Written by Andy Klopstad

The Key To Transforming From a Legacy to a Leading Manufacturer

Being trapped in legacy processes keeps companies from being agile and profitable. Decades of legacy processes, toolsets, and mindsets that hold down enterprise manufacturers, and many struggle to gain quick wins and move forward. Vertex CEO and Founder Dan Murray recently joined a roundtable to discuss these issues, hosted by President Joseph Anderson of the Institute for Process Excellence (IpX) and attended by Northrop Grumman Tech Fellow Paul Nelson. Ultimately, the trio discussed how legacy holds companies back and how manufacturers must overcome this in order to be leaders in the industry. The conversation revealed that true communication is what keeps companies aligned and moving forward.

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Why should companies improve communication?

Everyone can agree that communication within an organization is important. But why is it considered a key to moving from legacy into leading? It’s all about speed. By communicating information about products, companies can develop and deliver them faster. From there, they stand to be greater innovators and save tremendously on cost.

Effective product communication is all about aligning people in company strategies and initiatives. The organizations of the future are focused on a people-first approach, knowing that their people are their biggest asset. Organizations must consider what it takes to ensure their people are successful and aligned, especially those closest to the customers (such as sales and field service teams).

Of course, this is easier said than done. Today’s historical tools are slow and unwieldy. They don’t connect teams, departments, or different functional areas, and they certainly don’t easily enable communication about products. Now that we know the importance of communication, we can move on to how to improve it.

How can you improve communication? Think cloud-first.

The cloud is no longer the future of manufacturing: the cloud is now. The cloud provides scalability for global change and collaboration with the supply chain. Not only can cross-functional teams work together, but they can also be agile. As Paul mentioned, he would have expected government defense to be the last industry to embrace the cloud, and yet they are currently transitioning to the cloud.

Cloud computing creates an ecosystem that helps to align organizations. Cloud architecture operates at high speeds in parallel to deliver product information in the end user’s context for enhanced collaboration and communication. With the cloud, companies can deliver better, usable, purpose-built applications to those that serve customers. This is the baseline for moving fast and out of file-based legacy into cloud-first leading.

3 things to keep in mind during enterprise change

Vertex can support manufacturers and give people a “universal language” in the form of interactive, 3D visuals to form concepts and collaborate. Paul briefly mentioned a story of a VR design review on a rocket, and an administrator finally realizing, “This is really what we make.” The 3D visual experience made the product instantly come to life for someone outside the engineering team. Vertex witnesses similar stories with our customers every day, and sees the truly tangible benefits of connecting the enterprise with 3D visuals. But as the transition happens, manufacturers must tackle three things variables:

1) Manage disruption. Leadership, especially in middle management, aim to protect their teams from disruption so work can keep moving. As they anticipate and mitigate risk, they avoid change if they think it will be too disruptive. Both leadership and workers should look for incremental changes and provide results that improve processes, reduce costs, or increase the velocity of revenue. As Paul recommended, look to megatrends (such as the cloud) to know which direction to head and be proactive about change.

2) Manage data. As we’ve seen time and time again at Vertex, the biggest challenge that manufacturers face is managing the amount of data pouring in from IoT, 5G, and enterprise systems about the products that you build. Vertex helps align your organization with rich, 3D visuals so companies can make it easier to leverage those assets downstream.

3) Manage expectations. Many organizations get swept away with the idea of new technology or “cool” solutions. First, companies need to focus on their business outcomes and goals, and then start implementing changes in their organization. Without that direction, companies end up spending years and millions of dollars on different initiatives because they aren’t aligned.

3D Visualization for Global Manufacturers

Vertex helps companies every day to minimize disruption, make the most of their data, and get everyone aligned on company actions. We help customers get digital initiatives on track in under 30 days and improve product and process quality throughout the enterprise. Download the webinar to listen to the full roundtable to get takeaways directly from Joseph, Paul, and Dan on how to take your organization from legacy to leading.

About Andy Klopstad

Andy Klopstad has over 20 years of leadership experience taking technology products to market as well as developing strategic relationships with suppliers and partners. As Vice President of Marketing & Partnerships at Vertex, Andy is instrumental in developing key partnerships with companies such as AWS and Deloitte to ensure the Vertex platform can support our customers at any stage of the product life cycle.