Beating Murphy’s Law This article deals with the topic of how organizations should go about implementing new technology systems. The article is built around Murphy’s Law that, Whatever can go wrong, will. When organizations implement new system a lot of know problems cannot be avoided and unforeseen problems arise with even grater frequency. Chew outlines seven points to help launch a new system with greater success since they are essential for long-term survival. Key Notes: It is estimated 50 to 70 percent of US firms experience failure in implementing advanced manufacturing technology.
New technologies often cause drops in productivity following introduction of new equipment that can exceed the price of the technology. This still occurs with incremental purchases of new inexpensive equipment. Performance tends to drop shortly prior to installation, as firms make ready for new systems. Performance drops can last over a year after the introduction of new equipment. The greatest cost stem from mismatches between the new technology ‘s capabilities and needs, and existing process and organization. Lack of the different required knowledge about new technologies causes the failures and problems that arise.
Solutions to problems usually lead to additional problems due to a lack of knowledge. Rule #1 is Think of Implementation as R. Acquisition should instead be considered an ongoing process of data gathering and learning that evolves over time. The introduction of technology should be considered less an investment issue or technical issue and more a question of research design. Technical and organizational concerns should be addressed.
The user and technology managers should work together in research of new technologies. Rule #2 is Ask What made it hard? Not How well did it work? Firms should look to outside experience to not only help them decide what new technologies to invest in but also how to avoid the problems that arose from the technology. Inquiry should be an active even aggressive targeted search for information. Rule #3 Learn in Many Ways at Once. Firms can learn through four methods: vicarious, learning from others experience, simulation, using models and experiments, prototyping, building and operating on a smaller scale, and on-line, examining the full scale operation while it is running.
The more the learning experience corresponds accurately to the real situation in the factory the higher its fidelity. Use a mix strategy for learning. Learn as much as possible with low cost low fidelity methods but know learning will need to come from all four means. The ideal way uses parallel and simultaneous use of all methods. Rule #4 Simulate and Prototype Everything Effective simulation and prototyping are critical.
A simulation of a new technology is a model of how it works. Individual pieces of the technology are clear, but their interactions with each other and with the rest of the firm are not. The simulation then shows the overall effect of the total system. Rule #5 Everything includes the Organization Simulating the organizational change that accompanies the technological innovation can be as simple, and as difficult, as defining and trying out new relationships. Organizational prototyping, like technical prototyping, is the execution of a design on a small scale for the express purpose of evaluating that design from an organizational viewpoint.
The best use of prototypes is conducting experiments with alterative organizational design choices. Rule #6 Follow Lewis and Clark Planning should not be a set of checkpoints for repairing the system. Planning must provide a guiding structure for discovering and solving problems. It should focus on what to look for. Rule #7 Produce Two Outputs: Salable Products and Knowledge The new process produces not only salable products but also knowledge. Production time, management time, labor and materials should be budgeted to produce both. On-line learning provides the opportunity to gain usable knowledge.
It requires watching the operation of new technology, noticing problems, and then developing countermeasures or solutions for them. To beat Murphy’s Law it is necessary to plan for and manage directed learning. Firms need to focus on gaining both the know-how and know-why knowledge when implementing new technologies. Learning should continue past startup of new technologies. Business Essays.