The Consultants Left, So My Project is Done. Right?
The Most Important Phase of Supply-Chain or Logistics-Related Projects is Often Skipped Entirely
By Robert Birdsall, Director SCMO2
It’s surprising to me how many organizations believe supply-chain or logistics-related projects are done just because the technical pieces are complete. But they could not be more wrong. A project is only complete when the benefits set out to be achieved by that project have been realized. Period.
The final phase can certainly be ongoing and extended, but it is by far the most critical and valuable stage for any project of this nature. And yet so often it is considered separate to the effort, if not completely overlooked as the business processes regain momentum.
Rather, this is the time to institutionalize the processes, procedures and proper usage of the tools you just created. It may not be the responsibility of your IT organization or consulting partner, but they can certainly help bridge a path from project implementation to total adoption.
As a business stakeholder and/or process owner, the responsibility ultimately falls on you to ensure you’re getting the greatest return for your investment. Understanding where you were (baseline), where you are (current performance) and where could be (the goal) is fundamental to this responsibility. This IS what benefits realization means, and it should be a part of all project plans, not just those involving IT.
Enlist and engage your project team, whether external consultants or your internal IT, to help you map out the final phase of your project so you can realize a maximum return.
- Determine the metrics that show where you are in achieving your benefits.
- Pull queries and reports to help you quantify your progress.
- Take corrective action when your results are not meeting expectations.
Whether improving the quality of your group’s products and services, meeting regulatory compliance or increasing productivity and efficiency, projects are more than the sum of their parts. They are also concluded the day your consultants leave and your IT organization goes back to their normal maintenance tasks.
Looking for more insights on why it’s so hard to realize the business benefits of supply chain planning? Read this great three-part blog series by SCMO2 Principal Tom Chason.