Inventory management software is a powerful tool that can assist the efficiency of your warehouse, helping you fulfil orders faster while keeping track of stock levels, to name but two advantages. But while you might be completely convinced of the benefits introducing it to your business will bring, you need to make sure your team are on board too. Here, we look at a few ways to ensure a successful roll-out.
No matter how beneficial the inventory management software you’ve invested in will be to your systems and procedures on paper, it will not succeed unless your staff use it positively and correctly. So how can you sell them the benefits and ensure you reap the rewards from your investment? Well, it’s known that some people embrace change, others consciously or subconsciously resist it. Your task is to seek out those who will instinctively welcome the new product and encourage them to promote it to others. Look for the natural enthusiasts who have been quick to see the positives of change in the past. Ideally, they will come from among the teams who will use the stock control software most. Ask them to help users who are struggling to get to grips with the new system. Chances are, part of the hesitance to use the software will come from fear of getting it wrong. By having help on hand, much of the resistance can be easily overcome in this way. This feeds into training. Naturally, any new software that you expect teams to use on an ongoing basis will need to be supported through training sessions. Remember, for training, there is often no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
People learn in different ways. Be prepared to address training in different ways too. Some people learn best in the classroom environment; others learn by doing. Consider a varied approach to teaching people how to use the business inventory software and you’ll reach a larger audience overall. Next, incorporate the advantages into routine meetings, and that will reinforce messages. Make the most of your new, improved efficiency by feeding back on reduced order fulfilment times, for instance, or positive comments from customers. If data has been hard to gather in the past – having to perform manual stock checks in a warehouse, for instance – your staff will appreciate how much quicker and easier it is to produce these figures now, almost instantly. And remember that rewarding positive, engaged behaviour is far more effective than penalising any negative or resistant attitudes. Make sure those who are consistently and correctly using your new warehouse management software feel the benefits on a personal level through performance incentives and recognition, where appropriate. Only ever impose penalties for failure to use the new system as a last resort.
Embedding inventory management software into a business is a combination of selling the benefits; encouraging early adoption by those users most likely to engage positively with it; and ensuring it is part of the way the business operates from day one. Accept that there is always likely to be some resistance from some quarters, but this is sure to resolve itself as the software beds in.