Technology is Only As Good as its Human Users
The rise of technology has been like a flood that raised everyone to higher levels (and drowned the people who didn't adapt). Most of the time, adding technology is the right move. Just make sure to convince everyone.
Technological advancements move in fits and spurts.
There are revolutions that seem obvious (think: the introduction of the Apple iPhone in 2007). Then there are huge moves forward that are quickly followed with warnings about its cataclysmic potential (think: artificial intelligence this spring). In between, there are a lot of slower, less obvious steps that play out on a personal level: first email address; first mobile phone; first smart phone; first GPS unit in your car; first-time using online banking.
The problem is that the implementation of the technology is not uniform. Some people are early adapters. Others drag their feet before eventually coming on board.
This can be a problem for a company that wants to implement technology to bolster their in-house operations.
In order to have a successful implementation, the change needs to be communicated correctly and efficiently on a human level. And, most importantly, the technology needs to be so simple to use that even the curmudgeons won't have cause for complaint and they will be forced to admit that they need to get out of their rut.
Here are two examples of how companies overcame this barrier:
National Theatre in Prague
Younger generations tend to have a more open mind and a clear understanding of what the potentials are for technology. Oftentimes, the set-in-their-ways older generations cause the problems.
Ing. Dagmar Růžičková, the Economics Manager within the Technical and Operational Administration for the National Theatre in Prague, had this problem when she led the effort to add technology to her centuries old cultural landmark.
“We didn't know what we wanted,” Růžičková said. “When you clean things up, you see the weak points. And when the digitalization starts you don't want to go back. The final versions (of the apps) look very different from what we thought they would.”
Several strategies help with change. Efficient in-house messaging, clear schedules, and communication of the reasons for the changes are important to grease the skids and make the implementation more smooth. Training, of course, is imperative. And a little bit of patience will go a long way.
Alfaveo.cz, a bespoke app development company, developed several solutions for the National Theatre. One was to replace a process that had been in place for decades, perhaps as far back as when Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart debuted his Don Giovanni in the Estates Theatre in 1787. Whenever a prop needed to be replaced, paperwork was passed around the organization for the chain of command to provide signatures. Now, with technology, the process could be updated.
“The development was professional and we appreciated the good advice and ideas that went beyond our assignment,” Růžičková said. “It helped us to further improve the developed applications and make them user-friendly.
“All innovations are not easy to implement. It is always necessary to take into account negative attitudes and people who do not want to learn something new. In our case, however, we were lucky. The applications are so user-friendly that there were only a few complaints.”
It is a heavy lift whenever you implement new technology. Take a Warehouse Management System. The warehouse is operating. Things are moving in and out. But, admittedly, there are some errors here and there. That costs money, causes delays, and creates extra work.
Yes, the implementation of a WMS would help, but . . . it would be a lot of work to reorganize everything. . . the learning curve would cost hours that we would have to pay for. . . there would surely be problems in the implementation.
All of those are valid points. Changing the way an instrument is played throws off the pitch, even if it was already out of tune. Costs are definitely incurred when implementing a new system. And, yes, accommodations must be made for learning-curve errors.
But just imagine the benefits!
Lay out the logical reasons for the changes and your personnel will be more prepared to accept them, even if they, literally, establish a new way to track the heartbeat of the warehouse.
Up-to-the-moment data will keep track of the ins and outs of every movement. There will be no more running out of stock. It would establish a system to track expiration dates for time-sensitive products. It would provide a guard against theft. And it would eliminate shrinkage, in general, and reduce (perhaps eliminate) vendor fraud and administrative error.
There are Always Luddites
Any time you make changes, you will have people who complain and who do not want to change the way that they do things. These are people who are going to dig their heels in and cause problems because of the disruption of their routine.
Just remember: the writing is on the wall. Technology is here to stay and, in many cases, disruption is a good thing.
One more argument. Remember those people who took pride in their resistance to getting a smart phone?
Now they have one.
And they are not likely to give it up.
Jetveo Platform and App Builder
The Jetveo Platform and App Builder uses the low-code programming model to create apps quickly and efficiently. It uses building blocks to handle the foundational elements, then customizes the app to specific business requirements with C# coding. It is applicable to many different types of apps, including ERPs, CRMs, process workflows, approval workflows, smart forms, and, yes, Warehouse Management.