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Importance of change management when implementing a SC Control Tower

Shippers are using Supply Chain Control Towers to orchestrate and improve their supply chain. Implementation projects of SC Control Towers require, among other things, changes in the field of organization and working methods. People are crucial to the success of these changes. Projects often focus on the technical side rather than the people side of the transition from the current state to the future state. Also, responsibilities for driving these changes are often not clear between shippers and solution providers, impacting project planning and outcome. For these reasons, a change management approach and capabilities focused on the people side of change are needed and responsibilities need to be clarified.

Change impact SC Control Towers

A Supply Chain Control Tower (SCCT) is a central hub with the required technology, organization, people and processes to provide enhanced visibility and decision-making support for orchestration and improvement of the supply chain. A SCCT set-up enables standardisation and harmonisation of processes and systems and supports the collaboration of SC partners and internal teams to manage and improve the supply chain. The SCCT activities might also be outsourced to a logistic service provider (4PL).

The centralisation, standardisation and possible outsourcing of activities may have impact on management and teams involved in supply chain management, material planning, procurement, customer service, logistics, customs, finance and/or IT. People working in these teams can be affected by changes in roles, reporting structure, location, way of working and sometimes even job continuity.

Changes in network design, provider management, processes and way of working will also have impact on customers and supply chain partners such as suppliers, carriers, and warehouse providers. People who work for these organisations may experience changes in the way of working. Some supply chain partners may even gain or lose business due to changes in supply chain design.

Importance of change management

People are crucial for the success of making these changes. When change management is lacking, people might become resistant. The implementation project may be delayed, costs may be higher and/or the outcome not be as desired. When operational, the SC Control Tower organisation and other teams in the shippers’ organisation may not perform as expected and/or be less productive. And, last but not least, the cooperation with customers and SC partners might also be negatively impacted.

In general, the supply chain KPIs related to quality, agility, costs and working capital may not show the expected improvement but a (temporary) decrease in performance.

Change management approach

Project management often focuses on the technical side rather than the people side of the transition from the current to the future state. Change management is about preparing, equipping and supporting people through the change journey they go through, so that they and the organisation are successful. Staff will accept changes in the way they work more quickly, individuals will perform better and more employees will show buy-in and use the new solution.

This is typically done by preparing, managing and reinforcing the changes on an organizational/project level. And, guiding individuals through a certain change to ensure that they embrace and adopt the change at an individual level. Methodologies such as PROSCI/ADKAR are used including tools like Individual change models, readiness assessments, communication plans, sponsor roadmaps, coaching plans, resistance management, training plans and reinforcement strategies.

See also the approach in general for the implementation of SCCT solutions.

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