Whether you are installing print shop management software for the first time or switching to a different Print MIS, the initiative will change your day-to-day operations. And while some employees adapt quickly to changes in the workplace, other employees don’t. To make the transitions to new print-shop management software go as smoothly as possible, consider these tips:

Anticipate why some employees might feel threatened by the adoption of more automated processes. How will your new system for estimating jobs, managing orders, and tracking job data differ from the methods your employees currently use?

Good print shop management software should streamline the way job data flows throughout all or your departments and eliminate the redundant entry of job data during each step of the process. Employees who are comfortable with basic estimating and customer-service tasks might feel insecure about the future of their jobs. Some employees might be wary of the need to track how long it takes to perform all of the tasks associated with each print job. No one likes to think they are constantly being scrutinized.

If employees have set up their own systems of organizing work within their departments, don’t trivialize or undervalue those efforts. Thank them for being so efficient and encourage them to actively participate in the implementation of the new company-wide system.

Explain why the new print business management software is needed. In basic, jargon-free language, describe how it fits with the company’s culture and your long-term vision of the business.

Employees are less likely to resist change if they can see how it can help the company grow and create new opportunities for them to do to meaningful work. Emphasize that the change will require collaboration and a genuine team effort.

Ask employees to help identify workflow bottlenecks that print shop management software could help solve. What types of tasks do they find tedious and repetitive? What type of work would your current employees prefer to spend more time doing if they could make some of the repetitive tasks more automated?

Listen to feedback and questions from all of your employees. Once your employees know that changes are in the works, each individual will wonder “How will these changes affect me?”

Give each employee a chance to voice their individual concerns and address them one by one.

Some concerns will be valid and might require some additional research. Other employee fears might be based on misperceptions (e.g, increased automation always leads to layoffs).

Clarify how each employee’s work might change if they could spend less time estimating jobs or doing repetitive paperwork. For example, some employees might gain time to expand their technical, sales, or marketing skills. Other employees might like to research and test different types of printed products or services your shop could offer. Some employees might jump at the chance to help your customers develop and maintain web-to-print services.

Recruit enthusiastic employees in each department to help you explain and lead the changes. Get key employees involved in assessing different print-shop management programs. Ask them to help you identify some of specific ways it could help employees in their department be more effective. Employees who are involved in the day-to-day work are likely to have insights into efficiencies that you might not have considered.

Request ongoing feedback after the new Print MIS program is up and running. Identify glitches in the software and opportunities for improvement. Have one employee keep track of all of the suggested improvements. If you use an easy-to-customize program such as Ordant, you may be able to make some of the improvements yourself. But if there are new features and capabilities you would like to see in the program, you may need to communicate them to the software vendor. Your software vendor would probably prefer to get all of the suggested improvements from one contact person at your company.

Every print shop has a different mix of employees and workplace culture. So there is no one-size-fits-all method for managing change. But most experts emphasize the importance of clear, two-way communications before, during, and after the implementation of the new print-shop management software.

If you are ready to adopt print business management software (or to upgrade to a newer system), check out Ordant software. Our cloud-based print estimating, order management, proof approval, and customer relationship management systems are super easy to use. When your employees see Ordant’s clean, simple interface, they will realize this software can be a big improvement over systems that look cluttered and intimidating. For a demonstration, visit. www.ordant.com