Disruption has always been a part of the manufacturing industry. It is the same driving force that initiated the first Industrial Revolution and catalyzed industry 4.0 that took over the manufacturing industry in recent years. In the eve of the 4th industrial revolution, it is natural to be excited and even slightly overwhelmed by the possibilities ahead. One fact that many overlook is that disruption does not happen in a vacuum. Not only it changes technology and processes, but it also challenges people; their positions, daily lives, and mindsets.

Author Muge Hizal Dogaroglu | Copperberg

change management in b2b businesses

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Disruption has always been a part of the manufacturing industry. It is the same driving force that initiated the first Industrial Revolution and catalyzed industry 4.0 that took over the manufacturing industry in recent years. In the eve of the 4th industrial revolution, it is natural to be excited and even slightly overwhelmed by the possibilities ahead. One fact that many overlook is that disruption does not happen in a vacuum. Not only it changes technology and processes, but it also challenges people; their positions, daily lives, and mindsets.

Our recent research on innovation showed that manufacturing companies are already affected by overlooking this aspect of disruption. Their issues range from having difficulty in getting the buy-in to allocating funds, which cripple their efforts to adapt and stay competitive.

The pace of disruption will only grow. Therefore, it is clear that there needs to be more dialogue and action on how to tackle change. Having a clear change management plan is crucial at this stage as it can enable companies to have a smoother transition period. The goal of change management is to ensure that the people who are affected by the disruptions – whether it is due to new technologies or business models – actually embrace the change. But how can companies know when there is a problem with adopting disruption? Here are three signs that show a need for change management.

1.Lack of consensus, especially at the management level

If the senior management agrees that they need to innovate but fail to take the necessary steps, there is a problem. They might not be fully convinced about the benefits or have difficulty in grasping the scope of the action. Either way, the management needs to be on board with the project.

2 Lack of communication

Communication is key when convincing stakeholders on the necessity of the change.
At best, the lack of communication is based on a dangerous assumption that everybody is on the same page. At worst, it shows a disregard on how the change will influence others.

Justyna Zoltanska, the Group E-commerce Project Manager of Puratos, has first-hand experience on how crucial having a change management plan is when communicating with the customers:

“For years, Puratos has been doing business in a very traditional way. The digitalization and shift toward e-commerce is a big change not only for the company and the employees but also for our customers. Therefore, we have to manage and communicate this change not only internally but also externally.” (Read our interview with Justyna Zoltanska on B2B e-commerce)

3. Lack of knowledge

In many organizations, people assume providing simple training on how to use new technology or implement business projects is enough. This leads to much confusion around responsibilities, whom to involve, how to collaborate between departments, and how to measure performance. This problem can be solved by a change management plan that addresses these issues and allows time for trial, error, and feedback.

Interested to learn more about how to manage disruptions in Industry 4.0? Read our interview with Sabrina Schiele to make the most of your data.