We’ve all heard the stories of manufacturers who purchase advanced technology only to have it sit in the factory-floor corner undeployed because nobody has the time or wherewithal to implement the tools and make sure they work. GE Digital recognized this issue and created a service – Acceleration Plans – to make sure manufacturers get the results they paid for.
GE developed the program to ensure the effectiveness of the deployment of advanced manufacturing tools. The idea was to make sure customers get the value from their digital investment as soon as possible while also making sure they achieve outcomes that are critical to their business. “We are seeing difficulty in adoption,” Katie Bianchi, chief revenue officer for global support at GE Digital, told Design News.
“When we look at IIoT, it’s a big opportunity for manufacturers to capture value in the trillions of dollars, but in order to capture that value, those manufacturers have to spend half a trillion dollars collectively. And with only 15% of software projects deemed very successful, manufacturers are facing significant challenges in deployment.”
Ensuring Manufacturers Benefit from Smart Tools
GE recognized that not all customers are as prepared as they need to make the process changes necessary to gain the full benefit of advanced technology. “As we spent time with customers and partners in this space, we learned a lot about the notion of outcomes readiness. If a customer is trying to drive a 20% reduction in maintenance, or more they want increased productivity, we have to look at how to deploy to in order to make that effective.”
While that developers at GE were confident in the effectiveness of their manufacturing technology, those in the field saw the need for support on the follow-up to make sure the customers are able to make full use of the technology’s benefits. “What we realized we didn’t have was the back end – outcomes realization,” said Bianchi. “Do we pack our bags and walk away once the software is installed, or do we work with customer through the deployment to ensure the outcomes are met? We decided to develop a program to ensure that customers know what a particular button dues and how it does it.”
Tiers to Match Scale and Complexity
The Acceleration Plans program offers three tiers of engagement depending on the customer’s needs. The tiers were developed to provide tools and guidance for software installation and adoption based on a company’s scale and complexity with the goal of maximizing return on investment. “We structure the tiers to support the customer no matter who they are and where they are on this journey. We have an enterprise tier for largescale customers whose production can never be down,” said Bianchi. “And we have two other tiers – the premier tier and the standard tier. The premier tier is for those running critical applications with critical assets, but maybe not as large as enterprise customers. The standard tier services are built into the cost of the software subscription.”
Change Management Support
Software deployment at the plant can get stymied when personnel are not supported in changing long-held processes. “Change management is included in two of the tiers. It’s part of the blueprint in the planning stage,” said Bianchi. “We assess the organizational willingness and capability for change. With Acceleration Plans, we create a change management plan early on, and that plan continues through the deployment to help customers drive adoption. It’s a form of continuous improvement.”
Bianchi noted that the deployment is never fully complete, since there are always opportunities to get more from the software. “We meet with these customers once a quarter to review and make sure the action plan continues to get executed,” said Bianchi. “You can’t underestimate what a shift this is for manufacturers. The most important thing for us is to get results to get the renewal.”
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Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 17 years, 15 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.
Images courtesy of GE Digital