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Technology, Management

5 Ways To Overcome Resistance To Change

November 10, 2017

Success in manufacturing is often the result of continuous improvements to both business and production processes. Our customers demand increasingly higher quality products delivered quickly and cost-effectively. This means we must constantly seek new methods and technologies to reduce production costs, while maintaining the integrity of our products and meeting tighter delivery schedules.

Unfortunately, change is sometimes met with resistance by employees for a variety of reasons, including fear of losing their jobs, resentment because they see change as devaluing their current efforts, or being stuck in “we’ve always done it that way” thinking.

Whether you’re simply replacing a machine tool with a more advanced model, introducing other technologies such as robotics or 3D printing, or moving into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), here are 5 ways to help people accept change.

  1. Face the fears. Too often we assume that our employees are in synch with our vision for the business, but we haven’t done a good job of sharing the details. It’s important that they understand that this is not change for change sake, but rather a strategy to make things better for all concerned. Offer concrete reasons for the changes you’re making. Have you lost orders because of lack of capacity or capability? Will adding new technology make you more competitive? Will these changes make employees’ jobs more secure?
  2. Express appreciation. Let your people know that the changes you are making in no way imply that they haven’t been doing a great job. These changes will simply take production to a new level, thanks to new technologies or techniques that will make their efforts even more successful.
  3. Change or perish. Provide context for continuous improvement and innovation. Point out that the manufacturing world is littered with the remains of companies that resisted change. Less than one-half of the companies that comprised the Fortune 500 in the mid-1980’s are still in business today. The survivors are those that embraced emerging technologies, rethought their processes and, in some cases, reinvented themselves entirely.
  4. The past is prelude. Just because you’ve done things a certain way in the past, and the company did well doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change. There’s a reason that stock brokers and financial planners are required to use the phrase “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” A successful company keeps what is working well until a better method or technology comes along.
  5. Personal growth. Point out that change is an opportunity for an individual employee to add to their skill sets and become even more valuable to the organization. Plus, being trained to program a 5-axis machining center, or operate a robotically assisted automation system makes work more interesting and engaging.

Finally, the smoother you make the transition to new manufacturing technologies, the easier it will be for your employees to accept and embrace the future. Having served the manufacturing community with innovative products and services for more than 95 years, Gosiger has the people and experience to make change as painless as possible. Contact your local Gosiger facility to learn more.