“To succeed you must have a plan and not quite enough time”.
I remember laughing the first time an old boss told me this; in retrospect this simple statement is a recipe for every successful Warehouse Management System and Transport Management System implementation CartonCloud have been involved in.
In businesses of all sizes the below steps can help ensure your Warehouse and Transport Management System implementation does not drag out and become a painful process.
Define the Mandate, Objectives and Scope: plan your implementation goals including timelines and share with everyone involved. Don’t forget to include the team at the coal face on the floor and in administration; these teams are critical to change success.
Resources: make sure everyone involved knows what is expected from them to make this change a success.
Hint: assign change leaders from each aspect of your business (floor, admin, finance, management, trainers etc) and ensure they have been allotted time to review, digest and plan, and most importantly train relevant staff in operational expectations.
Milestones and Timing: set key milestones that are specific and measurable, ownership is clear, and assign timelines that are optimistic but achievable (establish a sense of urgency) e.g Task - Invoices to be auto generating with all rate scenarios confirmed accurate. Responsible - Joe (Admin Team Leader), Required - 1st May with weekly progress updates.
Hint: ensure the implementation has an owner in your business. Empower them with the authority to make resource time and tools available as is needed as the rollout progresses. Specifically task them with seeking regular updates on achievements towards attaining the key milestone dates and escalating barriers to success. This role is critical to maintaining a sense of urgency.
Communicate regularly: Broadcast updates, benefits, successes and barriers regularly and give the team a chance to ask questions and voice concerns; change resistance is a normal human trait and each staff member will have questions that need to be answered before they become positive and active change champions. Identify positive contributors early (these people are great for assigning lead tasks to). Identify the resistant team members; address their concerns and make sure they understand both the business and personal benefits e.g less paper, easier processes, happier customers, fewer emails/phone calls etc.
Hint: make sure over 50% of the team are active positive contributors and the team environment will usually pull the laggers into line (less than 50% has the opposite effect). We have seen successful (system) implementations that have not not been as operationally beneficial as they should be because team members are still resisting change long after go-live.
About the author:
Implementation Manager and Customer Service, CartonCloud.
- 20+ years of executive and coal-face business, supply chain and logistics experience in multiple countries and sectors; logistics including customer IC&T and physical integration, procurement, air, sea, road and rail, domestic-, international-, project, 3PL-, lead-, aggregated- and project warehousing
- Well versed in continuous improvement, project management, business analysis, WMS/TMS delivery/development and broader IC&T
- Passion for building high performance businesses with a proven track record for success