Managing director Magnus Normann and business analyst and project manager Hanne Lill Dregelid in Digitread.

Managing director Magnus Normann and business analyst and project manager Hanne Lill Dregelid in Digitread.

Engineers must demand and desire digitalisation

Norwegian managers spend a lot of time talking about digitalisation and industry 4.0. They should stop the talking and instead make and implement strategies for digitalisation. The question is whether the industry is moving towards the same identity crisis that the media industry has been plagued by in recent years. Engineers must familiarize themselves with current digital developments and adopt the new tools.

– Adding a PDF document in the cloud is not the same as digitizing, states Magnus Normann, managing director of Digitread, which offers digital solutions to the most prominent industrial companies in Norway. – We will be able to create the most efficient production units in the world and compete in the global marketplace if we start working smarter than many businesses do today. This is about how to digitize and process the information that describes the products to be made in such a way that the data communicates directly with the modern means of production. The whole process must be an unbroken digital value chain from draft and design to the finished product. We have given this digital value chain the name ‘the digital tread’, explains Normann.

Norwegian success stories exist
There are a number of examples of Norwegian companies who have worked with digitalisation and continue to succeed amidst tough global competition. – This applies to enterprises in shipbuilding, energy, furniture and in the automotive industries. We report on many of these successful companies on our website, Normann continues. – These firms have understood the necessity of digitalisation; they have made strategic plans for the further development of the company and they have dared to invest in product and process development. The goal is to create a fully digital process from the early design phase of the product right up until the production stage.

To do nothing is dangerous
– Our level of education is high and the work ethic is good in our country. But the level of expertise in the digital field is shockingly poor in many manufacturing companies. There are too many managers who don’t know what digitalisation really means and have not engaged themselves sufficiently to be able to create a genuine digital strategy, reports Normann.
But leaders alone cannot be blamed:

  • Employees have a responsibility to familiarize themselves with developments and should ask themselves if they are able to meet the challenges of digitalisation. If they work in a company where they do not get support for innovation, they should also perhaps consider if they are working for the right company where they are able to engage all of their talents.
  • Many employees tend to defend their job security and appreciate staying in their comfort zone instead of working progressively. When they resist change it prevents the company from adopting the new tools that could have contributed to a more positive development and hence secure jobs in the future, continues Normann.

Digital competitiveness
In Norway we have been accustomed to standing together. Thus, we have less hierarchical companies than they have in many other countries. – If we wish to continue having a competitive industry in Norway, we must strengthen our digital competitiveness. We need organizations that know what they want, are willing to invest and have a collaborative environment where everyone works together and dares to challenge the status quo, concludes Normann.

Read the article in Norwegian:

PUBLISHED: October 06th 2016