How The Right Partner Can Help You On Your Digital Transformation Journey

How the right partner can help you on your digital transformation journey

Dec. 8, 2022
Thomas Wilk says even the toughest loads are easier to bear with a partner and a plan.

If you’re a regular reader of this column, you know that one of my hobbies is long-distance running. Two presentations this fall reminded me of what it took to run my best full marathon time 11 years ago.

In October 2011 I headed to Ohio for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Full and Half Marathon. This race had me excited, because the year prior I had completed my first full marathon, but had trained and run the race alone. In contrast, in Ohio I would be running with my close friends Pete and Alyssa, who each had trained to run the half. They also made things more fun by using a hand-clicker to keep tab of how many race supporters we would high-five along the way.

We started together, cheering at the starting line when Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run” kicked off the race, and for first 5-6 miles we laughed and joked and high-fived a lot of people. Then around mile 7, our different training routines for the full and half marathons kicked in. Pete and Alyssa pulled ahead and kept high-fiving people, running their race, and I slowed down to run mine and conserve energy for the next 19 miles.

Memories of this race came flooding back this year as I listened to the keynote address at the Rockwell Automation Fair in Chicago. Blake Moret, Chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation, started his address by summing up the past few years:

“We saw 20 years of evolution in two, because we had to, but it’s making us more resilient, more agile, and more sustainable,” adding that “we were a little surprised that we could act as quickly as we needed to” given several years of pandemic-related challenges.

Now, with people and industry in general able to look back at what was learned during the worst of the COVID crisis, Moret noted that plant teams in general were bringing partners in earlier in the process of digital transformation in order to streamline their business processes, adding that he thought “simplification is going to sort out the winners and losers in this business over the next 10 years.”

The second speaker was Kevin Laczkowski of McKinsey & Co., who discussed the Global Lighthouse Network, a project that McKinsey had developed with the World Economic Forum. The program is designed to showcase plants and facilities that have achieved measurable and sustainable success with digital transformation, and then share these “Lighthouse” case study examples with industry to help other plants in similar sectors. To date, of thousands of applicants, only 114 have made the cut as Lighthouses, but each of those reinforces that none of us are alone in this journey.

As for the 2011 marathon, it’s no surprise to me that I ran my best time yet, powered by partners who shared much of the journey and even made it fun. Have a great holiday season, and all the best for a productive new year.

This story originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue of Plant Services. Subscribe to Plant Services here.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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