Parcel - October 2008 - (Page 26)

operations A RACE FOR EXCELLENCE How to improve the supply chain by motivating coworkers By Mike Grisamore opportunities for improvements and highlighted the need to add full-time, highly skilled process improvement coworkers. Equipping the Team F or the past 24 years, CDW has created a successful business model with the focus on delivering technology solutions to both corporate and public sectors in the US and Canada. CDW grew sales to $8.1 billion in 2007, but with the fast growth came the necessity to focus on re-engineering some of their processes to better serve customers. It was time for us to build on its impressive operational track record and set new standards in operational excellence. In the first quarter of 2007, the initiative to create new standards evolved with the creation of a cross functional steering committee to nominate projects and advise an Operational Excellence (OpX) group dedicated to drive process improvement projects. Fortunately, an existing framework was in place for the OpX team build out that was created in 2005 entitled “Customer First.” CDW was able to incorporate some of the goals from this program and expand to include ways of identifying both processes that negatively impacted customers as well as opportunities where process enhancements would show significant returns to the business while still positively impacting customers. Leading the charge for this new initiative was Doug Eckrote, Senior Vice President of Operations, and Mike Grisamore, Director of Customer Experience, who were tasked with building the group and overall initiative execution. With the counsel of Customer First leadership team, we were able to identify several specific process improvement opportunities. These initial opportunities focused on improving automated communication to our customers around shipping, delivery, online communication of product ETAs (Estimated Time of Arrivals) and stock availability, clearly defining performance targets in the supply chain and better understanding the unique process cycle times from orders to cash. While these initial projects showed success, they uncovered even more 26 October 2008 The focus of the Operational Excellence team in 2007 was to adopt a process improvement methodology that best fit within CDW’s culture while completing seven initial process improvement projects. The goal was to improve the customer experience while streamlining other business processes. Our strategy involved training new team members while partnering with an expert coach to guide the team through the initial seven projects. Team members underwent rigorous training in both lean and Six Sigma utilizing resources from Motorola University and the University of Michigan. The Operational Excellence team, with new Senior Manager Rafi Sahakian, then worked with their coach to design a scalable process to meet current projects and future objectives in a consistent method. Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control phases were adopted, and various Lean or Six Sigma tools were identified to meet the deliverables of each phase. Operational Excellence was embraced by senior management at CDW, but the team was challenged to gain the acceptance by middle management. Many of the tools were new, and it was difficult to consistently introduce these methodologies throughout the supply chain. It was clear that the objectives of the OpX team needed to expand beyond simply executing complex projects. The groups also needed to be skilled at change management as these changes impacted the organizational culture as many coworkers were fearful of potential job cuts that are sometimes associated with process enhancements. To alleviate these fears and engage coworkers, CDW needed to find an appropriate way of communicating the benefits of the process improvement initiative in order to motivate and re-commit those involved. The OpX team needed to work to re-train the way coworkers approached their work and set goals for them to illustrate that process improvements within the supply chain would ultimately help them get the job done faster at the end of the day. To do this, we incorporated metrics that showed a direct connection between the process improvements and coworker involvement. These metrics were based

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Parcel - October 2008

Parcel - October 2008
Editor's Note
What Would Augello Say?
Best Practices Survey Results
Going with the Flow
Is Your Parcel Network Optimized?
Last (Mile), but Not Least
Moving From Manual to Automated Fulfillment
A Race for Excellence
Making Ends Meet
Is Your Job Killing You?
Software Selection Demystified
Controlling Costs
On the Mark
Product Profile
New Products & Services
Advertiser Index
Wrap Up

Parcel - October 2008