Driving Digital in Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Like any good story, Imperial Logistics – one of South Africa’s leading logistics and supply chain management organisations – started with a headache causing business issue. An issue that faces many different companies with multiple subsidiaries and entities within a group.
The logistical challenge
Imperial Logistics, which has 36 South African operating companies under their Head Office, lacked sufficient visibility into what was happening with past, current and future sales. They needed a more robust group sales pipeline that gave them detailed information into the now as well as paint an accurate forecast into where the company could potentially go.
Every operating company needed to report their current pipeline to Head Office. They needed to put opportunities into the system, allowing the Group Executives access into answering a variety of important questions:
- Are we winning or losing deals?
- How much are we discounting?
- If we are losing, why are we losing and who are we losing to?
- What is our win-ratio?
This tool allowed them to access the kind of data that gave everyone this information. They could now see who the central set of customers were, who was engaging efficiently with them and why.
Imperial also wanted to take this information and sell more strategically using a key account management approach. They wanted to drive much deeper levels of engagement with certain customers because they better understood their worth.
This group sales and forecasting implementation solved Imperial’s focused business challenge, giving accurate forecasting and providing deep insight for key account management.
On top of this initial technology, Imperial wanted a way to demonstrate and share these valuable insights. decided on using Microsoft’s business analytics solution, PowerBI, to automate the work that was currently being done manually on Excel spreadsheets. What Imperial did not know then, was that this PowerBI implementation became the start of their journey with this tool, putting it in the centre of their reporting strategy. PowerBI is now standard and used by the entire group.
Enabling Change Management
Initially, Imperial Logisitics’ had decided that they were only going to have one user per company, with two users at Head Office. What this meant was that the system would possibly be used after-the-fact, with information being inputted once a month by one designated administrator, removing some of the value that comes with using this tool effectively. But due to resource constraints, it was decided that the system first needed to prove some of its value before adding more users.
EC led the deployment following the ADKAR principles. ADKAR is a systematic progression that enables legitimate buy-in from users. It represents five tangible outcomes that people need to achieve for lasting change. These are awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement.
As we were building the system, we would have fortnightly showcases with Imperial’s designated team, making ongoing changes and adjustments to suit their way of working. This reinforced what they were trying to do and why. Because the knowledge and awareness of the tool increased, their desire to start using the system started climbing. They could see that this implementation provided more than just a reporting tool and internally, Imperial increased their user base to more than 150 people.
What Imperial Logistics did so successfully was carry the internal drive for who was using the system and who was getting benefit out of it. They started monitoring usage and from an executive leadership level, continuously reinforced its importance, pushing the countries with lower adoption to use the system more effectively, a top-down approach.
Enabling global innovation
Imperial Logistics’ European office was about to implement a competitor tool, when we got a request from Microsoft asking us to show them the success seen within Southern Africa. We flew to Germany and gave them a demo of their current system and why the implementation was done and what problems it solved. They decided to go with Microsoft Dynamics, rolling it out to all international regions, showing true value in being strategically aligned.
Imperial is now seeing more value in data than ever before. Like the famous quote by W.Edwards Deming, “What gets measured gets done”, is perhaps why analysing data leads to higher performance levels, not only in profitable organisations, but also professional athletes and healthcare professionals. As a customer, Imperial Logistics drove one of the most successful implementations we’ve seen due to their continuous internal investment of time and driving change within their company, showing that embracing change management can be the most beneficial part of any technological implementation.