Manufacturing companies usually have a fixed way of doing things, and one wouldn’t expect them to come out with creative ideas every once in a while. That is largely because they have a job of creating set products for a large consumer base, which expects them to deliver said products without delay and change.
This doesn’t mean that the industry is totally averse to new ideas.
Technology & digitisation: Indeed, there have been advancements in the sector because of technology and digitisation, which have helped businesses match pace with their customers and make way for new advancements to keep the market fresh. However, today, constant competition forces companies to come up with more ways to keep up with the growing consumer demands.
“The key to fostering creativity is to make space for experiment”
Amit Sharma, CHRO, Volvo Group India
It is true that the manufacturing industry is slower at following creative paths because it has a very specific process of doing things and making products. A whole upheaval of that process is not a good idea because it would mean alienating the consumers of the company’s products.
Experimentation: An easier way to introduce creativity in the sector is steady experimenting through which the companies can see what works for them and what doesn’t.
Amit Sharma, CHRO, Volvo Group India, believes that “the key to fostering creativity is to make space for experiment.”
“It is essential for the company to always remain open to new ideas, and not fear failure,” he states. Better to learn from one’s unsuccessful efforts than not try at all, because then one can look for other options and avoid facing the same difficulties the next time. Similarly, companies should always have a safety net in place if they do indeed fail, because then they have to assess the damage and not regret the resources consumed by the experiment.
Obviously, if companies don’t try to push themselves to create new solutions for problems and bring new ideas to the table, they are very likely to get into a state of stasis where there is no progress at all.
“Companies should be open to sticking their necks out and trying different things”
Rajesh Nair, executive president and CHRO, Polycab India
Empowerment: Sharma also stresses the importance of empowering employees to try new things and give them confidence to be creative in their respective fields. If the employees feel a certain freedom in their work, they are likely to come up with different ways to solve problems, make new discoveries and be better prepared for the future.
Rajesh Nair, executive president and CHRO, Polycab India, supports experimentation and believes, “minor failures lead to bigger successes. “Companies should be open to sticking their necks out and trying different things,” he opines.
In his line of business, Nair feels it may be easier to expect little need for innovation, but he points out that the complex requirements of the work always call for creative solutions.
Fresh talent: Identifying new talent, capable of making decisive creative choices, and exploring new ideas is also needed, asserts Nair. It is equally important for the older generation at work to enjoy ample room to experiment.
A sense of curiosity at the workplace, and the will to explore newer avenues will do wonders as well.
“All of this includes taking considerable risk,” Nair says, but freedom and access to resources are the stepping stones to success for a company.
In the end, creative processes aren’t as quickly put in place as many would like to believe. Therefore, manufacturing companies need to pay attention to where they most need to expend time for innovation, and then slowly bring about change that is beneficial to all.