Transformation takes shape
For its digital transformation, Georgia-Pacific built a capability team that included business strategists, software engineers, operational SMEs, project engineers, continuous-improvement analysts and others.
The team needed to build a new ecosystem. One that everyone could participate in and work through, without silos holding them back. And one where innovations, specialized services and support could be provided to business units based on needs and use cases.
The team started with smaller, scalable projects that gave them some initial momentum. Helping them move forward were a combination of internal SMEs, vendor partners and other similarly sized, non-competitive companies that provided some form of support, from running experiments to understanding possible solutions to problems they faced. They also found that having buy-in from leadership was paramount, as it freed them from layers of bureaucracy and analysis paralysis.
Perhaps the pinnacle of the team’s efforts was the creation of a new Collaboration and Support Center (CSC). The CSC connects to each facility to provide support and collaboration through remote monitoring, predictive analytics and SME support. The CSC is also designed to remotely operate facilities as needed.
Radical operational change
Digital transformation has moved Georgia-Pacific from its operator-centric mentality to a new “monitor-centric” mentality.
“We have models that run against the data and help us detect either problems ahead of the time or tell us how to run the machines optimally,” Clancey said. “And then we provide that data back into the mill so they can make the adjustments they need to make.”
Employees and external partners have also been remotely connected to production facilities as part of the transformation.
This proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. Most support staff were able to work from home and integrate seamlessly with their workflows and internal systems as if they were at their normal facility. It also transformed how the company’s approximately 80 SMEs work. By remotely connecting to sites instead of physically traveling to them, these employees have improved both their productivity and their work-life balance.
And while the company has seen record productivities, one thing that’s been important to Georgia-Pacific’s digital transformation has been changing mindsets around how work is done.
“That’s how Steve and I know we’re successful,” Carroll said. “When somebody says, ‘Who do you work for?’ and they say, ‘Well, it depends on the problem I’m solving.’ That’s the kind of organization we’re trying to build.”
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