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MHI SOLUTIONS COMMUNITY: Disruption Junction

Disruption Junction

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 everyone must work together to minimize the disruption to existing operations while implementing major changes.

* By 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.

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This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on the adoption of these and other digital solutions from best practices in robotics and artificial intelligence to getting your supply chain data house in order to measuring and tracking your Supply Chain Digital Consciousness Index or DCI. While implementing digital innovations into supply chains is complex, inaction is not a strategy. In fact, as the pace of supply chain innovation escalates, so does the price of inaction. In this new digital era, leaders will outpace their competitors faster than ever before

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