Closing gap in M4.0 lead­er­ship skills

Auto components India - - CONTENTS - By: Di­pali Naidu, Head of Con­sult­ing, DDI In­dia Pvt Ltd

Man­u­fac­tur­ing 4.0 in­tro­duces “smart factory,” in which cy­ber-phys­i­cal sys­tems mon­i­tor the phys­i­cal pro­cesses of the factory and make de­cen­tralised de­ci­sions. To­day’s man­u­fac­tur­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions are run­ning hard to keep pace with digi­ti­sa­tion, au­to­ma­tion, ex­pan­sion, and shifts in cus­tomer de­mand and em­ployee de­mo­graph­ics—the mega­trends col­lec­tively known as “Man­u­fac­tur­ing 4.0” (M4.0).

In a re­cent sur­vey con­cluded by the Man­u­fac­tur­ing Lead­er­ship

Coun­cil, the fol­low­ing lead­er­ship skills and abil­i­ties ranked at the top for the M4.0 era:-

Un­der­stand­ing a wide range of pro­cesses and func­tions and how they can be in­te­grated;

Abil­ity to man­age ac­cel­er­at­ing mar­ket and tech­nol­ogy change;

Col­lab­o­ra­tive skills to man­age flat­ter or­gan­i­sa­tions, ex­pand part­ner net­works;

Us­ing com­puter-based an­a­lyt­ics to help make datadriven de­ci­sions;

Abil­ity to ac­cept and man­age more open, virtual work­ing cul­tures across mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions; and

Global mar­ket ex­pe­ri­ence to help drive ge­o­graphic ex­pan­sion How­ever, the top chal­lenges that the man­u­fac­tur­ing lead­er­ship will soon need to over­come will be in the chang­ing cul­ture and the at­ti­tudes of em­ploy­ees; un­der­stand­ing and an­tic­i­pat­ing the pace of change; defin­ing the busi­ness case and ROI with M4.0; de­ter­min­ing how to mi­grate to a per­va­sively dig­i­tal fu­ture; and find­ing re­place­ments at both line worker and man­age­rial lev­els as the in­dus­try ex­pe­ri­ences a his­toric de­mo­graphic shift as baby boomers re­tire

As com­pa­nies em­bark on the jour­ney to Man­u­fac­tur­ing 4.0, they need to put in place sys­tems for iden­ti­fy­ing and devel­op­ing a new set of lead­er­ship at­tributes based on lean think­ing. Trans­lat­ing M4.0 mega­trends into lead­ers of the fu­ture will there­fore re­quire us to un­der­stand the chang­ing role of front­line su­per­vi­sors and man­agers in M4.0.

Their new roles will re­quire: hav­ing an ex­panded, en­ter­prise view of op­er­a­tions; sup­port­ing align­ment of in­ter­de­pen­dent en­ti­ties; un­der­stand­ing pre­dic­tive an­a­lyt­ics, which will be­come an in­te­gral part of the pro­duc­tion mon­i­tor­ing process; fre­quent in­ter­ac­tions with both cus­tomers and sup­pli­ers by ap­ply­ing top­notch crit­i­cal think­ing and in­ter­per­sonal skills; man­ag­ing teams that will be in­creas­ingly tech­ni­cal savvy and ea­ger to par­tic­i­pate in de­ci­sions con­cern­ing pro­duc­tion pro­cesses; and fos­ter­ing col­lab­o­ra­tion with high-level in­ter­per­sonal skills The or­gan­i­sa­tions can move the nee­dle on lead­er­ship and close the lead­er­ship gap by im­prov­ing leader qual­ity and reducing vari­ance, and by ap­ply­ing a lean man­u­fac­tur­ing prin­ci­ple to lead­er­ship.

The best prac­tices for ac­cel­er­at­ing lead­ers to M4.0 can be im­ple­mented in 3 steps.

1. Use of fu­ture-fo­cused, busi­ness-based suc­cess pro­files

Per­haps the most im­por­tant first step in the plan is to de­fine fu­ture suc­cess for key roles rather than re­ly­ing on old def­i­ni­tions of what “good” is. Most lead­ers miss ty­ing the busi­ness strat­egy to the leader chal­lenges (at all lev­els) and what they will need to do dif­fer­ently to be suc­cess­ful. Knowl­edge is time-sen­si­tive: What is rel­e­vant to­day will be ob­so­lete to­mor­row. The only so­lu­tion is to em­ploy peo­ple who are adapt­able and ac­cept­ing of new ways of do­ing things, lead­ers with a pas­sion for learn­ing, im­prov­ing, and flex­ing with the times.

Ex­pe­ri­ence: Don’t rely solely on past ac­com­plish­ments or you’ll suc­cumb to the tech­ni­cal trap—hir­ing for im­me­di­ate skill needs, which will quickly be­come ob­so­lete. Com­pe­ten­cies: While many can be de­vel­oped with time and

train­ing, others can’t be learned. To max­imise the re­turn on your de­vel­op­ment investment, be sure to dis­tin­guish be­tween the two.

Per­sonal at­tributes/

dis­po­si­tions is a key to job fit and there­fore, im­pact re­ten­tion and per­for­mance. They’re also very dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble, to de­velop. Both re­quire innovative tools to as­sess mean­ing­fully.

2. Find the M4.0 Star… not just any star

You wouldn’t go to a soc­cer match if you were look­ing to re­cruit a bas­ket­ball phe­nom, right? Your cur­rent pro­cesses may be able to pick a win­ner, but it won’t be the kind of win­ner who’ll suc­ceed in the new man­u­fac­tur­ing econ­omy. Af­ter you have de­fined “what good looks like” (i.e., the suc­cess pro­file), iden­tify high-po­ten­tial M4.0 lead­ers by keeping the fol­low­ing in mind:

Com­mit 100%: In­vest­ing in your bench re­quires more than se­nior leader sanc­tion. You need to take ag­gres­sive own­er­ship of your pipe­line readi­ness, and have a set of ob­jec­tives and an ex­e­cu­tion plan that is on-par with your sup­ply chain or R&D pro­cesses.

Iden­tify with the data: Cur­rent per­for­mance is en­tirely dif­fer­ent than a leader’s fu­ture ca­pac­ity to be suc­cess­ful in a new and/ or higher-level role. You’ll need ad­di­tional per­for­mance, po­ten­tial, and readi­ness data to find lead­ers who can pro­duce in the high-speed, am­bigu­ous, and com­pet­i­tive man­u­fac­tur­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

As­sess to find fit: Com­pa­nies that use as­sess­ment meth­ods to gather ac­cu­rate dis­po­si­tion and be­hav­ior data ac­cel­er­ate the readi­ness of up-com­ing lead­ers and achieve the high­est pay­off. All po­ten­tial lead­ers are not wired to drive growth; you need fu­ture lead­ers who can scale so­lu­tions and are en­tre­pre­neur­ial.

Mea­sure and sus­tain:

What­ever form your ac­cel­er­a­tion ef­forts take, they should be built to out­last you and ev­ery­one else in your or­ga­ni­za­tion. Best in-class or­gan­i­sa­tions in­stall pre­dic­tive peo­ple an­a­lyt­ics as a means of not only mon­i­tor­ing the investment in the bench, but also redi­rect­ing ac­tions and pre­dict­ing what skills and pro­cesses will be needed in the fu­ture.

3. Ac­cel­er­ate readi­ness, avoid scrap learn­ing

De­sign learn­ing ini­tia­tives as a jour­ney for par­tic­i­pants— not a se­ries of iso­lated in­ter­ven­tions. When learn­ing doesn’t stick or get ap­plied, a form of waste called scrap learn­ing is cre­ated. To avoid scrap creation, tar­get learn­ing to sus­tain im­prove­ment of cer­tain key be­hav­iors. Here are some im­por­tant de­sign con­sid­er­a­tions when you switch to a just-in-time, need-re­lated learn­ing jour­ney ap­proach: Avoid in­for­ma­tion over­load: No­body can take on too much in­for­ma­tion in a sin­gle sit­ting.

Use a com­bi­na­tion of learn­ing

seg­ments: Link virtual and face-to-face learn­ing to spe­cific job-re­lated projects for greatly en­hanced ef­fec­tive­ness. De­vise a re­al­is­tic time­frame: Learn­ing jour­neys take place over a pe­riod to al­low for prac­tice and ab­sorp­tion. Al­low learn­ers the skill-hon­ing time ap­pro­pri­ate for both the com­plex­ity of the sub­ject mat­ter and the vol­ume of new in­for­ma­tion.

Cus­tomise de­vel­op­ment

com­po­nents: Em­ploy for­mal and in­for­mal de­vel­op­ment for each par­tic­i­pant or co­hort group. Create a unique pat­tern of al­ter­nat­ing learn­ing forms—skills prac­tice, pro­ject or prob­lem-solv­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, dis­cus­sions (in­per­son or virtual), net­work­ing, pre­sen­ta­tions, etc.—which will in­crease over time the like­li­hood that the train­ing and the as­so­ci­ated be­hav­ioral changes will stick. A well-de­signed learn­ing jour­ney pro­vides a clear align­ment be­tween de­vel­op­ment so­lu­tions and busi­ness strat­egy, and shared new per­spec­tives, in­sights, and lead­er­ship lan­guage among the co­hort of lead­ers learn­ing to­gether

The prob­lem with fu­ture man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness and growth will not be a mar­ket prob­lem, a cus­tomer prob­lem, or even a tech­nol­ogy prob­lem. It will be a lead­er­ship prob­lem. Smart man­u­fac­tur­ers will act proac­tively and ap­ply their own lean sys­tems to improve lead­er­ship qual­ity - a crit­i­cally im­por­tant, but of­ten overlooked, source of cost vari­ance.

Di­pali Naidu, Head of Con­sult­ing, DDI In­dia Pvt Ltd

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