Often software implementation plans or new warehouse management strategies come from orders on high. However, low-level employees recognizing the need for new solutions themselves are not unheard of.
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. Tech Target shared advice from industry experts that showed a lack of executive oversight and enthusiasm was a major factor that leads to a high rate of business software and strategy adoption failure - especially when trying to implement agile options.
Here are five best practices to help employees present new solutions in the best possible light:
1. Find Specific Problems
The first thing a worker needs to pitch a new solution for inventory management 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 currently wasted.
For example, an 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 enter information into a computer. The constant need to take a physical inventory 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 and improve accuracy.
Miscounts, redundant picking paths and data entry errors should all have results employees can measure and share with leaders.
2. Document Attainable Goals
Once employees define pain points, they must express how new ideas will solve them. It's important to never say things like "It will make the process faster." Instead, use specifics, such as a goal to increase the amount of orders prepared in a hour from x to y.
Finding the solution that delivers the results expected means pitch teams will have to do research. Becker's Hospital CFO suggested finding reports particular to the organization's industry. Workers who deal with medical supplies should investigate how mobile data collection solutions directly affected organizations that share their 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 tasks or focusing on different departments. Periods of change, however, may also be a great time to integrate streamlined warehouse performance that benefits the entire infrastructure. When decision-makers explore possibilities for company wide innovation, inventory workers have to be ready to speak up.
Employees should keep track of new technology developments. It's best not to approach managers with every new inventory data collection solution that comes to market. However, by watching all product releases with equal enthusiasm, employees will gain the insight needed to locate the options perfect for their particular operation.
4. Know What's Important to Leaders
Products like barcoding software and mobile enterprise solutions can offer many advantages. It's important, however, an appeal to executives starts with the benefits they value the most. The interest of an organization's leaders should reflect those of the brand, so employees should make appeals framed by 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 usually a best practice.
Showing exactly what finances look like before and after implementation should provide a convincing argument, but pitches usually require more than one meeting. The Harvard Business Review advised workers submitting ideas to executives to really listen to responses. Leaders that turn down initial pitches may communicate precisely what they look for in future attempts. Even when the suggestion is taken well, leaders will probably have a few apprehensions that implementation teams need to address to secure future buy-in.
5. Makes Pitches with Options
Employees want leaders to be excited about any idea brought to their attention. The goal is to present them with an opportunity rather than a burden. Workers suggesting a software purchase or system integration shouldn't ignore the possible costs and obstacles, but they also shouldn't make them inevitable.
Research should uncover the many possible solutions to pain points. While employees may have an idea they prefer, referencing other options during investment pitches highlights why one solution offers more benefits than disadvantages.
Workers should also provide executives with options for how involved they can be. Business leaders should be optimistic and hands on during any inventory management change, it's easier to get them invested if they feel they can choose how they want to take part.