How to get leadership approval on supply chain tech

4 Minutes Read

Supply chain management has historically been an area of business that has not received as much attention as other business functions. However, with the current economic climate, many businesses are beginning to see the need for investing in their supply chains to maintain a competitive edge. As budgets are being cut across the board, getting leadership approval for new supply chain technology is key for supply chain leaders everywhere right now.

Use classic pitching techniques

One of the most important things to keep in mind when trying to get leadership approval for supply chain technology is that you are essentially making a sales pitch. That means using classic pitching techniques to sell your idea effectively. You can use some of the ideas found in this HubSpot post to help you hone your pitch if you’re not used to it.

In addition to that, you should have a clear and concise message that explains the value of the technology you are proposing. Keep in mind that most leaders have limited time, so it is vital to get to the point quickly and clearly. 

And remember to keep your pitch simple. Avoid using technical jargon. Leaders may not have a technical background and may not be familiar with the details of supply chain technology. That makes it your job to communicate the benefits of the technology in terms that are easy to understand. 

If you’re struggling to get out of the world of acronyms and industry vernacular, try out the De-jargonizer. While it’s technically used for science communication, we’ve run some of our own articles through it and it definitely still highlights words and phrases that make your information less accessible.

Align it to business goals

When making a pitch for supply chain technology, it is critical to align it to the overall business goals. Understanding the business strategy and making supply chain decisions based on business outcomes instead of activity will help to get leadership approval.

By aligning your proposal to wider business goals, you can make it clear how the technology will help the company beyond simply getting products from one place to another. For example, if the business goal is to reduce costs, you can demonstrate how the technology will help to achieve cost savings. Maybe that’s by finding you the best rates or maybe it’s by helping you find current areas of unnecessary overspend.

Alternatively, if one of the bigger business goals is to elevate customer experience, look for ways that your new technology can facilitate this. For example, making sure that the product they order is always delivered on time, affordably and reliably.

Mitigate overall impacts

When proposing new technology for the supply chain, it is vital to consider the overall impacts that it may have on the business. Leaders will be concerned about financial and business impacts, so it is important to demonstrate that the new technology will not have any major negative effects on the company.

One way to mitigate financial impacts is to demonstrate how the project can be low-cost or even save money overall. For example, the data and cost layer of the 7bridges platform provides a return on investment by using invoices to identify areas where you are paying more or more often than you should be.

Another way to mitigate impacts is to find projects that have a low impact on the internal resources needed to implement them. For example, implementing the 7bridges platform does not require any IT resources for the first layer, making it an easy technology to integrate into existing systems.

Finally, it is important to ensure that any new supply chain project will not negatively impact the running of the company or affect customers. When proposing new technology, it is essential to demonstrate how it will improve the overall supply chain without causing any negative impacts.

Demonstrate urgency

Demonstrating urgency is another key factor in getting leadership approval for supply chain technology. Leaders need to understand why the proposed technology needs to happen now rather than later.

One way to get leadership approval for a new supply chain technology project is to demonstrate the urgency of the situation. If you can show evidence for why this needs to happen now, then you have a better chance of getting your project signed off. Here are a few examples of things that might create urgency:

  • New regulations: If new regulations have come into effect that your company needs to comply with, then you can use this as evidence for why your project needs to be implemented.
  • Changes in the market: If your competitors are starting to implement new supply chain technology, then you can use this as evidence for why your company needs to do the same.
  • Changes in the business: If your company is going through significant changes such as a merger or acquisition, then this could create urgency to implement new supply chain technology.

Form alliances ahead of time

It can be very helpful to find people within the business who understand your project and agree on its necessity. These individuals can become valuable allies when you pitch your project to the leadership team. Ideally, you want to find people who are higher up in the company and are willing to have their name attached to the project. This will give your project more credibility and increase the chances of it being approved.

Time it wisely

Timing is everything when it comes to getting leadership approval for a new project. Here are a few things to consider when timing your pitch:
Don't ask right after all budgets have been allocated. If the leadership team has already allocated all the budget for the year, then it's unlikely that they will approve any new projects. 
Don't ask when the leadership team is in a bad mood. If the leadership team has just had a bad day or is dealing with other issues, then they might not be in the right mindset to consider your proposal.

Find a time when everyone has the time and mental space to consider your proposal appropriately. Look for a time when the leadership team is not overwhelmed with other priorities and can devote the necessary time to consider your proposal.

Supply chains are the next big competitive edge for businesses, and as budgets are cut everywhere, knowing how to get your project signed off by your leadership team is that much more critical. 

Use classic pitching techniques such as basic sales pitch ideas and simple storytelling techniques, keep it simple and concise, and align it with business goals. Mitigate the overall impacts, demonstrate urgency, form alliances ahead of time, and time it wisely. 

By following these guidelines and being prepared, you can increase the chances of getting leadership approval on supply chain tech. 

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