Plant Technology: 3 Times You Should Put Your Employees First

30 May 2024Digital Transformation, Industrial and Plant, Plant, plant 3dchampion, change management, digitalization., efficiency, Implementation, Plant 3D, Plant Roadmap, Process Plant, productivity, quality, Safety, training, workflows



Whether for quality control, safety enhancements, efficiency gains, or to create a better product, digitalizing key plant systems and processes offers numerous benefits for manufacturers. To maximize the return on investment in digitalization, unified data and communication systems are essential. However, many companies still rely on manual processes and paper-based systems, which can lead to higher error rates, lost productivity, and quality and safety issues.

Despite the reported advantages of digitalization, transitioning from manual processes can be daunting for many companies. The primary challenge often lies not in the technology itself but in managing the human element of the implementation process. Adopting an employee-centered approach to technology implementation is crucial for ensuring the success of any digital initiative. Following are three critical phases when companies should prioritize their employees to foster acceptance and ownership of new solutions.

process plant facility with silver pipes and bright green bins in foreground, steam venting from the roof of a building on the right side, plant technology

Before Implementation: Engaging Employees in Planning

Before selecting and implementing new digital systems, it’s vital to involve employees in the planning phase. This phase should begin with setting clear goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the initiative. Employees, particularly those who will use the technology daily, should be part of the process from the outset. This includes identifying the problems that need to be solved and understanding how their jobs will be impacted by the new technology.

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One effective strategy is to conduct a pilot project. The pilot allows the company to fine-tune the tools and ensure they meet the actual needs of the employees. During this phase, establishing a defined change management plan is crucial. This plan should detail how the company will manage the transition and support employees throughout the process.

By involving employees early, companies can ensure that the chosen digital systems align with the users’ needs and the workflows that need to be improved. This alignment significantly increases the chances of successful implementation, as it fosters a sense of ownership and acceptance among the workforce.

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During Implementation: Supporting Employees Through the Transition

The implementation phase is where plans meet reality. If the company wants its employees to adopt and embrace new technology, the software must be intuitive, easy to learn, and seamlessly integrate into existing workflows. Employees should feel that the new tools are designed to make their jobs easier, not more complicated.

Designating champions within the company can significantly aid in this process. These champions can serve as mentors and provide support to coworkers, helping alleviate concerns or difficulties that arise. Moreover, creating a way to collect continuous feedback is essential. This enables the company to make necessary adjustments during the rollout and ensuring the implementation meets users’ needs and expectations.

Achieving high user satisfaction is the ultimate goal during this phase. When employees feel supported and see tangible improvements in their daily tasks, they are more likely to fully adopt and advocate for the new technology.

person in blue jacket and white hardhat holding mobile digital device and looking at plant controls, process plant technology

After Implementation: Ensuring Continued Support and Improvement

Equally important is the post-implementation phase. Successes should be celebrated, and the contributions of champions and other key players should be acknowledged. This recognition helps build a positive culture around the technology and encourages ongoing engagement.

Continued training and support are vital to sustaining the benefits of digital systems. Employees should have access to continuing training opportunities to help them more fully utilize new tools. Regularly gathering usage metrics and feedback can identify areas for further improvement and ensure that the technology continues to meet the needs of the employees.


By focusing on these phases—before, during and after implementation—companies can create a supportive environment that promotes successful, sustainable digital transformation. Prioritizing the human element throughout the digital transformation process not only facilitates smoother transitions but also drives long-term benefits, including improved productivity, safety, quality, and a culture of continuous improvement.

Unlock your potential with strategic planning. The Applied Software, GRAITEC Group Plant Roadmap Workshop provides you with a clear path to implement technology solutions that enhance efficiency and foster innovation. Reach out today to learn more.



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