Implementing new technology is vital for business growth. Of course, with any kind of growth, there are growing pains. But when properly implemented, new technology such as forklift connectivity can create long-term benefits that outweigh the challenges of the new responsibilities and procedures that accompany it.
How you approach the implementation of technology can have a significant impact on the satisfaction, safety and productivity of your supply chain workforce. When anticipated and appropriately managed, the initial reactions some workers may have to such changes can be reduced and eventually eliminated as they gain an understanding of the technology’s value to their jobs and the business. Consider these seven tips to help you ensure a smooth transition:
1. Don’t make technology decisions in a vacuum
Too often, technology decisions are made without input from those who will interact with it on a daily basis. Consider input from employees who are in a position to understand the role technology may play. Also, the equipment and technology workers use every day can have a significant impact on workforce performance and job sentiment.
2. Communicate changes clearly to employees
While the new technology may be beneficial in the long term, it can represent uncertain change, confusing expectations and added work for those on the receiving end. Take time during regular team meetings to answer questions and set clear expectations. Explaining the planned implementation and benefits of the technology can help diminish any uncertainty, fears or resistance employees may have.
3. Plan for potential hiccups
Avoid frustration by identifying opportunities to integrate the technology in a way that respects current processes, the workers that operate within them and stakeholders like safety, operations, maintenance and human resources.
4. Engage employees in hands-on training
Consider dividing your teams into functional areas of responsibility to maximize value and specificity of the structured training. After the technology is deployed, consistently follow up to identify opportunities for additional training or reinforcement.
5. Facilitate employee dialogue throughout implementation
Give workers ample opportunities to ask questions and share experiences during the implementation. Then, integrate that feedback into conversations with your informal and formal employee leaders. When employees feel like they are being considered and heard, they are more likely to embrace new technology and the change that comes with it.
6. Continue to monitor progress
Maintaining momentum requires accountability and positive feedback, with supervisors consistently responding with actionable steps that drive positive change. If someone is meeting or exceeding expectations, it is critical to recognize that through positive feedback.
7. Build on early successes
Positive change and growth are achieved incrementally. Create a plan to build on early successes to expand the technology or tackle new business objectives. By celebrating early, quick wins, you can increase employee confidence in the technology and build momentum.
Successful technology implementation is an indicator of a progressive market leader that invests in and listens to its employees, creating positive outcomes for current employee relationships while helping to recruit top-quality talent.