The 3 Phases of Change Management – Implementing Distribution Software

Did you know that 70% of change programs fail to achieve their goals? And that this is largely due to employee resistance and lack of management support? Statistically speaking, the odds are not great when it comes to implementing organizational change. And with failure rates that high, you may be asking yourself if the change is even worth it. But when it comes to implementing new distribution software at your wholesale distribution business, the answer is yes. With the right software vendor and technology partner and by taking the time to better understand how to implement change projects, the risk is virtually eliminated.  Not to mention that the benefits you will gain from replacing introductory or legacy systems are worth it. With the right distribution software, your business will be able to save money and reduce manual processes such as entering orders from eCommerce sites into your accounting software, increase cash flow with the help of automated accounts receivable routines, save time and increase customer satisfaction with better inventory management enabling you to know what product is available in real-time, and decrease shipping errors as a result of implementing warehouse management features.

No organizational change project will ever be perfect, and every implementation will have its fair share of hiccups. However, with the help of Blue Link’s team of experts and with the right preparation and understanding of organizational change, your business will be equipped to succeed with any change project – including software implementation.

This blog post examines one important aspect of change management – the 3 phases of change.

Phase One: Endings

"When one door closes another door opens, but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us." - Alexander Graham Bell

All changes begin with an ending. This means letting go of something stable, known and dependable. This stage includes the decision to replace an existing software solution. Even if employees can intellectually accept a change, and understand the need to replace existing systems, they may still emotionally resist it. It is important to recognize that change can trigger an emotional response and that grief is a natural component to change. Employees need adequate time to process the decision to move to a more robust solution and time to grieve existing solutions and moving away from the status quo.

Phase Two: Neutral Zone/Transitions

During phase two is where the actual search and implementation process occurs. A transition is an internal, process-based situation that allows employees to come to terms with a change and a new situation. During this time, employees may exhibit specific reactions to change based on their personalities and it may require extra support from leaders. Having a plan in place, adhering to timelines, involving employees throughout the process are all critical for getting employees onboard with the change.

Phase Three: Beginnings

The beginnings phase is all about providing employees with a clear vision of what the future looks like based on the changes made. A good leadership team will constantly be thinking of beginnings and change, but if employees are not involved in the process early enough, this change will stall. Looking towards new opportunities, outlining a specific strategy and discussing improvements to the company based on new ERP system features and technology will keep employees engaged and motivate them to make the most from the change.