August 2, 2021
7 Tips for Smooth WMS/Labor/TMS Project Communication
With more than 700 supply chain software projects under our belt since 2006, Open Sky Group has confirmed one prevailing truth: the oil that lubricates a smooth transformation project is effective communications. Here are seven communication points essential to ensuring a quality outcome:
The Party List: Be sure to include not only the people leading the project but also those performing the installation, those using the end product, and perhaps most important, your customers. From internal champions to third-party vendors to those directly and indirectly affected by the project, each stakeholder has a need to know.
Key Performance Indicators: As your plan comes together, wants, needs, desires, and concerns will bubble up. Codify these in the form of KPIs. Share this with your constituents early. Seek feedback. Then harden the list to clarify your goals. KPIs define what is expected, driving success through “go live,” into production.
Project Timeline: As you set your timeline and associated milestones, secure buy-in from all affected parties early. Be realistic. Expect delays and plan accordingly. Once your is timeline set, communicate it to all concerned. Missed timelines cost money. A well-communicated timeline will hold everyone accountable.
Worksite Prep: Don’t overlook your physical worksite’s readiness to absorb the transformation. Much coordination will be required to ensure that your warehouse and facility layout, racks, workflows, equipment, and other associated technology elements are all in place and ready to go when the program launches.
Related Integrations: Software implementations rarely occur in a void. Related systems, inside and outside the organization, will likely need to communicate with your new software. Plan by engaging cross-functional teams to identify any key data exchanges, reporting channels, system connects, etc. upfront, and be prepared.
Change Management: Many entrenched processes, often created in siloes, must fall before a new system takes root. To flourish after “go live,” ask early, “why are we doing it this way?” If something needs to change, engage the affected parties and help them solve it. Their opinions and ownership in the process will be vital to success.
Planned Marketing: Who better within your organization to coordinate the project communications than your marketing team? This is what they do. Any investment made in developing emails, cards, posters, slide decks, and other internal and external communications, pacing the project in progress, is money well spent.
Of course, once your project goes live, that’s no time to quit communicating. Open lines of communications beyond initial ramp-up, including daily scorecards, feedback forums, and documentation of new standards, policies, and procedures will help you get the most out of your technology investment.