Supply chain transformation requires a safe, methodical approach that has top-down leadership support and equally balances business needs with technology imperatives. Here are five steps that will help your organization’s supply chain transformation.
1. Define a purpose and strategy to manage change
Define a clear purpose and strategy to better manage change in the organization. Conducting ad hoc pilots without a strategy and focusing solely on cutting costs and reducing headcount are recipes for failure. Reduced costs and freed-up capacity are benefits of automation tools, but realizing those benefits through a strategic purpose is key. The real value is the way in which technologies work on top of the existing infrastructure, allowing established companies to become more agile, increasing flexibility and adaptability within the organization, and creating a platform for change.
2. Lead with business imperatives while integrating with technology
Lead with business imperatives even as you are integrating the right technical experience. Business models need to be challenged to drive transformation and value. The examples of stranded “bots” or failed programs because an organization developed a technology-driven approach without including functional and industry experience are too numerous to count. A strong combination of the two is key to driving value. Together, you need to identify when to first standardize and harmonize a process versus automating it as is. You also need to have a strategy that identifies the role automation plays. Is it a short-term solution until a next-generation technology can provide a solution? Am I trying to plug the gaps in the process left after implementation of a new system? Or, am I looking for a fully formed long-term solution?
3. Foster culture that emphasizes an agile, speedy, fail-fast, iterative approach
Create a fail-fast culture where employees are applauded for taking chances without betting the bank. This does not mean hiring a scrum master and using a modified approach, nor does it mean driving transformation by cutting costs. Instead, employees need to be encouraged to act fast to deliver results and learn from the successes and failures.
4. Create scalability and sustainability through governance and an operating model
Creating a scalable and sustainable platform for growth is about more than technology. To be successful, you’ll need a platform and operating model that support the agile environment you’ve created. Automation is a business capability that requires coordination across organizational lines and necessitates a balance of business enablement with oversight. Focus on a framework for implementing an operating model that promotes value and mitigates the risk at this scale.
5. Secure top-down leadership support and look to partners with the right talent for help
Transformation needs support from the top; executive sponsorship is critical. The speed at which technology is changing makes transformation ultra-challenging. A strong partner is imperative to co-innovate and support the overall journey. Technology is disrupting too fast for most companies to build and retain the necessary talent.