My father owns a company. This company is a manufacturing company. After having completed my studies (Unrelated to the subject of the company), I joined in an effort to help the company do better.

I have been constantly trying to automate the company and the processes. The people however reject and refuse the change. They refuse to work around protocols and rules because of efficiency reasons, and also because that is the way they are used to.

In the long term the use of different programs(order systems/ticket print system vs writing in paper and passing it around) will help improve efficiency and take the load of one person and distribute it to multiple.

How do I make my case heard? To them it seems that everything is fine and how it is supposed to run, but I know it is not

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    Have you presented a strong case for automation ? Have you given them some kind of presentation or flyer which makes it easy for a layperson to understand what is automation and how it improves the workers lives ? Have you addressed the obvious fears of job loss ? Have you figured out who are the key stakeholders who could support you to drive this change ? If the answer to most of these questions is no, then you probably have a lot of homework to do before you can change anything. – Erran Morad Nov 5 '16 at 22:48
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    If your father owns the company then you need to get him on board. – paparazzo Nov 5 '16 at 22:51
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    How long have you been there? – Kilisi Nov 5 '16 at 22:59
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    You do seem to assume that you know more about the business than the people who've worked there for years. Not the case. THEY know what their pain points are - find a single pain point, and solve it. Then move onto the next one, rinse and repeat. – PeteCon Nov 6 '16 at 2:31
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    Possible duplicate of How can I get co-workers to buy into some of my ideas? – gnat Nov 6 '16 at 16:04

Add up all the years experience these workers have, and compare it to yours. Because they've already done that.

If you really want to change things, go to the bottom. Work side-by-side with the people who know the job. Do the equivalent of listening and understanding before talking--show them you understand the job before you decide you know a better way. Make sure they see that you understand the pain points before you claim to fix them.

Disarm them by doing hard work. Then listen to their gripes. Then show them how you've found a solution, emphasizing those pain points. Viola--you've gone from spoiled brat son of the owner to empathetic manager who is trying to help.

Being son of the owner is a big black X against you. You need to show people that you don't deserve or get special treatment.

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    Trying to force changes without going through these steps may have added another big black X, but this is the best way to repair the damage. – Patricia Shanahan Nov 6 '16 at 5:32
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    I'd add to that that you will need to convince people that the changes won't lead to job losses otherwise they will resist you (unsurprisingly). You will have to try and sell it as increased efficiency means more growth, Christmas bonus or whatever. – matt helliwell Nov 6 '16 at 17:00

You go about it a different way, or just use your fathers authority.

Best practice is to introduce small automations which have an immediate and palpable affect on efficiency. This gains you respect and people will be more willing to listen to you. Also include changes which improve the workers environment in some way so the benefits are more personal to them (it's not their business, they have no 'real' stake in changing anything that doesn't affect their comfort).

You're pushing against inertia and job security fears, take it slow and make it meaningful to start with. You can step up gears later when you have proven yourself.

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I've been in a similar situation before (studied overseas, joined parent's company, tried to overhaul outdated practices). It's generally difficult to make changes to the incumbent company culture. After all, why change what already works? Expect uphill struggle.

A few strategies you could try:

1. Work with the leadership to start a change from the top

It's easier to change processes via a mandate from the top. Have you discussed with the leadership what their thoughts and concerns are with regards to this new system? Can you cite competitors or industry leaders taking advantage of this system?

2. Solve complaints about this new automated system

What were their complaints specifically about? Can you compromise or accommodate? Every workplace is different and you'll need to tailor the process to fit the existing company structure. It's possible that the system you are proposing in its current form has drawbacks that aren't being addressed.

3. Demonstrate real benefits

Try implementing this system on a smaller scale. If people can see tangible benefits, they'd naturally be more open to the idea.

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    Thanks anon. I also studied abroad and seen many different businesses. The people that make decisions don't directly disagree with me as in that my idea is bad. They think it is unrealistic. They blame the country and the system we are in and that we can't help or do anything that everything is chaos. – NinjaStars Nov 5 '16 at 23:46

You'll have to convince your father, who happens to be the owner of the company, and work through him.

You are only the company owner's son, and it is unclear to me how much authority you have. I don't know how long you have worked at your father's company and how much credibility you have accumulated with the staff. Does your staff know you from Adam?

You are unilaterally changing in a fundamental way long established rules, protocols and procedures without any buy-in from the staff and based nothing more than your as yet to be substantiated belief that the result will be a productivity boost. That's a recipe for resistance to change and turmoil.

If you want to be successful at implementing change, you'll need support from your dad in his capacity as top management and you'll need buy-in from the staff. At this point, you appear to have neither. Worse, you appear to have neither because you appear not to have sought either.

You'll get less resistance from the stake holders, if you lay out what's in it for them if you make the change.

  1. What's in it for the management - more profits, better quality control, adaptability to changing market conditions, labor savings?

  2. What's in it for the staff - more productivity resulting in higher salaries and more vacation time?

Most likely, the consequence of no incentives is no change.

You cannot achieve anything by yourself. You have to work with others and through others to achieve what you want. This means that you have to get in touch and stay in touch with your inner politician. If you do it right, you'll find that usually, the most important driver and biggest challenge in successfully implementing change is not technology but human factors.

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