Congratulations! You have decided to become EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) compliant or add an additional EDI transaction in your organization!
This undertaking will certainly improve and optimize your organization’s supply chain management. In order to make sure EDI is implemented, with everyone on board, a good communication plan is required, to facilitate the change and solidify your ROI (Return on Investment). There are so many books out there about Change Management (I have a few favorites that I have listed at the end) but in a nutshell, you need to inform, engage, influence, inspire and involve everyone in the process as we previously discussed in 5 steps to breaking the barriers of change.
How to communicate the EDI implementation throughout the organization in 8 basic steps
Designing your communication plan for your EDI implementation is just like planning for any other communication campaign; your strategy should include the following:
1. Clear goals. What are the goals that are meant to be achieved with your EDI implementation? As a side note, I recommend that your goals be SMART!
2. Identify your stakeholders. Who will this change affect? Who will benefit from this change? Define all the various stakeholders, from the most affected to the least. This will help you with the following steps.
3. Message. Reaching the maximum audience is a key factor to the success of any communication campaign. In order to reach as many people as possible, you must adapt your message to those receiving it. To do this successfully, identify the key messages that address your goals and rewrite them in different ways that will speak to different departments and different stakeholders who have different challenges and concerns.
4. Media / Activities. What media will you use to make sure you reach the maximum audience and is able to adapt your message to the audience you are trying to reach? Will you create a Facebook group, send e-mails, plan meetings, luncheons, or create videos? You may want to survey the stakeholders and see what media channels they are most inclined to engage with. No matter what media channels you are using, you must always refer back to the comments, as often as possible, so that you can address all the concerns, as soon as they arise!
5. Resources. You must find out who your early adopters are and who has leadership qualities or the ‘likeable’ factor, amongst your stakeholders, to help you with this campaign. Identify who they are and use them as ambassadors to help you reach the organization’s goals faster!
6.Timeline. Create a timeline for each communication and respect your deadlines! (At least try to as much as possible!)
7. Evaluation. Evaluate how people are responding to your communication campaign. Do people understand what needs to be achieved? Have you communicated clearly enough? Often enough? Seek feedback!
8. Improvements. What seems to be working, what isn’t? What should you do more frequently? With the help of your ambassadors, meet frequently to determine methods that could improve your communication strategy. This will help to get more stakeholders onboard and maximize your results.
By communicating your goals, you are informing all the stakeholders and, therefore, have a better chance to get them involved. By choosing media channels that are appropriate for your target audience, you can encourage feedback, comments, and a voice, for your stakeholders to feel involved in the process. Think carefully about your messages and make sure that your stakeholders can identify with and be inspired to follow you in this endeavour.
In conclusion, plans are seldom executed exactly as planned on paper! However, outlining a plan and following a predefined process will certainly help you to achieve better results, than just going with flow!
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Sophie Barbara Desilets
Here are some Change Management books that I appreciated!