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Adopting Supply Chain Technology: How to Overcome the Obstacles

Mar 2021

There are innovations in supply chain technology available to growing grocers that can simplify the procurement process. So why hasn’t every independent retailer already adopted this technology?

There are a few reasons grocers may be wary of adopting supply chain technology to simplify your business — from cultural barriers to financial issues to experience-based obstacles. We’re going to help you overcome the barriers keeping you from embracing and implementing the technology you need to cut costs and grow your customer base.

Cultural Barriers

Sometimes the reason grocers would rather stick with the status quo of manual workflows is simple – change is scary. That status quo is comfortable, has been working for you so far, and you know how it works. New technology changes your routine which sounds uncomfortable.   Thus the cultural barrier to supply chain technology adoption.

How can you get your team and yourself comfortable with the idea of change? You have to methodically change the culture. One way to do that is by using the Kubler-Ross Model. Start by addressing how the status quo isn’t working anymore due to factors beyond anyone’s control. Being able to identify and deal with the emotional drivers keeping your team from embracing change is your first step towards harnessing new technology.

Financial Issues

Another barrier that keeps growing grocers from adopting technology is the cost. Many times technology is seen as a cost to be managed instead of a benefit worth investing in. While investing in technology does have upfront costs, it’s the return on investment is that you need to focus on.

But first, let’s address the cost of not implementing supply chain technology solutions. For example, iTradeNetwork found on average, every purchase order created manually costs you $58? This is just the average processing cost, and annually it adds up to more than $2.6M per year. Through supply chain technology, like iTradeOrder, you can reduce that cost by 50% annually.

That cost of inactivity versus the savings procurement process technology offers is enough to create buy-in among your organization to start the process of implementing a new, more efficient digitized system.

Concern Over Losing Your Personal Touch 

The idea that technology can impact the personal connection you have established with customers is a big concern. The thought is that technology will somehow replace the face-to-face relationship that is unique to independent retailers like you.

The truth is that supply chain technology can actually improve your connection to customers. How? Procurement process solutions like iTradeOrder automatically take care of all the repetitive tasks that keep you glued to the back office. The time you save by implementing order management solutions can then be spent out front interacting with customers.

Plus, your customers depend on grocers like you to always provide the products they need, especially in our current climate. In order to adapt to changing customer preferences, you have to invest in technology that allows you to manage orders and suppliers every step of the way to ensure you have the items customers need when they need it.

Fear of Technology

If you’re not a data scientist, the idea of innovative technology can be overwhelming. But here’s the thing: supply chain technology doesn’t require you to understand the science behind how it works. The goal of a digitized solution is to make your life easier, not harder.

Supply chain technology is specifically designed to save you time and money, so its interface has to be easy for anyone to use.

Is there an educational element to adopting technology? Yes. That is required with any change. Will some workflows need to be adjusted? Yes, just like with any other new process at an organization. But what’s different is solutions like iTradeOrder provide support before, during, and after the implementation process, so you are never left on your own.

The best way to overcome your fear of technology? See the product in action. Contact us today to see how iTradeOrder works.

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