Time and again people fail to see the value of change. Even industry leaders sometimes are unable to recognize the potential which lay in the inventions being put before them.
“Thomas Edison turned down the radio because it had no commercial value; Western Union turned down the telephone because management thought ‘it will never be more than a toy’; Thomas J. Watson Sr., founder and head of IBM, turned down the computer; and Kodak turned down the Xerox copier.”
– Donald A. Norman, The Invisible Computer (1998)
They didn’t see the value of change and thought things like: ‘it will never be more than a toy’, ‘it is too complicated’, ‘it will never work for us’, ‘we have a good system, it has been working for a long time’. For Kodak, being unable to change eventually lead to the demise of the company.
And that really is one of the biggest challenges we face when working with our customers. Getting people to even consider changing the way they do things, the value of change, and the positive impact it can have on their company.
There is routinely an aversion to technology in our industry. Many business owners feel that there is no need to introduce new technology when things already work ‘just fine’ as they are. Others feel that the problems they face are unique and insurmountable. Some just can’t find the time to do it. And still others just don’t want to introduce technology to their production lines because it is scary.
But, while there are good reasons for resisting change (some of which are biological in nature), there are even better ones for embracing it. After all, if we didn’t embrace change, we might all still be living in caves. Or we might be like Western Union, Thomas Watson or Kodak and fail to take advantage of innovations which can help us do things better, faster, more conveniently. The right systems and procedures can help you be more competitive and profitable. Many of us know this and yet we are afraid of change.
Fear of change
Here’s the good news: fearing change doesn’t make you unusual. Quite the opposite: evolution has hardwired fear of change into us. Change brings uncertainty, uncertainty triggers an alert response in our limbic system, and our brain tells us uncertainty could be deadly.
Consider that even when we see new technologies and are impressed by them, many of us will reject it after a cursory thought or two about adoption. Why? The prospect of change: we think it’s too complicated, it will never work for us, we already have a good enough system… the list goes on.
Fear of job security
There’s something else which worries a lot of people in our industry: technology will take away jobs. Well, that worried the Luddites a long time ago, but throughout history it’s been shown that technology improves jobs and often creates more and better employment opportunities. Economist Henry Hazlitt (ironically) called this ‘The Curse of Machinery’.
People are often resistant towards new systems and procedures, especially if it reduces their workload. It seems very counter-intuitive, but I see this every day. As soon as people realize they will have to work less, they immediately think ‘they won’t need me anymore, I will lose my job’ and start protesting against the change. What people do not realize is that the system is speeding up the work they do, not reducing the amount of work that needs to be done. A good system will reduce countless manual steps that are tedious and time consuming. You will be able to process more jobs in less time, which leads to more profit for the company and a potential raise for you.
We’ve seen it in practice: introduce software and people don’t have to do all the repetitive, tedious work. Computers are very good at calculations, but very bad at being creative. I always tell my customers, if you have a fixed rule let a system handle it and keep your best people free to solve creative problems. Reduce their workload, so they can improve processes, customer satisfaction, and deliver jobs faster. Equip your people so they can be more effective at what they do.
We are special
‘We are special’, ‘What you do will not work for us’, ‘We do things differently’. Yes, every customer is special, but the difficulties you face are not all unique. Each customer has different bottlenecks, they face different challenges, but when you get to the root of the problem it is no different than what many other companies face in the industry. This may sound familiar; we often discover the problem was originated from a legacy process “Joe” came up with eons ago. At the time, this process might have been the best solution, but as you’ve progressed, different problems arose, and someone added patches to existing processes, compounding the problem. Plugging holes is temporary, and as you progress, new and improved solutions must be put in place to tackle new challenges.
As you probably know, we work with thousands of customers in the fenestration industry, with people from all walks of life and in factories, and production facilities of all kinds. So, trust me when I say this: we have seen a thing or two, we have solved the problems you face.
We’ve faced many challenges and solved many problems for our customers. As a team we have hundreds of years of collective experience guiding people and businesses through the change process. We have vast experience with solving fenestration problems for customers across the globe. We have helped many businesses streamline their processes, which in turn makes room for innovation and growth. You can free up your best people and take your business to the next level.
Why the time for change is now
In many instances, we find organizations which are still doing things the old way. And by the old way, I don’t mean an old black & white DOS system, although this is the case for a great many manufacturers. I mean using Excel, Word, pen and paper for all planning, spec sheets, cutting lists – the whole lot. Having an old system is certainly not good, but having no system is worse.
If you are one of these manufacturers, either using an old system or no system at all, you could revolutionize your business by introducing technology which automates, streamlines processes and massively increases efficiency and performance. Less waste and more finished product, get more windows out the door – faster, in other words.
Change might be scary. But NOT introducing technology could be scarier still. The rest of the world is moving on. Competition is always there, and the competition is getting better and faster because they are using modern tools to improve their performance. If you’re getting left behind, struggling to meet production targets, having difficulty with turnaround times and sending huge quantities of waste to the dump; a better system and better processes is the answer.
But in order to do so, you must be willing to open the door to change. Change is never easy, you will face challenges, but we will be there to guide you through the process, and when all is said and done you will realize the benefits will far out weight the investment.