The Benefits of Glocalization

“Glocalization” is a portmanteau, or blending, of “globalization” and “localization”.  It is the idea of acting with global intent but with local adaptations; the notion of “think globally, but act locally.”  The glocalization of your business will result in a standardization of the various processes and procedures under which your business operates – and they are applied to the local circumstance to the extent they can be.

But, unless two sites are perfect identical twins to one another, it is not reasonable to expect that every process and procedure can be completely standardized in granular detail because of the variants that will exist from; site to site, plant to plant, equipment to equipment, conditions to conditions, product to product, and so on.

The challenge is in finding a balance between global standardization and local adaptations.

As an example, take the crew on the flight deck of an airliner.  They go through a pre-flight checklist before every flight – even if they have flown that model of aircraft every time they have flown.  They do this, in part, because there will be variants from aircraft  to aircraft.  That is why the checklist actually follows the aircraft and is not carried to the flight by the crew.  Of course, they also perform a pre-flight checklist to ensure that nothing is forgotten.

Getting back to the plant; global standardization can reduce implementation, operational costs, and enable global reporting that is meaningful.  And incorporating local standardizations to accommodate variants from the global standards is not only the appropriate thing to do, it will lead to a higher level of engagement from the employees, which will increase their job satisfaction and employee retention. 

This last point, employee satisfaction, should not be readily overlooked.  Without it, not only will you experience resistance to implementing the global standards, the employees will actively seek ways of working around the system – mostly because it is getting in the way of their doing their job.

The approach:

You need to ensure a 360 view of the overall operations.  This will be best achieved by a top-down and bottom-up approach – with all stakeholders having a seat at the table.  Expanding who is involved in the deliberations from the start will precipitate out maximum flexibility, completeness, and the buy-in from the various stakeholders.

The first step is to establish the standardizations.  Chances are, any documentation of existing standards that might exist are outdated and it’s time to revisit them – compare what should be happening to what is actually happening.  This will need to be done plant by plant.

The next step is to make the determination of what processes and procedures exist across all plants.  This will help to establish what standards are global and where global reporting and KPI’s can be created.  The control of the remaining processes and procedures will be delegated to the individual plants – and perhaps even the equipment within the plants as appropriate.

In support of these efforts and to facilitate the implementation of the standards, digital templates should be used that will document the processes and procedures and store them in a central repository for easy access by all users.  This, and other project requirements, will best be accomplished with the aid of a software solution which can be deployed globally but tailored to the needs locally. 

This drive for standardization will simplify employee exchanges of information between different sites, as well as within each plant, while offering the ability to compare and contrast the operations of different plants – even shifts within plants.

The solution needs to be easy to use and flexible for adaptations and reconfigurations of the system to accommodate changes in the local conditions.  And the system needs to be able to support the terminology of your business and the language of the locals.

Ultimately, you and you company make product.  You don’t make or implement solutions.

Therefore, you will need technology solutions (software and hardware) and the subject matter experts to help determine the deployment models and guide you through to go-live.  To ensure that every operator has a vested interest and sense of ownership during the design and implementation of the solutions, they will participate in remote consultations and on-site workshops.

During these consultations and workshops, the users will have the opportunity to share their site-specific variants and requirements with the implementation team so that configurations to support these requirements are met, yet still adhere to the global standards.

Assuming a prescriptive approach is formulated and decided upon among all stakeholders and external subject matter experts, the deployment of a comprehensive solution should;

  • Standardize and harmonize processes so there is one truth in how you do business on a global level but ensure acceptance by supporting variants at the local level.
  • Facilitate the defining of appropriate KPI’s at both the global and local levels.
  • Standardize communication protocols within each plant and across all sites to simplify employee exchanges and create a collaborative community environment.
  • Increase the transparency of goings-on within plants for atypical results (both favorable and unfavorable) and health and safety incidents.
  • Standardize incident and task tracking at the local level to help the plant perform better and also to support the need for timely analysis of operations around the globe.
  • Permit the access to the information and analysis anytime and anywhere with the centralized data collection in the cloud
  • Minimize the burden (and costs) of corporate IT resources by having the solution application and data residing in the cloud.
  • Standardize the process of capturing and curating data and information – establishing a “single source of truth” – which will allow for simplified filter and search functions as well as broader analysis of the data that is captured.
  • Require less time for the operator to seek the information they need to do their job as efficiently and effective as possible – estimated savings of at least 1 hour per week per operator – which will reduce the operating costs at the plant.
  • Minimize the implementation costs and the ongoing cost of ownership of the solution.

We say our people are our most important assets – and they undoubtedly are.  And they want to do a great job for the other members of their team and for the company.  So let’s make sure that they have the proper skills and resources at their disposal so they can be as efficient and effective with their plant and equipment as is possible.  Let’s give them the tools necessary to make them as safe as possible – so they go home the same way as they arrived.

This helps them, and this helps the company – now and into the future.

Andreas Eschbach is passionate about digitizing the chemical and pharmaceutical production worldwide. Focused on the success of production employees, plant managers and operational excellence enthusiasts.

Founder and CEO of a German-American company.
Eschbach provides software solutions for customers in the process industry world wide to improve their operational excellence.



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