Originally Published: April 17, 2013 – Updated: June 2020

Undergoing Positive Change

"Change is Good Donkey" The Dreamworks movie Shrek is the perfect example of just how much things can change in a short amount of time. Shrek went from being a lonely, mean ogre to being the hero that married the princess and had to embrace new attitudes and dynamics along the way. Being the leader, he prepared his trustworthy sidekick, Donkey, for what's ahead "Change is Good, Donkey," Shrek says. However, change is not easy for everyone. It often means letting go of something that you are very comfortable with and learning how to adapt to something new and different. People often say they are willing and open to change, and the real contradiction is that people also want comfort, predictability, and stability.

Change Management in Supply Chain

Preparing for Change Management to enable a successful WMS Implementation is a crucial step that many organizations fail to embrace.

A WMS implementation will impact many system users in some form. Typically, the decision-making process of implementing or upgrading your system comes from the top down. The top-down process means an organization is leaving itself exposed to transformation risk because its largest user base is usually not involved. Yes, they are the ones expected to make the change. Ultimately, those at the top are creating a situation where those users at the bottom are not prepared to let go of the old and accept the new as a good change.

There are many implementation experiences where users create unnecessary roadblocks during a Go-Live support simply because they have not been prepared for change. As a result, this creates confusion, frustration, and at times negativity towards the changes. These are all obvious signs that change management execution has not received the importance it deserves. We often experience floor level feedback along the lines of "How can this WMS be better than our legacy system?" Employee comments often paint the picture very clearly:

  • "It takes me twice as long to do my job, how can this be better?"
  • "How can an RF be better than my paper pick document?"
  • "Why is the system asking me to put the pallet in that location? It should go over there."
  • "I cannot believe they think this system is better."
  • "My job has changed completely; why?"

Many companies often struggle in one form or another when they fail to apply good change management practices or adapt change.We all know that there are many change models available to help your organization. Unfortunately, there is no perfect change management approach, but the following 7 strategies are something to consider:

  1. Seek change management training for your team.
  2. Make your leaders accountable for the change transformation.
  3. Engage all levels of the organization.
  4. Identify how this change will impact and benefit the company.
  5. How will people jobs change and what new skills will they require.
  6. How will you support them while they build comfort and confidence with this change?
  7. Communicate, Communicate, and Communicate!

Understand the Hesitation

In summary, leaders need to be motivating influences during times of change. Understand the process of change, employee hesitation, and support them through it. By doing so, you will surely help the success of your WMS implementation and make people feel good about the process they are going through. Watch your business grow by embracing the changes necessary for growth.

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