MHI Solutions Community: Disruption Junction
by MHI COO, John Paxton
There’s a reason the phrase “no pain, no gain” is such an enduring cliché. All too often, if you want to make something easier or better in the future, you may have to endure some major inconveniences in the present. That’s definitely true in the ever-evolving material-handling industry, where buyers of new systems and technology and the suppliers who serve them must work together to minimize the disruption to existing operations while implementing major changes.
Managing that difficult transitional period when the old meets the new was identified as one of the top barriers to implementing new technologies when the Solutions Community conducted a poll of 75 members, and overcoming those barriers was a featured topic at the Solutions Community’s spring meeting, where members offered the following advice:
– Be agile and incremental. Install during weekends and off-shift hours; perform dry-run tests.
– Involve your employees. Capture “tribal knowledge” and engage workers early in the process to get buy-in.
– Do side-by-side implementations if possible.
– Focus on the relationship between the system and training. Make a training plan for the next two years, think of future on-site training in cycles, and account for potential future staff turnover.
To delve more deeply into this important issue, I recently spoke with four MHI Solutions Community members who deal with this topic every day: Matt Kulp, executive vice president, managing partner, St. Onge; John Reichert, senior director of SCE solutions, Tecsys; Rupesh Narkar, director of sales, logistics automation, Americas, Swisslog Logistics Inc.; and John Ashodian, segment marketing manager, SICK Inc. Here’s what they had to say.
Cover photo from Inozemtsev Konstantin/Shutterstock.com