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Supply Chain Technology Integration: Making the New Technology & Legacy Systems’ Marriage Last

The decision to bring new technology into your existing warehouse operation should not be taken lightly. Modern technology enables a whole new level of collaboration, efficiency and better operations. However, simply wiping out your existing systems, which can represent millions of dollars in past investments, is not the answer. Your organization should invest in and manage supply chain technology integration, making the most out of your existing technology and new investments these steps.

1. Do More Than Talk about Collaboration; Work Together on Supply Chain Technology Integration

Collaboration is among the top buzzwords in supply chain technology integration, but what does it actually mean? Everyone in your supply chain, ranging from C-level executives to suppliers need to understand why working together is essential to successful integration. In addition, everyone should “adopt a collaborative mindset,” says Eric Pfeiffer of Supply Chain Management Review. In other words, no one should be excluded, regardless of internal and external rank, in working together to make the most of new supply chain technology integration activities. However, the ability to share information relies on the creation of an effective, collaborative infrastructure.

2. Create the Infrastructure Necessary for Collaboration

Collaboration sounds great, but it lacks value if different parties in the supply chain cannot relay information, pain points and ideas for improving integration proceedings. Information should be shared regularly, and if plans change, changes should be disseminated to all parties, including individual laborers or workers. This helps supply chains plan accordingly to overcome challenges, overages and shortages. Moreover, information sharing should be kept as simple as possible.

For example, automated information sharing utilizing technologies shaping what many call “Industry 4.0”, explains Strategy&PwC, can leverage automated identification and data capture (AIDC) technologies within the Internet of Things (IoT). While modern supply chain technology systems allow for broad customization, keep your eye on the prize, not the bells and whistles of something out of reach.

3. Leave Nothing in Scheduling to Chance, and Leverage the Power of Effective Change Management

Siloed departments tend to assume integration will “work.” However, scheduling is one of the most important parts of effective supply chain technology integration. Every activity should have a set implementation schedule, including milestones and expected outcomes. Also, the schedule should be adaptable, using “go/no go” indicators to identify problems that undermine the success and efficiency of existing technology and new technology. In other words, your organization should create a change management team, and all individuals in your company should have the ability to provide feedback to the team. This will help team members from feeling blindsided when new technology goes live.

4. Continue Change Management and Refinement Well After Initial Implementation

Another frequent error in the new tech-legacy system marriage comes when companies assume integration stops at implementation. Change management and integration activity should continue well after initial implementation. Supply chain technology integration allows companies to isolate problems in existing and new systems during testing, which boosts supply chain visibility. But if the implementation schedule has a go-live date close to peak seasons or periods, the go-live date should be pushed back until after the peak period, asserts Leslie Hansen Harps of Inbound Logistics.

Push New Investment in Warehousing Tech to Its Limits With Successful Supply Chain Technology Integration

More than anything else, a gradual rollout of new system implementation and integration with existing legacy systems will allow your workforce to understand how new technology pairs with existing technology, and it will help prevent resentment and hostility among staff members. Successful supply chain technology integration can push the boundaries of traditional warehousing tech through new technology integrations, but the process must be managed successfully. In fact, Veridian can help manage this process before, during and after your planned implementation schedule too, not unlike working on a marriage well after saying your vows. Contact Veridian online to learn more.