization and led by other end users, are an effective way to emphasize the importance of dedicating time to learning new analytics tools.

Build an analytics Community of Practice

While online information about the value of data analytics in process manufacturing is vast, engineers are more likely to adopt and implement advanced analytics tools if they can picture the added value in their specific workplace. Communities of Practice—where end-users share use cases, ask technical questions, and learn different analytics applications—are an effective method of inspiring wide audiences to apply analytics to their work.

Communities of Practice can take a variety of forms, but, in all cases, it is important for members to communicate with each other daily. Lunch-and-Learns are a fun and engaging way for a Community of Practice to meet and share ideas. 

Evangelize successes to the highest levels of the organization 

Although initial interest in analytics solutions typically comes from the bottom up, successful implementations require support from the top down. For this reason, reviewing rollout progress with managers and executives is critical.

During these review sessions, it’s helpful to emphasize how the analytics tools are meeting success criteria outlined at program kickoff. This is an ideal opportunity to also discuss challenges faced with the rollout. For example, personnel may need more hours to learn new tools.

Executive reviews are a fantastic setting to recognize employees for their work by showcasing individual creativity and problem-solving abilities. Reviews should be held at least annually. EP

For more information about implementing advanced analytics systems, visit seeq.com.

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