Magazine article Supervisory Management

Making the New Technology Work

Magazine article Supervisory Management

Making the New Technology Work

Article excerpt

Making the New Technology Work

Well-managed technology has the potential to transform the quality of our work lives. The key phrase is "well-managed." Whether new technology improves the quality of our work lives and enables us to have more interesting jobs depends not only upon the "tekkies" developing it but upon the managers who oversee its implementation and use.

Some first steps

What can managers do in the face of new technology? The following are practical suggestions to help ease the problems and enable you to take some control of your destiny in the implementation of the technology.

Don't get blind-sided. Learn more about what technological advances are likely to affect your industry, company, and particular area of operation. Means of doing so could include: get to know some of the "tekkies" in your company; occasionally read some of the many popular publications regarding technology written for nontekkies; check out what vendors in your industry are providing; learn what your competition is doing; contribute information regarding current materials, equipment, and process; and seek opportunities (maybe through that tekkie friend) to provide information regarding future designs.

Keep your optimism and sense of humor. There will be "glitches." This doesn't mean you have remain cheerful in the face of poor planning or ineptitude. But it does mean you don't want to set an example of seizing upon one problem as proof as proof that implementation is no good. Your staff will take its cue from you.

Don't try to be all things to all people. Concentrate n learning the major aspects of the new equipment or materials and how to solve problems. Unless your workforce performs only one or two jobs, you will soon be suffering from overload if you try to learn the new technology plus everyone's job. Worse, you will become the backup for each employee.

Keep emergency numbers handy. Ask for and use phone numbers of people who are knowledgeable about the technology. People are usually happy to help.

Training considerations

Finally, as soon as the decision to implement new technology has been made, begin to work with the vendor or your company's liaison with the vendor so:

--Training is though through from the beginning of the project, not something grafted on after the implementation plan is completed.

--Provision is made to do follow-up training and to train new hires.

--Training materials are in terms the work group understand, not "vendorese."

--There is sufficient time built in for you and your staffers to assimilate the training before performance is expected.

--Quick reference guides are prepared so that your staff is not expected to memorize huge quantities of material. Guides at their work station will make the transition easier and better.

--Agreement can be reached on who will do the training.

Setting the tone

Possible trainers are the vendor, an outside training consultant, the company trainer, or you yourself. Regardless of who the actual trainer is, however, you play a pivotal role in the training. As supervisor, you are the one who:

--Sets the long-term commitment to implementation.

--Gives employees the big picture regrding the new process, materials, and/or procedures. …

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