Reflecting on Gillette's experience with the SAILS solution, Knabe reaffirms that the real work on an implementation begins only after the software has been deployed. "The ‘implementation' simply consists of installing the software on a local PC, which does not even need to be connected to the network or any other live systems," she says. "The challenging part of an implementation is not the technical integration. Rather, it is learning how to get value from it."
Sidebar: Four Steps to Gaining Value
Louise Knabe, solutions manager with the Global Warehousing and Transportation Group at Gillette, offers this advice when implementing a supply chain network design solution:
1. The first few projects take much more time than you would expect, so it is best not to buy a system in the middle of a major project that has a tight deadline.
2. Do a small project first to learn to use the software and to learn about the data collection and analysis process. Key learnings from a small project can help a large project that follows to be more successful.
3. To help the project be successful, it is important for employees from the business/region to lead, own and champion the project. The analysts who do the quantitative work should support the project leader, not be the project leader.
4. The real value of doing a quantitative analysis comes when you get results that surprise the company. To get the full value from the system and the analysis, the company needs to be open to counterintuitive solutions.