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Random ramblings and learnings from gATP implementation in a CPG setup

Our two and a half year Supply Chain transformation journey with a leading CPG player in the industry is coming to a much anticipated eventful, yet a successful end. While the 7 rollouts of scale and scope of Global ATP project were crucial watershed moments in the program, the intervening period was completely marked by emotions such as surprise (at customers asking some feature bordering on the ridiculously "impossible"), suspense (when we were unsure of meeting seemingly challenging targets of volumes of work and tight deadlines), despair (when sometimes we discovered we were closing all doors to possible solutions to a business problem), hope (when tired minds in the project started looking at problem laterally giving glimmers of a solution) and exhilaration ( when we as a team miraculously came over a challenge that we surprised everyone with including ourselves). The mix of emotions that we as consultants went through was akin to a high-adrenalin Hollywood or a Bollywood blockbuster.

As we close in on the curtains for the program, let me share some thoughts and learnings that could make such programs have a better success rates in future

Now every implementation of a complex supply chain product such as gATP needs to be staffed with resources who are multi-skilled or at least willing to be. It requires consultants with the right aptitude and attitude, who can weather through the rigors of customer pressure, put a straight-face when cornered by aggressive counterparts from customer organization and also who can "work up" some magic over weekends or nights with dogged determination (depending on the context of the project) while feverishly exploring unchartered waters with a single-minded objective of solving a customer problem. Sometimes there is no solution to a problem. It thus requires a crafty wily consultant to put the message across in a manner acceptable to the customer counterparts, and insist on changes to business process in line with solution constraints.
A transformation program requires excellent Program Management Office (PMO), a single face to all customer interactions. Members of the PMO should typically be seasoned players who have "been there done that" - with excellent understanding of the technical, functional and most important political sides of the house.  Needless to mention, eloquence is of essence in such a situation. Each word to present a problem in different dimensions to senior counterparts in customer organization required control and calibration of steps. A PMO also moderates the consultants toeing the "middle path" - keeping a tight leash on project timelines making sure Consultants are tasked with time-sensitive blocks of effort and also keeping a check on consultants going overboard on an irrational customer delight mission with scant regard to scope. PMO brings a much needed balance to a transformation program required for successful completion within time and budget of such programs.
The last but not the least is "Know your customer" or KYC approach. There are always different elements within customer organization tasked with monitoring the program on different (and sometimes conflicting) dimensions. There are folks who are empathetic, those who want "the work done", those want attention, those who are academically inclined, and those who "don't care". It is important to have a custom-strategy dealing with each and every customer stakeholder.
The most important mantra; keep every person dealing with successful closure of the project in high spirits. Happy individuals make the arduous journeys exciting and worthwhile.


what were the challenges you faced in gATP implementation for CPG industry. what are CPG specific business cases you had which were so difficult...

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