The research, evaluation and approval process for new technology is a long and drawn-out process. With so many loops and obstacles to work through, the process of contracting and deploying new solutions can take many months or even years. The reality is that change is hard, and many people are comfortable with the status quo, even if there are ways to quickly and radically improve the process. If you want to get buy-in from people at all levels of the decision-making process for your manufacturing technology solutions, these five tips will help to accelerate the process.
1. Highlight Current Problems
If you want something to change, the best way to get started is to highlight current problems. If people feel like nothing is wrong or that their current systems are “efficient enough”, they will not want to do anything to fix it. Therefore, highlight some of the current issues your organization is facing. Some of the most common problems include:
- There could be supply chain difficulties that can be rectified using advanced technology.
- You may be spending too much money maintaining legacy equipment or processes, making it a financial black hole.
- Automation and digital improvements to manual, paper processes can save tons of time and free up employees to work on more rewarding and less mundane projects.
- You may want to highlight the impact of human error on some of your operations.
If you can demonstrate clear problems that need to be fixed, you will have an easier time convincing your stakeholders to invest in an improvement project.
2. Bring Objective Data to the Table
Another suggestion in building a strong business case for new technology is to bring objective data to the table. What this means is that you need to have clear numbers that show why the problems above are serious issues and what needs to be done to fix them. For example, you may want to calculate the average number of days projects are delayed due to issues with your equipment/process. Or, you may want to calculate the average amount of money you spend maintaining old, outdated, or obsolete equipment.
Another important piece of objective data is understanding the return on investment (ROI) in the technology. There will likely be hard dollar and soft dollar savings which can often be difficult to equate. Most often, technology vendors have ROI tools and calculators they can share with you to build a strong technology adoption case. People cannot argue with quantitative data so make sure you bring them with you when you try to convince them to give your project the green light.
3. Focus the Solutions on the People Involved
No matter how advanced the technology is, humans are indispensable. Even though a lot of facilities have invested in automation technology, the vast majority of industrial tasks are still performed by people. These people may also feel threatened by new technology, like the new solutions may make them look bad, sloppy, or slow.
Therefore, you must focus your solutions on the people involved and how the new technology can highlight their strengths. Talk about how advanced technology will make life easier for people on the floor of the manufacturing plant or at the leadership level, enterprise-wide. Discuss how technology can keep them safe and healthy. You might even want to focus on how your solutions will make people more productive.
4. Have a Clear Budget in Mind
One of the biggest reasons why these projects run into obstacles is that they tend to be unbounded expenses. Without any clarity on how much they cost, companies hesitate to endorse them. Therefore, have a clear budget in mind. How much money do you need to spend right now? How much will it cost to maintain the equipment? You may want to start the project small if you want to maximize your chances of getting approved. Then, you can expand the project once the stakeholders see how much good the project is doing. The ROI background will help provide additional clarity on cost structure and return for budgeting.
5. Prioritize Options by Business Criticality and Ease of Integration
We consider that a final, strategic way to accelerate this time-consuming process is to follow Gartner’s system prioritization strategy. According to Gartner® report, “The systems prioritization grid will help you objectively rank your priorities, determine the most crucial focus areas and establish the base for securing the buy-ins from multiple stakeholders.”1
Ready to Deploy a Workforce Optimization Solution?
One project on every manufacturer’s radar to tackle with technology is shift scheduling and labor management. At Indeavor, we provide you with access to workforce management software that can optimize employee scheduling. Our solutions make it easier for you to handle employee vacations, sick days, shift-swapping, and more with data and analytics to showcase the efficacy of your scheduling processes. Furthermore, we have plenty of integrations that will work flawlessly with your existing programs, including HCM, LMS, payroll and ERP solutions.
For insight into how Indeavor’s workforce management technology fits into the prioritization grid above, this is how our internal workforce management experts see Indeavor’s solutions:
Contact us today to see a demo or visit www.indeavor.com.
 “Design a Robust Integration Plan Before WMS Implementation to Maximize Value and Adaptability”, Rishabh Narang, Simon Tunstall, 16 November 2021 - ID G00759975. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.