Friday, 14 October 2016 13:59

The importance of proper communication when implementing change

At Baillie, we strive to provide the best overall customer experience possible.  These days, as the world and our industry adapts to the ever increasing use of technology, this can be very challenging.  But we know we must continue to embrace the use of technology to remain competitive and improve the overall hardwood lumber purchasing experiences for our customers.

fall foliage change

But make no doubt about it, change in business can be hard.  Many times it is essential if you are looking to remain or become a world class operation. We recently completed a business process change that reminded us of the effort required to implement change effectively. 

Earlier this month, we implemented a new export documentation system for all of our international lumber and log shipments.  The project was initiated to improve the way we serve our customers by enabling us to be more accurate, timely and consistent with the paperwork we provide.

During this change process we had to overcome many of the classic hurdles companies encounter when implementing change. One of the hurdles we were most focused on overcoming was effective and ongoing communication.  From prior experiences, we know effective communication leads to more successful projects and business results.  Not only was the aspect of communication important internally, but communication externally to our customers and other important constituencies was going to be critical to our success.

In her article, “Ten Tips for Communicating Change”, Sarah Fenson lists two points we have proven to be very important, 1- Remember that there's no one perfect way to communicate change, and 2- Share information with employees as soon as possible.

For our initiative, internal communication was ongoing and external communication to our customers, suppliers and partners started about 120 days prior to implementation.  We leveraged as many communication vehicles as possible including newsletters, email, social media posts, website banners and face to face meetings.

Looking back, by elevating the importance of communication within the project we feel be benefited greatly.  Our employees felt connection, informed, and a sense of purpose for the project. Any negative impact to production was mitigated during conversion, and customers were prepared for the change prior to their first encounter of the new document package helping with overall satisfaction.

Change is hard but necessary if you are going to be a world class organization.  What other aspects of change management do you find helpful in your business.  Let us know. We welcome the chance to discuss.

Tony Cimorelli
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Other Resources:

Change Is Hard: 8 Great Ways to Make Sure You're Constantly Evolving  By Janice Tomich

4 Ways In Which Technology Is Transforming Business By Greg Satell

Baillie Lumber: New Export Shipping Document Samples





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