If you’re in supply chain, fulfillment, transportation, or last-mile operations, the last months of the year are filled with nonstop activity. You and your team run a veritable marathon every hour of every day during this period — and often during other peaks of the year, too. While that activity level is required to support your customers and sustain your business, it leaves little room for strategizing and planning ahead.
The silver lining? Busy seasons that often stretch teams to the outer limits of their capabilities simultaneously highlight opportunities for improvement, enhancement, and growth. The challenge is cataloging ideas and observations that arise during peak season so that when the dust settles, you’ll have a sense of where to begin. For example, are issues in your warehouse management system slowing down your team? Is your last-mile operation struggling with rising costs and lower productivity as they juggle larger order volumes with a legacy route optimization system that hasn’t evolved with your business? In either case, it’s likely time for a change.
Before diving into a project, we recommend that you do some ground work to ensure your project’s success. Up front effort will allow you to accelerate your projects and pave the way for success, and it all begins with answering key questions about your organization’s priorities, decision-making processes, and appetite for change. Here’s a list of some of the key questions to consider:
- Will your planned investments in technology infrastructure enable you to achieve your future business goals?
If so, how quickly?
- Is there organizational alignment on investment priorities for the next 12-24 months?
- Do you have a sequencing strategy to rank projects by priority?
- Have you identified near-term opportunities that promise rapid paybacks?
If so, are the savings from those projects sufficient to enable you to take on other projects?
- Do you have a framework for assessing investment opportunities’ tangible impact on your business?
- Do you need support from internal partners, e.g., Finance or IT, to be successful?
- How are technology projects funded in your organization? Is it project-by-project or based on anticipated ROI? Or, does your organization have an iterative funding model, where projects clear gates to unlock additional funds?
- Which teams will be impacted?
- Do you have their support or participation?
- How many projects can your team manage in a year
- What is your organization’s appetite for change management?
This list is a running start, but should be customized to your organization. Additionally, the last one about change management may seem innocuous, but is pivotal for every organization. Implementing new systems will always present challenges and require broad-based support and buy-in, so understanding and anticipating the human dimension to projects is critical to their success. While there’s a lot to think about in the questions above, getting internal alignment will position you and your team to execute in the solution identification and selection process as well as help you run your business. And, of course, if next-generation routing and dispatching is on your wishlist for the year ahead, the Wise Systems team would be grateful for the opportunity to learn more about your business and understand if our solution can be the platform that helps you reach your goals.