In my last entry I discussed the first step in instituting a visibility initiative. I believe beginning with a thorough evaluation and focus on the business objectives and business benefits will allow you to build a robust and flexible foundation to support your ever changing visibility needs in the most efficient and flexible manner. As I mentioned I also believe it is critical to the success of your initiative to include your key extended supply chain partners in this stage of the initiative. As I mentioned, there are two reasons to include your partners; more thorough development of the objectives and an opportunity to share the costs of the initiative across your extended supply chain community. So now that you have a direction and a commitment from your external partners, its time to explore the key points in defining your visibility initiative mission and initial objectives.
Don’t overlook the opportunity to continue to develop your extended supply chain collaborative community with this visibility initiative. Afterall collaboration and visibility go hand in hand and I would say that you can’t hope to develop one without the other. This is a great opportunity to build a strong foundation with your key external partners as stakeholders in this shared visibility initiative. My advice is to use this initiative to build a robust and flexible foundation that will support your community needs well into the future.
It would be easy to gloss over the definition of visibility and the mission but I think for this initiative the mission definition is critical to the success of this initiative. Don’t get me wrong, the mission statement is important for every initiative, in this case though and because of the nebulous nature and potentially vague understanding of visibility I think it is critical to develop a common understanding. I think this is probably one of the most important aspects of your visibility initiative because I believe there are so many definitions of visibility that without a common understanding the risk to your success increases dramatically. I’ve come to this belief because everyone I’ve spoken to over the last three or four months seems to have a different definition or understanding of visibility. Developing a clear and common definition will not only provide a guiding principle for this initiative but it will also provide the first opportunity to build a consensus of your understanding and basis for what will make up the initial delivery of your objectives. Its critical for all stakeholders to have the same starting point basis for a definition to eliminate confusion and misdirection. Nothing will doom an initiative faster than to start it with all the stakeholders going in different or opposite directions.
OK so you’ve come to an agreement and common definition of visibility that all of your stakeholders accept and can get behind, so now its time to define your initial objectives and the timeframe for delivering these objectives. This will provide the guide for your first release and the foundation that you will continue to develop and build out your capabilities. Again you should take advantage of this opportunity to build consensus and a shared commitment to deliver the objectives among your key stakeholders.
Now for the audience participation portion of this program…….
Have you thought about the types of business benefits you can achieve with this initiative?
What do you see as your current visibility needs and how are you meeting these needs? Does this provide the ability to grow and the flexibility to change as your needs grow and change?