Moving from isolated systems to information that supports decision making
During the second half of the 20th century, Toyota developed the Toyota Production System (TPS) to improve efficiency and produce high-quality vehicles fast. The value of TPS has been widely recognized and it has been adopted on a global scale. One of the core concepts of TPS is the ‘Just-in-Time’ concept, in which each process produces only what is needed for the next process in a continuous flow. So far, the focus of these concepts has been on improving and optimizing tangible processes in the physical world.
At TimeSeries we’ve helped many organizations on their digital transformation journey and now we see a new successive evolution emerging at our most successful customers; Just-In-Time-Information (JITI). At its core, these customers recognize the critical role of providing the right information, at the right moment, to the right person. It makes the difference between satisfied and dissatisfied customers and efficient and inefficient processes. Those of our customers who have applied JITI have seen an uplift in customer numbers and productivity increases of up to 45 percent.
When the ‘Just-in-Time’ concept emerged in the Sixties, it was a progressive and an ideal future. Most companies were miles away from mastering the concept. Just-In-Time didn’t focus on the current state of processes but on the ideal future state and how to get there. JITI is the ideal future state for managing information within your organization. If you were to imagine that anything is possible, then what information would you want at each phase of your processes to make the most effective decisions? Forget isolated systems and rigid solutions. What if everything you want is possible?
Four Pillars to Success
At TimeSeries, we see four conditions for successful JITI within your organization. Your information should be integrated, open, smart and personalized. These four conditions can be seen as the four pillars which can drive your digital strategy in order to achieve JITI. The four pillars rest on a firm foundation of Information Technology best practices. You can work on pillars separately and all pillars are equally important. For each person in a process, you want to ask yourself whether the information meets these four conditions for maximizing the value of information at that part of the process.
Information should always serve the decisions you need to make at each step of a process. Processes transcend systems and systems shouldn’t limit the information you see. For example: as a mechanic, you fix an asset by replacing a part. Your employer’s processes require you to update the information in the organization’s product lifecycle management (PLM) system, warehouse management system (WMS), and ticketing system. As a mechanic, you shouldn’t need to be familiar with these different systems and ought to be able to update these systems via one interface with a couple of clicks. A fully integrated landscape allows you to compose and harmonize business processes, adapting them if needed in real-time, using all the information available in your organization.
Information in your organization is your competitive advantage and you should be careful in sharing it. However, in the current dynamic, open and globalized world, you’re missing opportunities if your focus is solely internal. Information could provide services to your customers or even create whole new business models that generate new revenue streams. Our customer Mitsubishi for instance, enables a new licensing business model with our applications providing performance insights. Sharing information and cooperating with your entire value chain (with organizations such as suppliers, regulatory or logistical organizations and ultimately your customers) could be tremendously beneficial as well.
Information should be available real-time, online and offline, on any device in an intuitive and modern front-end. Smart information means that all available data and technologies are used to only show you the actionable and valuable information you need at that moment and location. Advanced technologies such as machine learning can be used to recognize patterns and create proactive alerts (for example: an asset will be overheating in a couple of weeks). By applying such technologies our customers do more work with fewer people and provide more value to their customers.
As an end-user, you want to see the specific information that is valuable to you at that moment in the process. The information should be minimal; just the information you in your role need to see at that step in the process. Information should for instance be context-aware; you see the data of the asset you are standing next to. It could be even more valuable if it supports the multiple languages of your workforce and adjusts to each individual’s experience level. By personalizing information to the immediate needs of the individual at each process step, productivity and value are optimized.
Information is at the core of today’s organizations. Making best use of it can significantly improve workflows, productivity and communication between different people. It can even generate whole new business models. At TimeSeries, we see that the way organizations handle information varies significantly, yet it’s quite clear that those applying the four pillars of Just-in-Time-Information are winning significant benefits and are often the most successful in their respective industries. When JITI is applied successfully, you’re able to provide personalized, integrated, open and smart information to all internal and external stakeholders, just when and where it’s needed.
As business processes transcend systems, it’s key to move away from thinking in information silos with raw data. JITI allows organizations to create a digital strategy which focuses on generating time and context relevant information to support business processes. The art of pursuing JITI is to forget your current IT landscape for a moment and focus on the goals of the business. Then you can define what information is needed to support the pursuit of those goals and how to get there.
In the coming weeks we’ll explain the following:
- In separate blogs, the four conditions to a successful JITI-System within your organization: Integrated, Open, Smart and Personalized. We’ll cover these in detail and include specific use cases to illustrate how each works in practice.
- How to start implementing JITI in your organization.
This may sound abstract at the moment but don’t worry, at TimeSeries we focus on applying innovation via small projects with a lot of impact. So in this series of blogs, we’ll present various use cases to show how JITI will add value to your organization.
Please let us know what you think. We’re always curious and would warmly welcome your feedback.
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