Improve your supply chain project results: Focusing on capacity & capability

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Improve your chances of delivering results


A vital, yet often forgotten, element of delivering benefits from a project is making sure the organisation as a whole is ready for it.   

Projects can be compared to a journey, an adventure or even a race.  Projects might be explorations, sprints or marathons.   

When an athlete or explorer sets out on a journey having done the right physical training and gained the necessary fitness levels, they need to nurture their mindset to be in the zone to win. The same could be said for an organisation looking to start a new project. It must equip itself with the tools, experience, behaviours and attitudes that will be vital to seeing it through the ups and downs of implementation. 

At Hatmill, we support our clients to consciously build a team with the capacity and capability to mobilise not just the project team, but the whole organisation so it is ready to support the project from start to finish and then embed the changes that will deliver results in the agreed timeframe. 

There are always obstacles en-route, but with careful preparation we can smooth the way to delivering well and help to put potential bottlenecks on the radar early.  It’s an opportunity to mitigate risks that can cause delays to implementation and to expected results. 


Creating efficiency in business and uncovering lingering initiatives


An example of this with one of our clients happened when implementing a new warehouse management system. Our discovery phase looked at how much change was currently going on in the organisation and asked the question; Did they have the capacity to take on more development, testing, training and deployment activities?  

The senior leadership team were surprised with what we found in that there were two real dangers: their workforce would be overloaded and with this the timescales for the new WMS were unrealistic. 

What did we find that caused concern?   

We uncovered several lingering initiatives, many of which had started more than a year before, but had not quite made it over the finish line.  Teams or individuals were continuing to spend time diligently and quietly “finishing off” these initiatives.  When we looked into these historic projects, there were a number of categories: 

  • No longer needed – they’d taken so long, the business had moved on
  • “Pet” projects, never officially approved and not adding enough value
  • “Zombie” projects – most people thought they were finished!

How many of these are creating noise and distraction in your organisation?  Why are they lingering and is the continued effort adding value to the business as it is now? 

Working through our findings with the client, we were able to free up a significant number of individuals, who could transfer time and experience to the new WMS project, reducing the need to find external resources to cover a shortfall in capacity.      

Five steps to maximise ROI and avoid the pitfall


To avoid this pitfall and be ready for the next change in your organisation, we recommend following a logical and structured approach: 

  1. Maintain a roadmap of change to sit alongside operational plans.
  2. Review it routinely through walk about, observation and results (close the gap between leadership and front-line activity)
  3. Dig deep – What impact does each initiative have?  Why is that important to you?  Why does it matter to your customers?
  4. Don’t shy away from simply saying stop, that’s enough, we can better deploy these resources elsewhere.
  5. If any have been overrunning for some time, consider a final push to move it off the plan. 


If you are experiencing any of the issues we’ve raised in this article then please do get in touch here or click below to watch the replay of our recent webinar for more information, ideas and sharing of experience.   




Discover how to manage change to accelerate ROI on supply chain and logistics automation here.


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