Coping with complexity in global production and R&D networks is a herculean task due to manifold triggers driving complexity throughout the company. Effective management of complexity has become key lever for competitive advantage as complex problems can be found throughout all industries as well as in healthcare industry. In a research study, ten industry-overlapping success factors were analyzed and defined as presented in this article.
Ongoing globalization, increasingly complex product and production technologies as well as individual customer requests foster complexity in global enterprises. Besides these external drivers, complexity arises from internal drivers: badly aligned product architecture and organizational structure foster complexity as local optimizations result in problems from a global perspective. To prevent disadvantageous developments, a globally integrated Complexity Management is needed to control complexity whilst maintaining flexibility and creating complexity-robust structures. This is where the benchmarking study sets in and identifies general success strategies, methods and concepts.
Within the study, top performers in the field of Complexity Management were identified by quantitative analysis and in-depth interviews. Finally, ten industry-overlapping success factors (global Complexity Management patterns) were derived in the four fields of “organization”, “culture and mindset”, “set transparence” and “valuable standardization”.
Commitment from top management and clear support in a company‘s strategy are central requirements for a consistent implementation of Complexity Management.
Complexity Management can be implemented in different ways – defined responsibilities and clear mandates are crucial success factors.
Company-wide awareness of the impact of complexity allows a prevention of complexity.
Complexity Management is no short-term activity – although first success occurs in the short run, effects in indirect areas often only occur later on.
Consistent phase-out processes create efficient product portfolios, enable lean processes and create room for innovation.
A complexity-based pricing increases portfolio profitability, but only works if the additional value is acknowledged by both sales department and customers.
Global data access in real time enables an integrated analysis of complexity and a global controlling of complexity within the company.
Integrated process management can be used to develop global synergies and to promote cooperation between the sites.
Production platforms enable the flexible production of broad product portfolios and lower one-off-expenditure especially in a global networking compound.
The global communication of standards as well as the integration of rights management allow the enforcement of worldwide platform designs and defined local adaptions.
Once again, the study clearly demonstrates why an elaborated Complexity Management approach enables superior performance. Though industries show multifaced challenges and complexity drivers resulting in different strategies, superordinate success factors show validity throughout all manufacturing companies.
Understanding cause and effect is essential to control complexity. A shared understanding of complexity throughout the company is necessary to avoid turning local improvements into a general disadvantage for the organization. Therefore, top management must demonstrate commitment to Complexity Management and support cross-functional cooperation.
Important external complexity drivers in healthcare companies are often local market requirements as well as regulative environments. We definitely see industry-specific strategies, frameworks and concepts, nevertheless the DNA of complexity is the same. The roots of complexity might be different, but effects are can be compared throughout all industries.
For healthcare management, there still is a huge learning potential that can be inspired by insights in other industries. Take the chance and make use of the experience of leaders from other industries to boost your competitive advantage through global Complexity Management !
Source: Schuh, G.; Friedli, T.; Schiffer, M.; Rohde, D.; Toennes, C., 2017, Global Complexity Management: Summary of the consortium benchmarking