Keys to Effective Automation Implementation
“When I look at how much we’ve spent on computers over the past few years and how little we’ve gotten from it all in the way of bottom line savings, it makes me sick to my stomach.”
If you’re an office furniture dealer, chances are you’ve probably heard that from at least one of your peers. You may even have said it yourself.
But you know what? It really doesn’t have to be that way.
At Avanto, we’ve worked with dealers of all types, sizes and alignments to help them maximize the return on their technology investment. And even though no two dealers are the same and each one brings very different needs and priorities, there are some common principles, regardless of the platform they’re using, that can help deploy business technology effectively in a way that does yield the kind of “bang for your buck” that dealers are looking for.
From Day One, one of the most important internal resources for any dealer technology effort will be a project champion.
The sooner you put in place a point person to manage implementation, the better. That person will own the project and ultimately end up taking the credit—or blame—for its outcome.
And while it may sound obvious, it’s critical to have someone in that role who has bought into its goals and objectives and who really wants it to succeed.
All too often, the initial reaction among employees to talk of any automation project is fear, fueled by a near-instant conviction that their jobs are on the line and it’s time to start looking elsewhere.
Sometimes, of course, that fear is justified but in our experience, those instances tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule.
Regardless of the project’s goals, though, the more you communicate those goals to employees who will be running the project and make a deliberate effort to remove any fear or job security concerns from the people you’ll be working with, the more successful your implementation will be.
It’s also a good idea, in the initial stages of the project, to avoid having too large a planning team. Once implementation is underway, you will certainly want to involve everybody, but during the development stage, it is really important to work only with a small group.
Too many people working on the project not only creates more opportunity for fear, but also risks lapsing into management by committee, potentially slowing down decision making and creating needless animosity and tension.
Also critical for success is a solid understanding of the industry today and how it operates, accompanied by realistic expectations of what can and cannot be achieved through automation.
This may come as a shock but our industry today is not perfect!
Clean data would be ideal but the hard truth is that in the office furniture industry, it rarely exists. Ignore that fact and aim to build a system that requires totally clean data and you will end up having to do more work than you were doing before. Not a good idea!
The good news though, is that help is at hand!
At Avanto, you will find a team with close to 100 years of industry experience ready to partner with you to streamline operations and bring new productivity and efficiency to key functions throughout your dealership.
We work with many different industries, helping them navigate the digital transformation process. Reach out to us and see how Avanto can save your company time and money.