6 Steps to Success When Implementing Print MIS
Implementing major new software, such as a Print MIS, within an environment where people already feel stretched on a day-to-day basis can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Will employees adapt and learn to use it? Will it actually do what it’s supposed to do, or will it end up being more costly in terms of time and productivity in the long run? To combat these potential issues, it is important that preparation and communication occur before decisions are made.
Resistance to change is a natural human instinct, but one that can quickly derail the most well-meaning and promising project. If a team isn’t on board, the chances of failure are high. It is important to encourage everyone to participate and be openly accountable throughout the process. By following these steps, you can help solidify the team, and guide them through the process of reevaluating the way jobs run through your shop.
1. The Vision
Define and articulate the vision of what is trying to be achieved for the business, beginning with an explanation of why the changes are necessary. Provide specific examples, and keep the conversation going. Focus on the strategy, desired outcomes, understanding the bigger picture, and the reasons for the changes they are going to be asked to make.
Analyze current processes at every step throughout your workflow. This is the time to utilize the team’s knowledge of their positions, showing them that their involvement is key to success. Sit the team down and work through typical workflows together, coming up with suggestions of how things could be done better.
Create clear and measurable objectives. Think about your workflow and the types of jobs you run. How fast do those jobs turn around? How many touches does a typical job take? What does this mean for the costs of production? Are there any types of jobs running at a loss? What kind of benchmarks should be used to quantify improvements? What kind of timeline is appropriate?
4. Project Leader
Appoint a project leader to not only drive implementation of the software, but also the change in peoples’ habits and actions. This isn’t a technology role, but a business role, so make sure they have a broad understanding of the entire operation. This person should be a natural leader, since they will need to convince others that this is the right thing for everyone. They need to be able to clearly communicate strategy, listen to others, and inspire them to be part of the process.
Be proactive throughout the implementation process. Set clear deadlines, and make sure everyone involved has a set of learning and implementation tasks they are assigned to perform. Run weekly project meetings with the project leader and team to ensure deadlines are reached.
6. The Time is Now
Don’t wait for 100% perfection before going live with the new system. Business can be conducted with a less than perfect arrangement. Wrinkles will still need to be ironed out, and other things will only come up once the software is working in a real-life environment. This is normal, and should be built into the planning, expectations, and timelines.
Implementing something as disruptive as a new MIS system across an entire shop is not to be taken lightly, but with your team on board from the beginning, and with a clear set of actionable goals to achieve, it should become a whole lot easier.