Managing Change – Adopting TMS, Supply Chain Tech Projects

As recently as ten years ago, transportation leaders viewed cloud-based logistics automation technology with great skepticism; even outright ambivalence.  Today, there is no longer any question about the viability and value of adopting TMS.  Bringing users around to embracing emerging tech can be accomplished through well-conceived change management methods. 

The disruptive tech vexing today’s harried supply chain practitioner is “blockchain for supply chain”.  Transforming supply chain users’ perspectives on this new technology from anxiety to adoption will again rely on the same critical ingredient – effective change management.   Yet, many organizations haven’t fully embraced well-established technologies like TMS, YMS, Fleet Management Systems and others.  You’ll have to get them comfortable with digitization in each of these slices of the supply chain “tech stack” before they’ll be truly receptive to the promise of adopting TMS or even blockchain.

With this in mind, here are some best practices for promoting positive feelings about adopting new technology in your transportation logistics operations – whether that means new TMS tools or any other tech that may be “new to you”.

Dispel the Fear of Being “Automated Out of a Job”
For many in functional roles, the idea of a new technology raises fears about being “replaced” by automation.  While it is true that automation tech like TMS, YMS and other supply chain systems reduce the volume of manual processes that consume the daily workflows of operations personnel, in reality, there is no shortage of important work to be done by a logistics team unencumbered by tedious, repetitive, formerly manual tasks.

Explain that once automation has eliminated the need to manage all but the exceptions, the team will be able to focus on activities designed to drive greater savings and efficiency.  Things like more hands-on carrier management, KPI driven logistics performance management and improvement, better routing and scheduling, faster settlement and a host of other strategic activities boosting competitive advantage.  Learning to work with contemporary, even cutting edge supply chain management tools makes the team more effective in their professional roles and boosts logistics’ profile within the organization.

Explain the Value of Having One Unified Version of the Truth
Technology helps centralize and protect important information.  Breaking down the silos of information formerly kept in disparate locations and formats, the data visibility delivered by tech solutions helps logistics users perform with far greater accuracy and reduces errors, providing one, verifiable version of the truth.  This promotes greater accountability among all stakeholders – logistics, sales, carriers, intermediaries, and customers – ensuring each is performing to expectations and without the ability to shirk responsibility for errors, mistakes, etc.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
You cannot communicate too much when championing change within your organization.  Present the above messages and others clearly, authentically, frequently and always in detail.  Use as many channels as you can from spoken to written.  Use videos, training groups/sessions, bulletins, memos, emails etc.  Make sure you provide ample opportunity for questions and feedback.  In the absence of communication, your people will make up their own stories about the new technology that may be at odds with the truth.  Make project champions readily available to field questions and arm them with uniform answers so there’s no question about the goals and reasons for implementing new technology.

UltraShipTMS implementation managers are experts in driving positive, effective change management in pursuit of superior supply chain logistics operations and overall supply chain digitization efforts.  Whatever the state of your technology adoption – whether you’re still using manual spreadsheet-driven transportation management processes or you’re building an advanced tech stack and readying your organization for blockchain to manage the data across all systems – UltraShipTMS is a valuable partner in helping your rank and file navigate the change.