Top tips for increasing user adoption in digital supply chains

4 Minutes Read

We’ve all heard that supply chain digitalisation and transformation need to be the focus now. But it’s not always as simple as deciding what tech you want to bring in and making it happen. 

As with all digital transformation projects, user adoption is one of the biggest factors in success or failure. Since supply chain transformation doesn’t involve bringing the whole company along the journey, it’s much more important that everyone involved gets on board.


What is a digital supply chain?

When we say digital supply chain, what do we mean? Well, we really mean smarter supply chains. Ones that use specialised software and AI to make your life easier. A smarter supply chain should be adaptable, data-driven, and resilient. And all of that comes through making more of your supply chain happen digitally.


Why is supply chain digitalisation important?

Moving toward smarter supply chains through digitalisation is a key part of resilience. Between the constant disruption of the past few years and the increasingly complex regulatory landscape, smarter supply chains have become more necessity than luxury. There aren’t enough hours in the day for you and your team to tackle everything you need to and still have time to respond well in emergencies.

Smarter supply chains also give you and your supply chain team the ability to really drive strategy. Rather than having to behave reactively to the wider business, smarter supply chains can be proactive by anticipating changes and deciding how to avoid or mitigate them. All based on data without taking up too much time.

And beyond that, they’re a competitive advantage. By making it so your supply chain doesn’t get ruffled when the world gets turbulent, you’re making your business that much more trustworthy and appealing to your customers. Where we’ve seen huge changes in the way companies market and sell and produce in the past, now all the power is in how they operate. 

Read more: The Supply Chain Manager’s guide to the recession


How do I get my team to adopt the digital supply chain?

Transforming your supply chain can be a huge endeavour. Because of the risk factors involved in changing anything in a supply chain, the idea of changing everything gets pretty scary pretty quick. But you don’t have to do it all at once. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. 

On top of the usual pressure around change, you might also find that your team aren’t as excited in, invested in or even willing to try the new tools you bring on board for them. These adoption issues can happen for lots of different reasons, but barriers usually fall into one of three categories:

  • Cultural barriers
  • Data barriers
  • Roadmap barriers

Learn more: [VIDEO] The future of technology adoption in the supply chain


Share the strategy

Once you have a strategy for change ready, share it with your team. Even if it needs to change over time. People may seem resistant to change itself, but it’s more frequently a fear of the unknown paired with not understanding why the change is needed. And, sometimes, it’s just the shock of too much change at once.

So lay out the transformation strategy for them. Make sure they know what’s coming and give them a view of the big picture. What will your business look like when these changes are implemented? 

Once you’ve done that, break it down into smaller pieces. That way your team understand the bigger picture, but it doesn’t become overwhelming. Doing this can help you clear up both cultural and roadmap barriers.

Change ambassadors

There are people in your team who are more excited by tech than others. You know this. They know this. And you probably have a few in mind while you’re reading this. 

So, as part of rolling out a new system for your team, elect them as Change Ambassadors

Get your early adopters using the platform or tool you have brought on. Give them early access to become familiar with it. And let them be the go-to experts. Your less change-loving team members will appreciate having a friendly face for asking questions, making them more receptive to new ways of working. 

This is especially helpful if you have teams across multiple regions. Regional Change Ambassadors can help tailor the benefits of your new tools and systems to the challenges that their local teams are facing. 

Sell the benefits

When you’re taking your teams through the strategy and the steps you’ll be taking to get there, make sure you sell them the benefits. Not to the company or the industry or, in cases of sustainability initiatives, the planet. Sell the benefits to them as individuals. How will it make their job easier? What will they have time for? What do they no longer have to do or worry about? 

Live demos

Along with the Change Ambassadors, doing a live demo of the new system you’re implementing can make a big difference. Taking your team on a guided tour of any new technology can help boost their engagement with it. It gives them an opportunity to see it in action and understand how it works. 

Live demos are also a great way to really hone the next tip because you’ll almost definitely get questions.

Encourage curiosity

Create a culture of curiosity around new projects. By nature, humans are curious creatures and we love to ask questions and learn new things. But we can sometimes create cultures where asking questions is discouraged whether we mean to or not. So consciously encourage questions and experiments and discourage calling any question ‘stupid.’ 

This also means embedding a tolerance to criticism into your culture. Especially for anyone who is leading the transformation charge. It will be important that they are able to hear critiques of the plan or the technology and can offer ways to make it work.


So you need to keep the team aware of the strategy, elect Change Ambassadors, sell the benefits of it, provide live demonstrations of the tech and encourage questionsions and feedback. No matter how resistant to change your team is, using these tips should help you bring them along your digital supply chain journey.

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