Now that the leg work is completed and a clear picture of the organization’s needs is established, choosing the right technology is a matter of aligning priorities with capabilities and price. Executive sponsorship will play a key role at this stage. Ensuring the right alignment requires taking a look not only at what the potential solutions offers but which internal resources would be required and can be dedicated to the implementation process. The decision process should take into account:
- Projected improvement from the solution within a specific timeframe
- Changes in resource allocation to implement and manage the new solution
- Technology requirements: IT, software, hardware
- Time and budget requirements to deploy
- Personnel training
When it comes time to onboard suppliers, approach it one step at a time. Using internal experts and the advice of the implementation team, create a plan for the onboarding process, prioritizing each step along the way. Evaluating which resources—both internally and externally—are required for a successful implementation, organizations can determine which phases are either most pressing or most realistic to begin with, given the available resources.
In order to gain insight into potential road blocks, organizations might consider onboarding a small set of suppliers first, such as those that already share some of the same systems, to allow system and process integration on a more manageable scale.
One step at a time
Information is king and organizations looking to reap benefits from automation and realize return on investment (ROI) are wise to take an incremental approach to the process. Research informs decisions and ongoing data collection and reporting help ensure the right steps have been taken. The “right” level of automation is different for each organization and its unique set of circumstances but taking the time to understand where that sweet spot exits can have a major impact across the board—from operational efficiencies to the bottom line.
Brad Huff, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Supply Chain for TAKE Supply Chain, Austin, leads the strategy and overall growth of customer, partner and industry relationships through continuous product innovation and value delivery. He leverages more than 20 years of experience in enterprise supply chain solutions to oversee North American operations.