Successful farming operations have to change with the times, and that means embracing new technology that will help drive productivity and profitability. While this is relatively straightforward on owner-operator farms, it becomes more challenging the larger an enterprise gets.
How do you get everyone pulling in the same direction, to realise the benefits of new technology? Five steps that ensure a smooth digital transition are:
- Do your research
- Develop a roll-out plan
- Bring staff on board
- Get the necessary training
- Implement and evaluate
Do your research
Whatever technology you’re bringing onto your farm, whether it’s a farm management software or a walk-over weighing system, it’s important to find one that meets the needs of your operation. Make sure the one you choose backs its technology with customer support. What sort of training do they offer? Will they do on-farm training or offer remote workshops? One crucial thing to consider is the after-sales support they offer. You don’t want to invest in new technology without realising its value, because of unforeseen issues six months down the track.
Develop a roll-out plan
When will you implement the technology? If it offers instant dividends, the answer might be right away. If it requires serious infrastructure, you may pick a suitable break in the calendar and strategically plan the roll-out. Do you need to go “all-in”, or can changes be integrated over time? Whatever you decide, set key dates to work towards. Also, consider who needs to be familiar with the new technology. Will it be put in the hands of one person? It’s advised that multiple stakeholders are well-versed in the technology to ensure no information is lost.
Bring staff on board
Change can be threatening to workers. You need to show how the technology you are adopting can benefit them (rather than make them obsolete). It might mean they develop skills that will advance their career. It can motivate them by reducing time on tedious jobs, allowing more time for work they find more satisfying. The more you support and include your staff in the change, the more likely the technology will be widely embraced.
Get the necessary training
If you just throw new technology at your employees and walk away, expect people to struggle. Depending on the technology, training may involve external operators coming to your farm, training webinars, or a staff member with knowledge of the product leading their colleagues. Make sure anyone who needs to use the technology has a chance to get familiar with it and can raise any questions or concerns. Their insights will help ensure a successful implementation.
Implement and evaluate
Now it’s a matter of getting your new tech up and running. Even if workers don’t have to be hands-on with the new technology, it’s good to have them involved. They will be more invested and have a basis of knowledge if they are to use it down the track. Once the new technology is integrated into your operations, continue to evaluate how your staff are using it to ensure you are getting all the productivity gains possible. Some technology providers may deliver insights into adoption rates or other data that can guide your implementation efforts.
We have successfully brought thousands of farms onto the AgriWebb platform. To learn how AgriWebb benefits every member of the livestock production team, see our enterprise features and benefits here.