Embracing Technology is Driving Fleet Solutions Forward
The world recently watched eagerly as Elon Musk’s team at SpaceX launched a 230-foot-tall Falcon Heavy into space. The most powerful US rocket since the 1970s, the Falcon Heavy launch was not without particular fanfare as it included Musk’s 2008 Tesla Roadster, representing how the rocket could one day be carrying people into space. Clearly, the enthusiasm around this particular launch shows how willing people around the world are to embrace technology as positive force for the future. Advances in technology are driving the way we live our lives and the more accustomed we become, the more willing we are to try new things that could make the day to day easier in work and in life. This is particularly true in the trucking industry where working tends to become life on the road. With robust tools like fleet cards, virtual payroll and other digital fleet solutions, the industry is evolving and looking to tech for answers never before considered.
While computers and the internet started the movement, it may very well be the evolution of hand held devices and smart phones are even more responsible for opening up a whole new world of possibilities for us all, not to mention, long haul truck drivers and fleet managers. Early adoption of the tools that technology brings means efficiencies and ease in the way we handle business both internally and externally. Flexible fleet solutions that enable business to be more productive and profitable are on the rise, and it is critical that owners and operators alike embrace these digital solutions.
Matt Reinhart breaks down the best ways to improve employee adoption of new technology and it is worth it for all of us to take note.
1. Involve your End-user in the Purchase Process
Explain the reasons for change and involve key end-users every step of the way, beginning with the product selection. Actively solicit input from those who will be using the new product. Find out what their current processes are and what could make their jobs easier.
Getting user input on which product to purchase ensures business needs are being met and gives the added benefit of reduced user resistance. Buy-in happens naturally when people feel that their opinions have been taken into consideration.
A software purchase made without consulting end-users can lead to the discovery that the application does not offer what they really need to perform their duties. Including your staff in the selection process as well as the implementation planning will help alleviate the fear of change as well as some of the resistance to it.
2. Choose and Leverage your Internal Champions
Once you have made a decision on software, select several staff members to be leaders of the new implementation. These staffers do not have to be your IT gurus. Find the influencers among your teams and work with them to get others on board. Once you have the team fully invested and passionate about the new fleet management software, they get other employees excited and motivated.
3. Involve End Users Early in the Implementation Planning Process
The software implementation process should consist of several phases: project strategy and analysis/planning, design and build, on-site training and go-live and support. Beginning with project strategy and analysis, a critical step is having end-users and your internal champions discuss the company’s goals, user’s specific needs, training and system expectations. Ensure that everyone who wants to be involved is involved, whether they are members of upper management, clerical staff or field personnel. Once expectations have been established and a road map developed between the internal implementation team and your software provider there should be a growing sense of ownership of this project by the team. This “sweat equity” can pay dividends far beyond the time spent planning.
Thorough system training is key to success. This is why collaborating early in the process with end-users to construct a solid, customized training and implementation plan lays the groundwork for a successful project.
4. Encourage Continuous Feedback
Perceived value is tied to successful adoption, so be specific with your employees about the advantages of your new system. By seeking continuous feedback with the early adopters, product champions and everyone involved, you can ascertain from the early stages whether or not your goals and benefits are starting to materialize.
It is important to know if things are not going as intended or processes are not working. It is necessary to identify problems early on and address them quickly. For example, if your new fleet management software is supposed to integrate with your GPS system, but data isn’t flowing properly into the right buckets, make sure you address this with your software provider. Do not establish a “workaround” in the implementation process. Stick to the project road map and keep working toward your strategic goals. Adjustments should be made through employee feedback not because of software roadblocks. Your new software is meant to make your employees' lives easier. Champion the cause and you will win over converts more quickly.
5. Make Use of Available Resources for Continued Education and Training
Make use of the ongoing support and additional resources offered by your software provider. Most software providers have resources for new customers including different types of tutorials, webinars, white papers and product manuals that can be very useful to your staff after the on-site implementation has ended. Software evolves, employees come and go, so it is important to consistently process new information from your provider and to onboard new employees properly.
In a world of tight budgets and schedules, every dollar and minute counts toward giving the fleet an edge, which is why fleet solutions have become the norm. A powerful fleet card solution that responds to a changing dynamic will help to empower employees while growing the business. Introducing fleet solutions through software can be a stressful challenge as well, but by following the 5 strategies above your fleet will evolve, and your company will thrive.