From Resistance to Resilience: Leadership Insights for Facilitating Technology Change Management
The shipping industry has moved past whether technology has value and can provide a positive ROI to companies—that’s been proven. There are now good, affordable logistics tools for almost every step of the supply chain. Of course, finding what works best for individual companies and implementing that solution is easier said than done. But, any company leader who operates a supply chain and is interested in remaining competitive in their field needs to take advantage of what shipping technology can offer.
The Hurdles to Technology Adoption
Cost justification (a.k.a. ROI) and resistance to change are two common hurdles leaders need to overcome in their journey to add tech (and its benefits) to a shipping operation. We’ve discussed ROI in previous posts, but this article will focus more on dealing with change management and the resistance that often accompanies implementing new technology from internal teams that may not be open to it.
The Current Challenges of Shipping Solved by Technology
ROI is part of every business decision, but there are other, less quantifiable benefits to technology that are a direct result of what’s happening in the freight marketplace. These dynamics and constraints are essential to understand when it comes to setting expectations and creating a plan for adding technology—especially if there could be resistance to the changes.
Changing Rates and Carrier Allegiances
Declining rates are the biggest story in freight right now and have steadily declined post-pandemic. This is important because companies should already be taking advantage of the opportunity to find quality carriers at lower costs.
What does this have to do with technology and change management? The problem for companies not employing shipping technology is they’re likely operating in a bubble and have no ‘feel’ for what market rates are right now. A typical workflow that includes modern shipping technology keeps users informed and offers options at current market rates. Many companies lacking technology are stuck working off old, higher rates likely buried in hardcopy printouts or old Excel files because no one knows any better.
Resistance companies may face changing how carriers are chosen can come from employees being loyal to certain trucking companies and transportation partners. Maybe it’s because a specific carrier has gotten them out of jams in the past. Or, if we’re honest, it could be because the carrier’s salesperson occasionally brings in lunch or tickets. Technology injects objectivity and more accountability into the decision-making process.
Clearly, this brings up some potentially difficult issues and is not an easy objection to deal with. But it is highly important to the company’s interests. At the same time, technology like Loadsmart’s ShipperGuide doesn’t mean employees lose access to their favorite carriers. Good technology just provides more options.
Fear of Change and Losing Control (or Their Job)
Companies are in a constant battle to do more with less. And much like the ROI of technology debate is settled, so is that the right solution will effectively automate routine tasks and communication while also eliminating a lot of paperwork from the logistics process. Technology improves shipping operations.
But this is another area that technology, and the changes it brings can meet resistance in an organization. The fact is some people like their jobs the way they are. The familiarity and routine of load planning and assigning carriers the way it’s always been done, for better or worse, is important to some employees. Companies need to recognize that despite concerns about the economy, hiring and employee retention can still be difficult. So, disruptive change can lead to turnover.
Companies that include employees in decisions about how and what technology is added can minimize discontent and frustration. And, of course, ensuring employees are given the necessary support and training on new systems is important to acceptance and full adoption.
The Customer Experience
Employee retention concerns aside, it should not be lost on anyone that, in the end, this is about what’s best for the customer. Rallying employees around this idea (if they are the right type of people you want to work at the company) can be very effective.
Customers expect logistics and supply chain technology that provides a better experience when working with you. For example, live track and trace that keeps customers informed and data that feeds into other connected systems are not nice-to-haves anymore. They are the minimum customers expect and what your company needs to offer to be a market leader.
Finding The Right Technology Solution to Turn Resistance into Resilience
ShipperGuide from Loadsmart is a complete shipping technology ideal for any company concerned about overcoming internal resistance to change. It makes change management less difficult and complicated than most organizational leaders think it has to be.
ShipperGuide’s features such as a modern and intuitive user interface, fast learning curve, centralized rates and information are all a complement to, not in conflict with, any company’s logistics process.