Courageous leadership a prerequiste

When an organisation begins working with model-based design, stringent demands are placed on managers. How they work with this can be decisive for whether or not execution is successful.

Lars Ydreskog, Head of Operations at Saab's Aeronautics business area, is one of the driving forces behind the company’s implementation of a model-based methodology and he is convinced that courage is important in succeeding.

“Many are conducting small pilot cases, but lack the courage to go all the way and implement the change throughout the organisation,” he says. “To reap all the benefits of the change, you have to alter the entire flow, and to do this, you must have the courage to make that decision even if you cannot yet perceive all the consequences.”

Clarity that basic strategy still applies

Once the decision has been made and the change implemented, sustainability is required. There will always be those who do not like the change and there will certainly be unanticipated setbacks. Here it is up to the managers to make it clear that the basic strategy still applies and that even if it can feel difficult at times, the change is going to be implemented all the same because of all the positive effects it provides once everything has been fine tuned. This does not mean however, that criticism from staff members should just be brushed aside.

“A change that encompasses the entire organisation affects many people and their day-to-day activities, so we must be willing to listen and make adjustments as necessary, but we can never diverge from the basic strategy,” says Lars Ydreskog.
Some parts of the organisation will benefit more than others
It is also important to provide staff members with the support they need. It can be a matter of method support and how it affects their work methods, but also giving them insight into how the change can affect different parts of the organisation in different ways.

“A change such as MBD affects the entire flow and in certain parts of the flow, it can be perceived as there being more work than before, while the benefits are noticed in other parts.” says Lars Ydreskog. “Especially in the learning phase, it can be that a part of the organisation such as design, sees the change as just more work, while further down in the flow, tremendous benefits are seen with all components now fitting better. To get everyone to understand the benefits of the change, it is important to show how the whole is improved and for people to not just look at how their part of the flow is affected.”

Lastly, it is also important that management understands that this is a matter of an investment.

“A learning period is necessary and for us it cost perhaps an hour or so more in the initial phase of the design stage, but it soon has an impact, and if we don't do it in time, the competitors will pass us by,” says Lars Ydreskog.