Successful Supply Chain Solution Implementations Require Planning

A recent Industry Week article on Implementing Supply Chain Management Solutions made a good point — the biggest factor in the collapse of supply chain management (SCM) implementations is … change — the type of change inflicted on an organization with little regard for how greatly it will impact the people and processes that serve as the engine of the business.

Statistics say that somewhere between 70% and 85% of software implementations, including those in SCM, are at least partial failures. And I believe those statistics – even though it should be the case that between 70% and 85% should be smashing successes because we’re not in the software dark ages anymore. However, as the article points out, the use of [SCM] systems brings [about] a new way of doing business, and with that, monumental change in how people do their jobs and, unfortunately, even though most project implementation teams do a great job of communicating the benefits that will be accompanied by the new system, they often do a poor job of communicating the impacts of the new system on the daily life of the impacted users.

It’s one thing to talk about new processes, it’s another thing to convey that understanding, and another thing still to convince people that they want to change the way they go about their daily routine — and have them do it successfully. In other words, you need to do good change management.

Good change management requires proper planning, which includes not only what needs to be done, but how it needs to get done, who needs to do it, and what they need to know to do it — and do it right. Then, as the article points out, you need to develop good training plans that will lessen the impact of change and ensure that your colleagues are ready to enter the brave new world you’re leading them into. After all, that’s where the savings are, and where you all need to be.