Leading Change to Smooth Way for Data Standardization - Modern Distribution Management

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Leading Change to Smooth Way for Data Standardization

Moving an industry toward such a big change will be a challenge for company leaders: Here are some tips learned at the IDEA e-Biz Forum this week.

I am attending the IDEA e-Biz Forum this week in Tuscon, AZ. I will be sharing highlights in the next week on the MDM Blog of my experiences here.

This is my first time at the annual IDEA event (learn more about IDEA, which works with electrical manufacturers and distributors in standardizing data, here), and one big thing that sticks out is that the synchronization and standardization of data in the supply chain is a massive undertaking requiring support from all levels in an organization and with that organization’s supply partners. IDEA is not the only organization working to do this – other associations and organizations are working within their distribution sectors to find solutions to making data transfer and usage more efficient and valuable.

But with such a massive undertaking comes change. A lot of change.

Which is why it is good that IDEA brought in a speaker – Ray Bender, who is a former vice president and research director for Gartner Group NA, a technology-focused consulting firm – who focused on precisely that: change.

A few snippets from his presentation that I found compelling:

  • Group behavior is the most difficult thing to change. Knowledge is the easiest. In IDEA’s (and similar initiative’s) case, they are trying to change two groups’ behaviors: that of an individual organization’s, and those of that organization’s suppliers.
  • There will always be resistance to change, no matter the initiative. Bender said: "It’s not uncommon for 10% not to accept the change. And if that’s the case, you need to get them out of the way." People resist for three reasons: they are not willing, not able, or not knowing.
  • The "only way" to make change happen is to listen to those it will affect. Allow venting. Set a time to "moan and groan," and then move on.
  • Don’t just spring a big change on the organization. Bender said: "First lay the groundwork for change."
  • Help employees to take ownership of change by giving them some decisions and flexibility in the change process.
  • Most of the time, companies don’t create enough of a sense of urgency, which is required for a major change. Read more about this in this MDM article, A Sense of Urgency.
  • And finally, communicate. "Most people underestimate the level of communication needed," Bender said.


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