ROI calculators can provide hard numbers used to convince decision-makers.
Often software implementation plans or new warehouse management strategies come from executive requests. But occasionally employees also recognize the need for new solutions in the warehouse.
When the workers who spend their days moving products around a warehouse realize there are better options, it's important they make their case and convince higher-ups that a new method would be in everybody's best interest. According to an article by B2B marketer Tech Target, industry experts showed that showed that lack of executive oversight and enthusiasm was a major factor in business software and strategy adoption failure—especially when trying to implement Agile workflows.
That means winning the buy-in of management and leadership is critical to successfully applying a new solution for inventory management, starting with your boss.
Whether you are pitching a new solution to your boss or presenting to decision-makers, learn these five best practices to help you sell your idea with confidence:
1. Identify Specific Problems
The first thing you need is a believable reason to make a change. Money talks, so it might be best to approach decision-makers with hard data showing where current time, resources and finances are being wasted.
For example, one RFgen customer case study detailed how forklift operators working at an auto manufacturer warehouse had to perform manual counts with paper and pencils and then manually enter that information into a computer. The constant need to take physical inventories by hand meant the company wasted a lot of time, especially when the business leaders realized mobile data collection devices could eliminate steps in this process while also improving accuracy.
Miscounts, redundant picking paths and data entry errors are persuasive, measurable data points that can be shared with leaders.
2. Document Attainable Goals
Once pain points have been identified, now you must express how new ideas will solve them. Avoid making vague statements like, "It will make the process faster." Instead, be specific. Include an achievable goal, such as to increase the amount of orders prepared per hour from x to y.
Using hard data and metrics can help provide achievable goals and clearly-defined outcomes.
Finding the right solution that will deliver the expected results means pitch teams will have to do their research. Becker's Hospital CFO suggests finding reports specific to the organization's industry. Workers who deal with medical supplies should investigate how mobile data collection solutions directly affect organizations of similar size and other important factors.
3. Pick Your Moments
There are times when change is not very feasible. It may not be wise to suggest a new inventory solution when business leaders are preoccupied with other priorities or focusing on different departments. Periods of change, however, may be an ideal time to integrate new streamlined warehouse processes that benefit the entire infrastructure. When decision-makers explore possibilities for companywide innovation, inventory workers must be ready to make their voices heard.
Keep track of new technology developments. It's best not to approach managers with every new inventory data collection solution that comes to market. But by watching all product releases with equal enthusiasm, you will gain the insight you need to locate the options perfect for your operation.
4. Know What's Important to Leaders
Products like barcoding software and mobile enterprise solutions can offer many advantages. However, it's important to appeal to executives by highlighting the benefits they value the most. The interest of your organization's leaders should reflect those of the brand, so if try to make appeals framed as overall company success. Often leaders are concerned with the financial bottom line, so using an ROI calculator to compare savings and profits in hard numbers is an effective best practice.
While showing exactly what finances look like before and after implementation may provide a convincing argument, pitches usually require more than one meeting. In fact, the Harvard Business Review advises workers submitting ideas to executives to really listen to responses. Leaders that turn down an initial pitch may communicate precisely about what they look for in future attempts. Even when the suggestion is taken well, leaders will probably still have apprehensions that implementation teams need to address to secure future buy-in.
Use exact data to alleviate concerns of leaders and decision-makers and help secure their buy-in.
5. When Pitching, Provide Options
You want leaders to be excited about any idea you bring to their attention. The goal is to present them with an opportunity, not a burden. That means not ignoring the possible costs and obstacles. You also don’t want to provide only one option, either.
Do your research to uncover several possible solutions to existing pain points. While you may prefer one software or system integration idea, referencing other options during investment pitches highlights why one solution may offer more benefits than disadvantages.
Be sure to provide executives with options for how involved they can be. Business leaders should be optimistic and hands-on during any inventory management change, but it's easier to get them invested if they feel they have a choice in how they take part.