How to get employees on board with new tools and technologies
If you want people across your organisation to follow new processes – like using a new technology – you must consider their needs.
Regardless of whether the change is to comply with policy, set new internal standards, or make everyone’s lives easier, user adoption is vital to the uptake and ultimate success.
For example, let’s look at implementing an e-procurement system. In order to get everyone using the system, it is critical to build relevance to the daily work lives of its users into the processes supported by the system, and to demonstrate how it will truly make a difference to these employees.
With this in mind, businesses must be able to understand and overcome the most common barriers in the adoption of any new tool, which include:
· Failure to communicate the value of the system – Employees who don’t understand why they have to follow a process or use an e-procurement system, or how they add value to the process, typically find ways to circumvent it.
· Making it inconvenient to use the system – If your workforce is on the go, they will need a system they can access remotely, or they will find a way around the system altogether.
· Delivering poor results to the employee – If the user receives poor quality products, costly products, the wrong products, or delivery of those products too late to be useful, the e-procurement system loses credibility.
· Creating system interaction that is complex or confusing – If the system doesn’t speak the user’s language, requires them to understand complex procurement practices, or doesn’t present the information they need, they will give up and become more and more resistant to change.
· Excluding key participants in creating new processes – Building systems and processes around employees, without their input, is a recipe for disaster and will guarantee an uphill struggle for on-boarding.
These barriers to collaboration and success exist regardless of the tool or process in question. To overcome traditional procurement management challenges, businesses must make the process as relevant as possible to a person’s role, department, category of spend, and industry – this approach makes sense of e-procurement for the users. Instead of trying to force people into a mould with a system that caters to procurement or finance departments, businesses need to understand the nuances of each user and deliver a system that is easiest to use in their natural course of work.
No matter what the processes, relevance and uptake go hand in hand with ROI. Key considerations for implementing new technologies need to include the fact that today’s users expect technology to deliver convenience in ways that feel personal – think about Apple products, Uber, Amazon Prime, Netflix and others that have soared to the top of their industries because they cater to their users. Enterprise software systems like e-procurement solutions should be no different. With a rising workforce of millennials, companies need to rethink the tools they provide to employees.
In addition, workflows should be customisable and simple to use with obvious efficiency – relevant workflows not only include all of the appropriate people in the process, but also remove users, steps, and tools that are unnecessary. This also ensures stability, so that processes are consistent, regardless of turnover in leadership roles.
The number one key to success will always be making it as relevant as possible to the people that use it. Ultimately without employee advocacy, any new technology can be a lost investment. The only way to guarantee success is to ensure that the value of the system is clear to the users and that they understand how to reap the value in their daily work lives.
Hannu Kilpeläinen is Product Marketing Manager at Basware
Follow @SupplyChainD on Twitter.
EU and US agree end to Airbus-Boeing supply chain tariffs
The EU and US have agreed to resolve a 17-year dispute over aircraft subsidies, suspending tariffs on billions of dollars' worth of goods that have plagued procurement leaders on both sides of the Atlantic.
Under an agreement reached by European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis and US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Tuesday, the tariffs will be halted for a period of at least five years.
It will bring an end to punitive and disruptive levies on supply chains that have little to do with the argument, which became embroiled in the trade battle. Businesses on both sides of the dispute have been hit with more than $3.3bn in duties since they were first imposed by the US in October 2019, according the EC.
The US imposed charges on goods upto $7.5bn in response to a World Trade Organisation ruling that judged the EU’s support of Airbus, its biggest aircraft manufacturer, unlawful. A year later in November 2020, the EU hit back. The WTO found the US had violated trade rules in its favourable treatment of Boeing, and was hit with EU duties worth $4bn.
In all the tariffs affected $11.5bn worth of goods, including French cheese, Scotch whisky, aircraft and machinery in Europe, and sugarcane products, handbags and tobacco in America. Procurement leaders on both sides of the fence were forced to wrestle with tariffs of 15% on aircraft and components, and 25% on non-aircraft related products.
Boeing-Airbus dispute by the numbers
- The dispute began in 2004
- Tariffs suspended for 5 years
- $11.5bn worth of goods affected by tariffs
- $3.3bn in duties paid by businesses to date
- 15% levy on aircraft and 25% on non-aircraft goods suspended
Both sides welcome end to tariffs
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen branded the truce a “major step” in ending what is the longest running dispute in WTO history. It began in 2004.
“I am happy to see that after intensive work between the European Commission and the US administration, our transatlantic partnership is on its way to reaching cruising speed. This shows the new spirit of cooperation between the EU and the US and that we can solve the other issues to our mutual benefit,” she added.
Both aircraft manufacturers have welcomed the news. Airbus said in a statement that it will hopefully bring to an end the “lose-lose tariffs” that are affecting industries already facing “many challenges”. Boeing added that it will “fully support the U.S. Government’s efforts to ensure that the principles in this understanding are respected”.
The US aerospace firm added: "The understanding reached today commits the EU to addressing launch aid, and leaves in place the necessary rules to ensure that the EU and United States live up to that commitment, without requiring further WTO action."
This week’s decision expands upon a short-term tariff truce announced in March this year. The EC says it will work closely with the US to try and further resolve the dispute, establishing a Working Group on Large Civil Aircraft led by each side’s trade minister.
Airbus last month signalled to suppliers that post-pandemic recovery was on the horizon, telling them to scale up to meet a return to pre-COVID manufacturing levels. “The aviation sector is beginning to recover from the COVID-19 crisis,” said Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury, adding that suppliers should prepare for a period of intensive production “when market conditions call for it.”