Hank Ackerman, principal at Argano, advises how to make supply chain planning transformations successful.
Many companies ponder supply chain planning transformation but are unsure where to start. Ackerman says talent might be a good place. “For me, organization is probably the most important thing to get ahead of, and you're probably going to need to upgrade your talent. You're probably going to need some people who are really willing to make the change and make the jump to new processes and a new way of doing things. So, get that organization in place before you start your transformation.”
And then what? “Second of all, is the data. You know that you're going to have some data problems. How big of a problem is the question. Third, is there going to be a lot of change? How big of an impact is it going to be on the rest of the organization?” Moreover, Ackerman says, you need to know what other stakeholders need buy-in before you launch your initiative.
Processes may need to be upgraded before you attempt to implement new technology. “As somebody said, you don't want to download your Spotify onto a cassette tape,” Ackerman says. “So you need to upgrade your processes, and that has to be thought about ahead of time.”
He warns that some organizations get too ambitious. “I think the concept of ‘crawl, walk, run’ is really important in these types of changes,” he says. Companies need to be patient with the pace of change. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
Ackerman says such transformations are not easy, and many fail for any number of reasons. At the same time, there are degrees of success. By his estimate — “If I tell you the brutal, honest truth” — fewer than 30% are completely successful.
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