People’s natural tendency is to resist change. It’s true in our personal lives as well as in work. That’s why, if a company announces a major change in the processes, this can cause stress and anxiety for staff.
This level of anxiety is counterproductive for those implementing a new program. As a manufacturer switching to a Configure, Price, Quote software (CPQ) system, anticipate this reaction and prepare for a successful launch of the system.
Here are the best practices you can use when rolling out CPQ software to your staff (and your customers):
Explain the Need for Change to CPQ
The first thing you need to do is explain the need for the change to your employees. Alleviate all their fears (or as many as possible). With CPQ software, there are many advantages in its implementation including the ease of use. Emphasizing these positive new aspects will help you get buy-in from your staff. Focus on the following areas:
Speed — The main benefit of CPQ software is it takes a process which could take days and reduces it to a few hours. Instead of having to confer with engineers about a customizable order, the specifications can be taken, and the quote generated in a fraction of the time.
Training — Training on the new software may take a little time, but keep in mind how much time will be saved once it is implemented. In the past, a sales associate had to work on the floor learning all of the ins-and-outs of production so they could know how to answer every possible question about customization. Now, they only need to be trained on the software. Most of the customization questions can be built in. Therefore, training time is significantly reduced.
Increased Sales — As the process of generating a quote becomes streamlined, the opportunity for more sales increases. First, quotes can move more quickly to the production line speeding up the process to allow for more orders to be taken. But this also means the sales staff will have more opportunities to upsell items when customers place an order.
Error Reduction — A huge advantage that Configure, Price, Quote software gives your staff is the reduction in errors when customizing products. The software can generate a 2D or even a 3D model of the product. Not only is this a great selling point, it allows the customer to review the model and make approval before starting production.
Competitiveness — Employees will appreciate the need to stay competitive in today’s climate. In one month in 2019, the U.S. lost over 2000 manufacturing jobs. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers have to do what they can to stand out from the crowd. One way to do this is with customization.
The next best practice in the launch should be addressing the concerns of your staff and customers. This can be done in a few ways to ensure buy-in from these stakeholders:
Open Meetings — Have an open meeting with all departments to address their concerns. Listen to everyone’s opinions and keep a running list of potential problems with the changeover. These employees are the ones who will be working with this software every day. They can probably foresee more issues which may arise than even the software developers might. By handling these issues up front, you can make the transition much smoother.
Transition Team — Part of the buy-in process from your staff is including them in all the steps. This includes having representatives from every department on the transition team—sales staff, production engineers, and the production line employees should all have a voice along with management.
Customer Notification — Inform your customers of the new changes to your system. Whether they have ordered from you for years or are only a one-time customer, notifying them is still important. IT can generate excitement about your product and it also helps them understand your new process and how it will impact them. The idea of adding customization options also may entice former customers back to try the new system.
Right from the Start, Communicate What Benefits Lay Ahead with CPQ
The launch of a Configure, Price, Quote software system is a huge change. But it’s also one that will have many positive impacts for years to come. Getting support and buy-in from your staff and customers is a huge piece of the puzzle for a successful launch.