Many companies face a critical challenge today: their distribution operations can’t keep pace with ever-growing business and market demands. The customer is in the power position and distribution must deliver a superior experience across all touchpoints, all the time. Companies often lack distribution capacity and don’t know how best to increase it. Facilities, processes and systems may be outdated. Distribution leaders are frequently over-worked and under-resourced.
But turning your distribution operations into a focal point for growth and competitive advantage can be daunting. It typically requires big changes to operations. The stakes are high as these changes can be both complex and costly. The results will impact the business for many years. And failure is not an option.
Yet research studies state that only 38% of change efforts have a completely or mostly successful impact on business performance. And any delays in reaching desired performance can damage customer satisfaction, threaten growth and result in poor financial performance.
There can be many causes of underperformance, but the people impact on distribution success is often underestimated. Communication gaps can occur when requirements change frequently and there’s not enough time to keep everyone in sync. Stakeholders may have misaligned goals and lack agreement on priorities for change. And companies often lack experience with complex change projects and underestimate the effort needed to drive success.
What is the Solution?
What’s needed? Complex, large scale projects require a different approach. They must be viewed as holistic transformation efforts, not simply technical implementations or integration efforts. And they need to start with a custom design that meets your unique requirements. This means getting the all the stakeholders together and having tough discussions about the future of the business, like clarifying how new strategies, channels, product categories and geographies will impact distribution operations.
But there’s more than that. To make sure these projects fulfill the business expectations, we believe it’s best to have an experienced and objective outside resource to help the organization successfully navigate the change. To help objectively and formally assess the readiness gaps, understand the implications and develop a plan to strengthen readiness to close those gaps. Then, the readiness strengthening activities must be directly integrated throughout the entire project lifecycle, from design through implementation.
Readiness strengthening programs prepare the organization for success. These include updating the organization design and on-boarding the right talent to fulfill the new operating vision and design. Delivering custom tailored high performance leadership training, coupled with on-the-floor coaching ensures leaders have the skills required to succeed. A custom toolbox of checklists, guides and reports provides repeatability and sustainability. Finally, readiness testing, go-live support and post implementation performance testing ensure a flawless startup that fulfills the vision and business case of the change program.
Fortna Can Help
Fortna’s Operations Leadership Services ensure that your organization is prepared to successfully manage the people side of transformational change – so that you can make distribution a competitive advantage.
Assessment An objective assessment of the capabilities required to succeed in a transformational change project. Provides a scorecard that shows areas of strength and areas that need additional support.
Vision Alignment Transformation vision is clearly defined and cascaded into themes relevant and consumable at every level of the organization to inspire the people needed to make the project successful.
Readiness Strengthening Plan A plan to address gaps identified during the assessment that enables people along the way, so they will be successful when it’s time to go live.
Hiring and Developing Leaders Uses proven, best methods to organize leadership and identify candidate attributes that best predict success. Up-to-date job descriptions and targeted selection interview guides support getting the right leaders with the right qualifications in place.
Training and Coaching Customized training programs integrated into the overall project provide a clear connection to the primary levers of success.
Tools and Reporting Systems Create and document tools and reporting systems to support the best practices the facility was designed for.
Distribution is a focal point for competitive advantage
Bold transformation is needed to compete and win
Organizations lack resources and expertise to navigate big change
Transformation efforts underperform expectations
Risk of poor financial performance and loss of credibility