Systems don’t create change. Not on their own. However, a well thought out and designed system can create the necessary platform and foundation to enable and sustain the changes needed. Ensuring this type of success sounds easy but can be hard to execute.
Ask yourself, what do we need to help the organization and individuals truly believe in why the change is needed? In change management, this is the “burning platform”. This is the key to drive the motivation needed to embark on a successful change journey.
Change is scary, especially in business
Many of us live in a business world where multiple people need to be “on board”.
Think about your personal life, when you make and commit to making a change, how often does it really affect more than yourself and a few other people?
In business, most changes made have the potential to impact dozens or more people. This alone can make deciding on changes overwhelming and create trepidation. It is not always about expected results or benefits, it can be about making the work people are doing today feel unimportant. Or, about the work they will be doing tomorrow not being fully and well defined.
“The 'burning platform' is the key to drive the motivation needed to embark on a successful change journey.”
Emotions and perceptions, like it or not, can readily cause many good options to seem irrelevant. So, how do you capture the facts in writing to enable good decisions?
Listing the facts starting with the pain points and the problems that need to be solved are a solid starting point.
- You have manual processes that cause you to enter data in one system that is already in another system, including getting updated tracking information from two different visibility platforms, and keying that information into TMS so you can enable alerting and tracking messages internally and to your customers.
- Manual data entry not only causes administrative (non-productive) work, but also introduces error and creates rework in addition to causing delays in data timeliness. This could total as much as 75 hours of waste (manual data entry) a week.
- You are missing opportunities to find and execute on the best rate available for certain loads or shipments, and you might project this cost an incremental $200k annually.
- Users are frustrated with the work and time required when a load has changes or updates. Each change needs to be updated manually in the TMS and then communicated to the appropriate parties. Manual changes alone could total over 50 hours of work per week.
Evaluate the Point of View
Taking a step back to evaluate and position the value to different stakeholders. Making sure that each key stakeholder has skin in the game and has something to benefit from the change is critical.
For Management, these items will probably sound great:
- Cost reduction
- Service metrics improvements
- Dashboard access for visibility and reporting
Most front-line folks and end users will need to feel confident that management is:
- Creating a system and tools that enables them to be productive and efficient
- Removing the key pain points
- Setting up processes (enabled by systems) to help to prevent mistakes
Key business partners (vendors, customers, etc.) will need to know how you are going to:
- Ease doing business with you (i.e. timely and efficient invoice and payment processing)
- Enable tools that help improve service (i.e. automated targeted messaging and alerts, automation for shipment status updates)
- Improve data sharing and collaboration
"Understanding your stakeholders and addressing their specific needs up front will put you in a better position for change adoption."
Position Stakeholders to Pull for the Changes
Understanding your stakeholders and addressing their specific needs up front will put you in a better position for change adoption. Rather than trying to convince people of why the changes are needed, they will be motivated to pull you to the changes needed.
For example, most end user groups will have 3 to 5 “hot buttons” that you can address in the design and requirements documentation and track through to delivery. These users groups will then advocate for the solution and help to remove barriers along the way because their feedback is part of the solution design.
How Do You Ensure the TMS Will Enable Change?
- Use real situations that are causing pain points and communicate the supporting data to bust any myths. Factually explain Why Change is Needed.
- Know your key Stakeholder Groups and capture the need for the change from each of their points-of-view.
- Don’t’ overlook any stakeholders. Use their feedback to drive engagements and success. Turn your need to “push” change into a demand or “pull” for change.
When it comes to Transportation Management Systems too many companies jump right into the process by thinking that step one is vendor selection—when approaching this monumental investment from a strategy-first perspective is definitely the smarter way to go.
We help educate you about the importance of taking the time to conduct proper due diligence before jumping into the vendor selection process. Often we advise our clients that a ‘quick and dirty’ assessment, followed by a detailed strategy, is a smart investment to begin their technology journey. Some clients find that systems just need some TLC; others confirm that a significant transformation is in order.
Either way, one has a much better understanding of the work ahead and what the benefits will be. The first step in the journey can be small to ensure we can make larger leaps in the right direction.
We look forward to helping you with your challenges when it comes to adapting to change. It's what we do best!
Let’s Have a Conversation!
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Mike Wolf is a Client Engagement Director at JBF Consulting. Mike has extensive experience in Transportation and Logistics from procurement through operations leadership spanning 25+ years. His experience is deep in transportation and the CPG / Beverage Industry with particular expertise in leveraging change management skills to ensure changes are adopted and maximize the intended value, including implementing new systems, modes, suppliers or shipping points and carriers.
About JBF Consulting
Since 2003, we’ve been helping shippers of all sizes and across many industries select, implement and squeeze as much value as possible out of their logistics systems. We speak your language — not consultant-speak – and we get to know you. Our leadership team has over 100+ years of logistics and TMS implementation experience. Because we operate in a niche — we’re not all things to all people — our team members have a very specialized skill set: logistics operations experience + transportation technology + communication and problem-solving skills + a bunch of other cool stuff.