The 3 keys to successfully integrating a digital project in your plant

Photo of Benjamin Doucet
Written by

Benjamin Doucet


13 April 2023

les applications effecto sont disponibles sur tablette pour suivre les operateurs

Choosing a supplier with proven wood-processing expertise like EFFECTO is sure to ease the installation process for you. A specialist will not only save you time but also ensure that all systems will work with maximum efficiency because they know your equipment, your production processes, and the business limitations that must be taken into consideration from office administration to factory floor.

That being said, managing a digitalization project does involve some risk. While your chosen supplier should be there to support you at every step of the way, you do need to know what to expect and what you need to address at your end to ensure success.

1- Management buy-in is the most important factor

Without a strong commitment from management, your project will experience delays and let-downs even with the best project manager in the world on the job. By commitment, we mean both internal communications and by setting the necessary time aside for selected employees to play a role in the project, including being in on the planning process.

Appointing an internal point person who is available and accountable

The first step is to identify the best internal contact for coordinating the project in your plant. It’s important to designate someone who will have the time to do this properly. Your EFFECTO account manager will give you an estimate of the time required after the project has been evaluated. The point person should know all the ins and outs for answering our questions or know who to ask. As the EFFECTO team’s point person, they will also ensure that everyone in the plant involved moves at the right pace and in the right direction.

Let us know if you don’t have an available point person and we’ll include the cost of providing one of our people to handle the work for you in our evaluation of the project.

Communicating, explaining, and engaging

A stream of ongoing internal communications plays a critical role in the process. Senior management and the internal point person are all project ambassadors. Employee communications must be positive and solutions-oriented at all times. It’s vital that you to talk about the project with all employees that will be affected by it directly or indirectly. They need to know why you are carrying out the project and how it will change the way they work, emphasizing the positive impact for the company and the benefits for them. An understanding of what’s in it for them is guaranteed to accelerate their active support. Reassure them that this is not a job-cutting but a job-improving investment. The same effective communications that make the installation work should continue after on a regular basis to keep everyone motivated and up to speed.

The project can create periods of doubt at times. After all, we do arrive on the scene as an outside supplier and, as part of our mandate, questioning some of the ways you’ve been managing your business and suggesting alternatives you might not agree with. At times, you might have to take it on faith and continue supporting the installation of our proven solutions so that the project succeeds as it should and that you get the results you were hoping for.

2- Getting the right information for making the right decisions

We have dedicated account managers for every project we undertake. They visit the plant, confer with those responsible for plant operations, and then estimate the scope of the project, the technical requirements, and the time the installation will take based on the information they get. The more reliable the information, the more accurate the estimate will be and the less likely there will be any need for adjustments or delays.

Double quote icon
Regardless of the complexity of your needs and the technological state of your operations, you have everything to gain by mapping out all your internal processes. Recording the steps of each function in black and white will help identify bottlenecks, slowdowns, and repetitive tasks. In short, everything that a provider like EFFECTO needs to know for automating what you do in order to make your plant noticeably more efficient.

The installation of a management system is also the best time to do some hard thinking on how you’ve been doing things and for eliminating any non-value-added tasks. That’s because EFFECTO OnSite control tools and EFFECTO InSite management tools will make all your processes fluid enough to reorganize and optimize your entire organization for enhancing your overall performance like never before.

If you don’t have the resources or the time to do this, EFFECTO can do it for you as a requirement for starting the project. Naturally we’d need to be introduced to employees in charge of all the various operations in your plant.

3- Finding the right balance between structure and flexibility 

Installing complex new technology can take time, so it’s essential to stay the course. Your EFFECTO project manager is just the right meticulous timekeeper and quality controller to keep things on the path to success. 

The AGILE method: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

No technology installation project ever goes 100% as planned. That’s why we work with the AGILE method. It has the advantage of breaking projects down into concrete, regular deliverables rather than in one big package at the end. We prefer this method for three reasons:

  • It keeps teams mobilized because they see concrete results quickly…within a few weeks.
  • If difficulties are encountered during one phase, the next phase can be adjusted immediately before it begins. This saves time and energy.
  • It’s more flexible. If we want to change the order of deliverables during the project, we can do this in the best way to suit your business situation (if there are no technical constraints).
Making equipment data talk to output monitoring and performance indicators

Weekly follow-up to track progress

Follow-up at least once a week between your internal point person and your provider’s project manager (EFFECTO or other) is indispensable. This might seem restrictive and time-consuming but it’s the only way to dance together on a long-term project without stepping on each other’s toes. Especially since this is not a line dance, but more like a tight tango, and that means you have to be on the same page all the time and have the same understanding of the situation to achieve an accurate global status report and to validate all the details.

The upshot

Keep in mind that integrating a management system into your operations is to create your own gateway to the future, so it’s a grreat opportunity to take advantage of new technologies like BI (business intelligence) and AI (artificial intelligence) and to understand that a successful integration is the only way to get there.

About the author: With nearly a decade of EFFECTO experience under his belt, Benjamin thoroughly knows what makes sawmills tick. He’s all ears whenever users call so you can be sure he’ll meet all your expectations above and beyond.


Other articles that might interest you

Get in touch with us

Any questions?

Send a message to our consulting expert. He will be pleased to answer you quickly to know how EFFECTO can support your projects.