We are bringing in a new ERP system across the whole manufacturing process; it will affect everyone. It will be much more sensitive to accurate data than the old system. People will need to be much more disciplined in the way they record and enter data. Can you help us make everyone enter data properly?” This was the work invitation.

The organization was a manufacturer of about 250 people, most of whom were based on one large site. The people involved in each part of the manufacturing process were separated from each other by distance and by physical barriers: it was a typical silo organization. Historically, the site had managed the many inadequacies of its “grown like Topsy” legacy IT systems by workarounds, off-system excel spreadsheet accounting, and the like. Good, clean, accurate data could be hard to come by. While the implementation of a new IT system was to be welcomed in theory, in practice it meant a lot of work. And it was clear the investment would be pointless unless there was a real change in work habits.

First we reframed the challenge as “making work work better.” This better reflected the idea that the investment and involvement being asked of the workforce to ensure the successful implementation of this new IT system could help make their working life better, and wasn’t just for management benefit. We entitled the particular event, “Every count counts.

Working with a cross-hierarchical, cross-functional planning team, we decided to use the Simu-Real ...

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