In a fast and ever-changing world, companies that want to remain competitive need to embrace change. But how to embrace change when the transformation journey is long and challenging? Read on and discover my five supply chain transformation tips that will help you to get your people on this journey, keep them on board and get them over the mountain(*).
* As featured in our #bluecruxtalks webinar session on embracing change management during your transformation journey
1) Start early
Often, we see that a change management team is only onboarded late in the project, for example, when training is about to begin. Way too late. Start early and work on the “why,” identify the stakeholders, learn how they feel and start to communicate. The sooner people understand the need for change, the better. And no worries if you don’t have all the answers yet. Put yourself over it and start engaging. Next, the project team benefits from an early start on change management. Their understanding, their common alignment around the future and their engagement are key to making the project a success.
2) Change from within
Change management is not a separate track, it needs to be embedded into all your tracks. Involve people with process knowledge and who understand your end-to-end processes: people who can challenge others, who can estimate the real impact and who can make links to other functions, departments or teams. In this way, you will capture the real challenges and the cross-functional and cross-departmental impacts.
3) Build a powerful change organization
Suppose that your projects cover several countries in Europe. You have your headquarters, your production sites, your distribution centers, your sales entities, your blue and white-collar workers, etc. The project and change team might be far away from them, literally and figuratively. That’s why it’s important to narrow the gap between the project team and users. Onboard change sponsors, change agents, key users, etc., who are closer to all your different departments and who are familiar with the local language, culture and habits.
4) A hyper-care organization is crucial
After the training is done, you need to support and coach the users. Set up a hyper-care organization during the hyper-care period and an interim support structure to support all impacted employees in a fast and consistent way. Inform all users upfront, so they know what to do and who to contact in case of questions or issues. When the awareness is present already, it is ideal to already explain the hyper-care organization and procedure at the end of the training. And repetition is key to success, so communicate this again before and right after the go-live.
5) Don’t stop after go-live
As already mentioned, a transformation journey can be compared to climbing a mountain. Reaching the top is a very important achievement. But it is not over yet, then. The “descent” is of equal importance. A lot of accidents happen during the descent when the adrenaline and the focus are a bit gone. Also, in a project-related context, the go-live is not the end. After go-live, you need to spot whether the new processes or tools are used properly and frequently: Have the users built habits that allow them to move from the consciously incompetent to the unconsciously competent? Follow-up and measure, plan refresher training, foresee Q&A or coaching sessions, etc. This is until the moment you can close the project with peace of mind and make it business as usual. At the same time, that’s the point when you have finished your transformation journey.
Applying these five tips can help you to start and run your transformation journey with success. Yet, there are many more out there who can make sure the change is embedded in your organization and sticks. Do you have any burning questions about this right now, or are you keen to find out more?
Get in touch to discuss best practices or your own transformation challenges.
Pieter is the director of transformation excellence at Bluecrux.