Taking the Plunge with New Tech
Guest Blog: Wesley Manson talks about how implementing new technology, whilst always challenging, does not have to be too frightening a thought.
I’ve made a few posts recently covering my experience with adopting new technology in the contract catering space, relating to my use of the Checkit system. Like many organisations, we worried about the potential cost, complexity or disruption which would be involved in implementing such a system.
The purpose of this article is to set out a summary of my experience in working with the vendor to get the system set up end-to-end. What I hope the reader will take away is that implementing new technology, whilst always challenging, does not have to be too frightening a thought. It is important to work with the vendor to agree an implementation plan to set out commonly understood responsibilities, requirements and timelines.
The Checkit team visited our site and took the time to explain the product, answer questions and provide demonstrations. We discussed the specific requirements for our site and how they could tailor the system to fit our business. From a technical perspective, they carried out a site survey to establish the scale of the system required and provide financial quotations.
Checkit worked with us to formulate an implementation plan and timeline.
Technical implementation details were finalised to ensure the system integrated seamlessly into our site. We provided Checkit with relevant operations management processes and documentation to populate the system. They were able to digitise our existing documentation to allow for simple handover from our existing processes, although if we did not have our own systems already in place they were also able to offer a general set of documentation based on industry best practice .
Prior to installation, Checkit provided detailed training to our operational and management teams, covering areas such as data input, management information, dashboards and configuring alarms. We then proceed with technical installation, working with the Checkit team of engineers. They carried out robust testing of the system once installed to ensure successful implementation.
In the immediate weeks after installation, there was opportunity for further customisation of the system. The approach we took was to run the Checkit system in tandem with our previous paper-based system for a period of 4-6 weeks after installation. This allowed for full embedding of the Checkit system in a systematic and controlled manner.
We agreed that comprehensive ongoing support would be provided by Checkit, including:
- Technical support of the Checkit equipment to ensure the system remains operational
- Ongoing training of operational and management staff
- Ongoing development and customisation of management information and dashboards
- Quarterly business reviews to review performance, discuss any changing requirements and update on new system features.
Overall, embracing new technology like this is doable when you work closely with suppliers and vendors. They can provide the technical expertise whilst you provide the business and operational context. If these two elements of domain knowledge can be brought together, a successful implementation becomes relatively easy.