Want to know the single most important factor in getting a new TMS off the ground without a hitch?
Get everyone on board.
Of course, defining your objectives, mapping out timelines, assigning responsibility, scheduling tests, analysing performance, troubleshooting teething problems… all of these things are essential.
But the fact remains: if you have strong resistance from your team or cynicism from the top, no amount of planning or logistical know-how will stop you hitting road bumps along the way.
So – how do you get everyone pulling in the same direction?
The key is to show each person what’s in it for them.
Different stakeholders will have different priorities. While everyone is aiming (hopefully!) for better productivity, efficiency and profitability, the way this manifests will depend on their role, department and level of responsibility.
They will need reassurance that shifting to a TMS not only furthers the overarching goals of the company but will also, at a granular level, increase their value within the organisation, instead of diminishing it.
While to you, investing in a new TMS and the myriad benefits it brings might be a no-brainer, you have to be smart about how you sell the idea, and to whom.
Let’s start at the top.
First, there’s your CFO and/or CEO. As the ultimate decision makers, you need to make a solid business case to them as early on as you possibly can.
When it boils down to it, your CFO/CEO will want to know three things:
- How severe are the risks and costs incurred by your current system?
- Why would having a TMS will fix these issues?
- How quickly will they see results?
That means that you’ll need to demonstrate how your current spreadsheet-based processes are costing them time and money, through inefficiencies, human errors, backlogs, duplications and inconsistencies.
How these problems restrict the performance and flexibility of treasury, increasing the risk of late payments, cashflow issues and compliance breaches.
How a sprawling system makes it hard to track where documents and data are stored and opens you up to the threat of data leaks, hacks and theft.
How streamlining these systems, increasing cash visibility and improving accuracy of reporting will help you help them turn their investment, funding and M&A ambitions into a reality, fuelling growth while reducing risk.
And that by working with an experienced TMS vendor with a proven track record and excellent post-sales support, you will start seeing ROI in as little as two or three months.
Once you’ve been given the go-ahead from the powers that hold the purse strings, it’s time to turn your attention to the next all-important group: the team that use the tech.
There are certain words that, when uttered by the C-Suite, can strike terror in the hearts of employees. Words like “efficiency”, “cost-saving”, “restructuring” and “automation”.
If your team suspects that the TMS is a stealth manoeuvre to replace jobs or reduce their role, they will not want it to work out. And that’s a recipe for disaster.
Don’t just impose a TMS and tell them to start using it. Make them stakeholders in its success.
Involve your team in the procurement process as much as you can. Ask them what their pain points and frustrations are. Which tasks take up the most time, where efforts are being duplicated, where errors are being made. How they think they could be more productive.
Discuss the kind of strategic, revenue-generating, growth-enhancing projects they could be working on if they cut out time spent on admin and focused their efforts on analysis.
Then, as you approach vendors, look out for features that tackle these issues.
Relay the benefits back to your team, explaining how these perks will ease their workload and support them in the ways they’ve identified. How it will make it easier to train new recruits. How it will reduce the risk of error, or of individuals being blamed for mishaps.
Demonstrate that you have taken their comments on board and selected a TMS that helps them do their jobs better.
The more involved and invested they feel, the less resistant they’ll be to change and the faster the new TMS will be absorbed into daily working practices.
Getting people on board with a new TMS means focusing on the people, not the TMS.
Show them your aim is to further their goals. To maximise their value to the organisation. To strengthen their role. And crucially, how they can do all of these things with the right technology by their side.
Want in-depth, practical advice on rolling out a new TMS in your company? Click here to download your FREE eBook, How to Choose a TMS that Will Supercharge Your Growth.
Kevin Mitchell from Rochford Group covered a similar topic – TMS Implementations: 5 Steps to Ensure Success. Do it check it out if you are interested to read more.