Business Insider: The importance of strategic planning for equipment and technology

(Photo: IvelinRadkov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
(Photo: IvelinRadkov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
(Photo: IvelinRadkov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
(Photo: IvelinRadkov/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

One of the greatest benefits of attending equipment trade shows, like the upcoming Equip Expo, is recognizing equipment and technology trends. However, recognizing trends is only the beginning. Adopting new equipment and technology often involves significant changes in our operational processes. You can make these changes much more seamlessly if you do them strategically, with thoughtful planning, good communication and accountability for implementation.

When companies fail to take these prudent steps, implementation often fails, not because there was anything wrong with the equipment or the technology, but because the implementation was not well planned.

We can all agree that resistance to change is, and always has been, a major stumbling block in organizations. Just because something new and shiny looks really awesome doesn’t mean that those who will have to learn to use it want to put in the extra effort. The status quo is always more attractive from this perspective. However, with the right foundation laid in advance, the implementation may be smooth and bring all the intended benefits.

Tips for seamless integration

Four strategies will help make your next equipment or technology implementation more seamless. The first strategy is to incorporate these decisions and investments into your overall strategic planning process. This level of strategic thinking helps avoid making quick decisions without much thought or overwhelming your team with too many changes.

The second strategy is to eliminate choices when implementing something new. If your people have a choice between the new way or the old, less productive option, they will probably opt for the old way because it’s more comfortable and easier. However, if that old option doesn’t exist, then the only other option is a new way — whether the person likes it or not. There may be a need for a short transition between the old and new, but after the transition period, you need to take the old option off the table.

How many times have you bought something new, and it didn’t get used on the job? Why didn’t the new tool, machine or application get used? Were your people not sufficiently trained? Or were they just more comfortable with the old way? This happens all the time. It’s a result of poor planning, communication and accountability.

The third strategy is to involve the users in incorporating the new equipment or technology into the company. Help them understand why you purchased this piece of equipment, what the goal is and the desired result. Have them work with you to understand how best to utilize this new equipment in your process and what an appropriate production rate should be for estimating. With this approach, your operators are now part of the strategic team, helping the company move forward with adoption. They’re motivated to do so because they are informed and included in the process. They see themselves as having an important role, which they do.

Understand your value

A final strategy is to embrace your position in the supply chain. If you are a contractor, it’s important to understand that you are an extension of the manufacturer’s R&D department. Even with the most extensive testing, it is not until a product hits the market and goes through the rigors of regular use that a manufacturer fully understands whether it hit the mark. Customer feedback is essential.

This is another benefit of attending Equip Expo. It’s an opportunity to meet manufacturer representatives and give them your feedback and ideas for improvement. In this way, your voice contributes to the greater success of the entire industry.

With these strategies in place, you will have greater success in incorporating new equipment and technology into your company.

Now go forth.

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