How can you introduce digital innovation in your business? If you’re unfamiliar with the term, digital innovation refers to the use of technology in order to change how people work, interact, or get their jobs done. This blog will introduce you to the concept of digital innovation, how to introduce it in your company through the creation of value stream maps and what financial supports are available through Enterprise Ireland.
The Covid 19 pandemic has forced businesses to go online. What started out as a knee jerk reaction has now become the norm. According to the OECD,“the digital transformation is having a wide-ranging impact on the business environment, creating both opportunities and challenges.”
Understand your Customer
Digital Innovation analyses your company from a digital point of view. It starts with having a thorough understanding of what your customers’ needs are. This in turn allows you to serve your customers better. However, we first need to look at your Value Stream before using new technology to improve your customer’s experience. Indeed, many companies are seeking to become more efficient by using digital tools but some are still struggling with this change.
Analyse your Value Stream Map
Value stream mapping is a process by which you identify every step involved in producing a product or delivering a service, and then analyse how those steps can be improved. The goal of value stream mapping is to figure out how to do each step faster, with less waste, for less money. It’s not enough to see that something can be done digitally. By creating a value stream map, you’re able to isolate which steps are adding value and which are wasteful.
To introduce digital innovation into your business, start by identifying ways your value stream can be optimized. For example , an IT team may want to create an online portal so employees can submit their expense reports electronically, rather than printing them and submitting them via mail. By pinpointing non-value-adding steps and eliminating them, businesses can save time and money while making sure they deliver quality products and services.
Implement Pilot Projects
Pilot projects allow you to test a digital innovation before making a large investment. Pilot projects help ensure you don’t prematurely commit resources only to find that a particular new technology isn’t right for your business. It can also show how new technology fits into existing systems and even improve them. Don’t be afraid of piloting; see it as an investment, not just an expense. While some companies may say they don’t have time for pilots, those who do often end up reaping significant benefits and increased efficiency.
Enterprise Ireland Digitalisation Offer
Enterprise Ireland’s Digitalisation Offer is offering a Voucher to cover up to 100% of the cost of a 10 day consultancy programme (to the value of €9,000). The Digitalisation Voucher is open to all Enterprise Ireland clients who employ 10 or more or non-Enterprise Ireland client companies that operate within the manufacturing or internationally traded service sectors who employed 10 or more full time people on their payroll on the 29th of February 2020 OR employed 10 full time staff at the time of application.
Support is provided over a short period of time but can be extended to a maximum of 6 weeks duration. Eligible Projects must include one or more of the following activities:
- Internal Process Optimisation (Lean-Digital-Automation)
- Enhancing Customer Digital Experience (Product, Service, Route to Market, Channels)
- Becoming a Data-Driven Business
Guiding Principles of the Digitalisation Offer
There are some key considerations to take into account:
- First of all, you should take into account all aspects of customer value. This is the Value Stream and can cover everything from your supply chain to your final customer. By analysing your value stream, you can find non-value added waste within your processes. In our experience, the most common types of waste are wasted time, materials or under-utilised staff.
- Secondly, you should focus of supporting data and measurement. What drives customer value? By understanding the key performance indicators and then making these processes better, you can find new opportunities for digital automation.
- Next, you should start with small changes and improvements. Take the time to involve all team members to make continuous improvements. This will start building a culture of innovation and Lean Thinking. Ultimately, this will help your staff to problem-solve in a creative way.
- Finally, you should approach new digital technologies as a source of added value rather than simply an additional cost to the business. Focus on tools that are easily adaptable to your changing needs.
Why you should adopt Lean Principles?
Lean Principles on manufacturing management are used by many manufacturing organisations. These business principles include:
- Focus on value as measured by your CUSTOMERS
- Map your value stream that delivers this value. Confirm that the process can meet the market demand.
- Flow – Aim to streamline the process and eliminate delays. Reducing customer lead-times will improve customer experience.
- Aim to automate the signals or processes to deliver your product or services, driven by the demand from the market.
- Create a future state value stream and use this to prioritise and drive your process improvements. Improvements should be executed over short-cycle iterations and constantly challenge the status quo.
Accurate mapping of the ‘Current State’ and plotting of the ‘Future State’ provides an excellent foundation for the application of Digital technologies.
This process can identify system bottlenecks, resource issues, opportunities to eliminate or combine process steps and reduce queues or inventory. Information flows can be mapped to optimise lead times and provide clear prioritisation for individual process steps.
Lean philosophy on manufacturing operations also applies to digital innovation. It teaches managers to eliminate waste, improve quality, and to remain relevant in an ever competitive environment. The importance of staying relevant means that you need to be able to maintain and deliver new technologies to your employees and customers. You need to build and support a culture that uses cutting edge methods and products, while encouraging others to use the same methods and products. Staying relevant is imperative if you want your company to continue to lead in this rapidly changing and demanding industry.
Is my Business Eligible?
The Digitalisation Voucher is open to companies that operate within the manufacturing or internationally traded service sectors who employed 10 or more full time people on their payroll on the 29th of February 2020 or employed 10 full-time staff at the time of application.
- Companies who employ less than 50 and have been impacted by Covid in one of the following ways:
- Have suffered, or be projected to suffer, a 15 per cent or more reduction in actual or projected turnover or profit as a result of COVID-19 outbreak; and / or
- Have had a significant increase in operational costs as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- For companies who do not meet the above criteria in 1. and who are Enterprise Ireland clients, they may be eligible under De Minimis Aid.
Closing date for Applications
This is subject to budget availability under temporary framework up to end of 2021.
How do I apply?
Read more about Enterprise Ireland’s Digitalisation Offer here.
ETAC Limited : Approved Provider for Enterprise Ireland
ETAC Limited is an approved provider for Enterprise Ireland for the Digitalisation Voucher. We are happy to discuss this project with you. Schedule an online consultation with us.