Tackling a big data challenge often requires a team effort and a solid dose of courage. It can also help to draw from the experience of others. Recently, we heard from IPC-Subway about their MDM journey with Amplifi and EnterWorks. Let‘s take a look at their five biggest lessons learned.
Click here for the full webinar, presented at the EnterWorks Everything MDM Virtual Conference.
1. Uncover your exact business problems
According to Lucelena Angarita, Director of Supply Chain Systems & Standards for IPC, it‘s essential to start with a clear understanding of your challenges, and then craft a vision built around those factors.
IPC knew they had data problems, but as they looked deeper, they uncovered:
- Information locked in silos (often on personal desktops and spreadsheets)
- No visibility to content creators, making it difficult to track accuracy
- Low collaboration across the supply chain
- Inefficient onboarding of trading partners (done via email)
- Pricing data marred by errors and inefficiencies
This evaluation helped the team establish a vision for a single source of truth, with the data governance and automation required for better collaboration and accuracy.
2. Get leadership onboard
Next, IPC learned it‘s critical to get leadership on board. To make this easier, Angarita advises looking for clear, measurable ROI.
For example, while building their business case for MDM, the IPC team discovered a startling link between a .5 lb. discrepancy in mayonnaise and its impact on logistics. With MDM, this one fix tangibly leads to an annual cost avoidance of $1.3 million!
As Angarita notes, “Once you show why this platform is worth spending the effort and resources, leadership will back you up.“
3. Embrace change management
To do things right, you’ve got to make significant changes that go deep into how you work as a business and as a team. Change management is key and continues to play a role in IPC’s success.
For example, they‘re working on the shift from emailing new products to entering launch dates into the system.
“It‘s about changing our habits. When we have a new product, we want to enter that start production date in the system to kick-off the workflow,“ said Angarita. “It‘s is a big change for us and the way we work, but instead of doing emails and excel sheets, this is a system that we are all going to embrace, it‘s easy to use, and it‘s going to be powerful.“
4. Put people and processes before technology
The next big lesson? Put process before the platform.
Angarita notes, “People often think that technology alone will be the solution. But technology is not the solution, at least in terms of data quality and process. That must come first. Then, technology is definitely the tool to help enforce what needs to happen in your process.“
IPC shared an example of this mindset in action: Their Pricing Journey.
Angarita tells the tale of giant black cabinets that housed all their pricing details. Then, the cabinet system evolved into spreadsheets. All the sheets were different, and entering the data was a manual nightmare.
“This is not an exaggeration,“ Angarita notes. “For 30 products where the price changed, we had to manually update 2,580 records in the system.“
Handling this issue required data standardization first. After that, the team was ready for a tool. This took a while, and it was a learning curve. IPC appreciated that Amplifi helped them through the process, never letting them settle for a band-aid approach.
Ultimately, IPC’s implementation transformed their data from barely controlled chaos into a well-choreographed dance with an audit trail of actions, decisions and publications along the way.
“From a platform point of view, that‘s what it took – a combination of various inputs, business rules, and workflows,“ said Angarita. “That choreography is where the value proposition comes from – transparent, front–and–center data that the whole IPC community can benefit from.“
And those 2,580 records? They’re handled in a snap with a streamlined workflow that includes notifications and explanations sent only to owners of that specific data point. “Now, we just change the product price, and all relationships are automatically updated,“ notes Angarita.
5. Rely on your project managers
Finally, rely on your project managers – they are the ones that can make or break a project.
IPC appreciated that Amplifi‘s project manager understood not only the system but also their pain points. “It was like it was his pain, and he experienced it too,“ said Angarita.
Because of COVID, the implementation quickly pivoted. Amplifi adjusted to a virtual setting by holding daily conversations that were highly focused, both in terms of topic and attendees.
“Our project managers were the instruments to improve communication and keep everyone focused. They were the glue,“ said Angarita. “That passion is what helped us to overcome a critical situation of a global pandemic and still keep the project on track.“
According to Hashim Hamdani, Amplifi Client Director, it‘s that ability to pivot that‘s part of Amplifi‘s DNA:
“Trusting each other, understanding the pain and value, and being steadfast in clear communication – those are the things that make us successful in any project. With the pandemic, it played an even bigger role, and it paid off. We are so pleased with IPC’s implementation, and we know they will enjoy its capabilities for many years to come.“