7 tips to successfully go live with your new supply chain planning system

7 tips to successfully go live with your new supply chain planning system

Nathalie Johansson
Senior Supply Chain Application Consultant & Service Manager.

In today’s fast-paced business landscape, optimization is key, especially in supply chain. With the right system in place, companies can boost efficiency and ultimately drive greater success. Yet, rolling out a new supply chain planning system is a complex task – and pushing that button can feel quite daunting. To pave the way for success, here are 7 tips to help you go live with your new supply chain planning system.

The need for an advanced supply chain planning system

There are many reasons for implementing a new advanced supply chain planning system. While some companies want to reduce tied-up capital and improve agility, others want to optimize inventory levels and refine forecasting processes.

In an increasingly turbulent world, businesses are also looking to invest in more robust systems to mitigate risks and increase operational resilience. They want a flexible solution that can navigate the rapid changes of the global landscape and offer security.

There is also a growing demand for automation among businesses that rely on manual data entry and individual expertise. These businesses want to move away from a high-risk, people-dependent set-up to a more process-driven approach that enables growth and scalability without personnel dependency.

Are you one of those companies, eager to adopt a future-ready solution, yet cautious about ensuring a flawless launch on the scheduled date?

How to successfully go live with your new supply chain system

To pave the way for success, here are 7 tips to help you go live with your new supply chain planning system.

1. Define clear and measurable goals

When implementing a new supply chain planning system, it is crucial to establish goals that clearly articulate what you aim to achieve with it. These goals should be specific, quantifiable, and measurable so that you can track progress over time. They should address specific pain points or areas of improvement within the supply chain that are aligned with your organization’s strategic priorities. Setting clear goals also makes it easier to communicate the purpose and expected outcomes to your organization. Also establish a timeline to create a sense of urgency and accountability. This will help you focus efforts and ensure timely progress towards implementation milestones.

2. Get involved and take ownership already in the design phase

The design phase of a new supply chain planning system lays the foundation for its success in many ways. It is during this stage that key decisions are made regarding system architecture, functionality, and user experience. While it may seem tempting to leave the design solely in the hands of experts, getting involved early on is important for understanding how the new system works, ensuring it meets your organization’s needs, and taking part in the decision-making process. Even though you may have experts handling the technical aspects of the system design, it is essential for you to take ownership of the process. By doing so, you not only increase the likelihood of successful implementation but also foster a sense of buy-in among the users in your organization.

3. Make sure to get everyone on board – especially the sceptics

In the journey of implementing a new supply chain planning system, effective change management is essential for success. The impact of this transformation usually extends beyond the project team, often including finance, sales, sourcing, and procurement, either directly or indirectly. Identifying key people and engaging them is critical for project success, especially in addressing sceptics and dissenters. Winning over these hesitant voices can serve as a catalyst for internal project advocacy. Once convinced, you will often find that these people evolve into project ambassadors, championing its cause.

4. Devote enough time to thorough testing and validation

Ensure you allocate enough time for testing and validating your new supply chain planning system. This process will help identify and address potential issues before going live, facilitating a smoother transition. Address all potential challenges and uncertainties right from the start. Run both systems – your existing and the new one – simultaneously to carefully examine any differences. Compare and analyze the results to uncover underlying reasons for discrepancies and use feedback from pilot testing to make necessary adjustments and improvements. This proactive approach will establish a robust foundation and mitigate risks as you proceed with the implementation.

5. Don’t aim for perfection – stick to the 80/20 rule

While striving for excellence is important, it is essential to acknowledge that achieving absolute perfection is unrealistic. Understand that there will always be corner cases, exceptions, and unforeseen challenges. Embrace this reality and adopt the 80/20 rule: focus on addressing the most critical aspects that will have the greatest impact. Be prepared to address issues as they arise, using a proactive approach to correct any discrepancies. It is crucial to prioritize the optimization of systems for the majority rather than clinging to outdated ones. The effectiveness of any system should be measured by its ability to improve overall functionality for the majority. Striving for adequacy ensures steady progress while maintaining flexibility to address emerging challenges.

6. Time to push that button and go live with your new system

It is easy to fall into the safety net trap. However, after thorough testing and validation, it is crucial to recognize the pivotal moment: the decision to transition to the new supply chain planning system. Summon the courage to push that button and go live! While it may seem daunting, remember that after investing considerable time, money, and resources, proceeding otherwise would be a financial misstep. By initially keeping the old system in parallel, you will have a contingency plan, in case of any unforeseen issues.

7. Start with the most receptive market and let them lead by example

When rolling out a new supply chain planning system across multiple countries, begin with the market most receptive to change. By allowing them to lead by example and create an early success story, you instill motivation and interest in other markets to transition to the new system.  Start the deployment there and then gradually expand to the other markets. This is an effective strategy for promoting the new system internally across your global organization. This approach also acknowledges and empowers the individuals involved in adopting the new system, highlighting their achievements.

Here to support you throughout your supply chain journey

Are you ready to adopt a future-ready supply chain planning system and eager to ensure a flawless launch on your planned schedule? With a track record of over 1,000 successfully completed projects and a 30-year integration heritage, Optilon is a trusted partner in supply chain optimization. From technology selection to seamless implementation, integration, and ongoing support and insights, we are committed to accompanying you every step of the way on your supply chain journey.

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