Any time you introduce new manufacturing software or a different tactic for workflow improvement, you're asking employees to not only learn a new way of working, but also to stick with it despite the frustrations that often come with change.
In the course of a technology implementation, you're likely to see a few people digging in their heels and resisting the change. In order to earn a good return on your technology investments, you need a solid plan for getting users on board - and encouraging them during rough patches.
Here are three ways to encourage your end users as they try to learn new manufacturing software or get accustomed to a new workflow:
1) Provide appropriate education and training: People learn best in different ways. While webinars or manuals are enough for some, others need an in-person instructor. If you're launching a new manufacturing ERP system, for instance, make sure to accommodate the learning styles of your core implementation team to ensure that they're learning the whole ERP system. That way, when the implementation consultants leave, your team knows how any changes made later are likely to impact the larger system.
2) Earn your users' trust: If users trust the decision process and that management has selected a good tool that's going to move the company forward, they're likely to get on board. On the other hand, if the users don't trust the management or the decision, they probably aren't going to give it their all. Transparent communication and getting a representative group of users involved in the planning stages is a good tactic for building this trust.
3) Offer support and acknowledge extra effort: When you're trying to increase user adoption, offering personal support makes a big difference. And that support may come in a variety of ways, from listening to a frustrated employee's feedback to offering rewards and acknowledgement for the extra work that an implementation often involves. When someone has worked really hard to reach a milestone in the project, you might want to give them a day off that doesn't come out of their vacation time, for example.
In addition to effective planning, change management plays an important role in keeping implementation projects on track. Change management practices include a variety of tactics for heading off problems and resolving different situations, and emphasize the importance of empowering employees. And that empowerment is essential to getting your end users on board.
When introducing new processes and tools, such as manufacturing software, you need employees to bear with you during the change process. After all, you need their patience, and they need encouragement. By making education, trust and support priorities, you're fostering the goodwill that plays a key role in successful user adoption and getting a great ROI on technology investments and other large initiatives.