It may sound like a bit of a stretch to compare an organization’s supply chain team with the race team at Daytona, Indy or Grand Prix auto race. But these two teams have far more in common than you would think. Both must be fully invested in world-class performance, process and technology. And both must be fully committed to “the win” every step of the way.
After all, business, in and of itself, is also a type of race to the finish. So let’s continue the analogy. NASCAR race cars are becoming increasingly complex as their performance and technology evolves – not unlike an SAP investment – meaning more people need to be in the driver’s communication loop. For NASCAR, that can include more than 30 people – spotters, crew chief, technologist, meteorologists, mechanics, engineers, the list goes on. Similarly, those that drive performance in the business world include experts from all functional areas – demand planners, production schedulers, MRP controllers, customer service agents, and of course, suppliers and buyers.
In both auto racing and business, it is especially important than the team manager, crew chief and spotter be able to talk with the driver and each other as the race progresses. The goal is to get the race car around the track – or the product through the supply chain – as quickly and effectively as possible. In both cases, no one can afford to stay isolated in silos. Only when a team rigorously aligns and works together in a cross-functional manner can we anticipate success in the next lap – and down the road.
The point? The business can’t win without ensuring that IT is on board and an integral part of the team. Functional subject matter experts may be outstanding in what they are capable of doing. But they are not hired to possess the same expertise as the IT staff in understanding how all the SAP functions work individually or how their integrated capabilities can fuel success. What IT achieves – or is unable to achieve because of roadblocks – will have a ripple effect, not only in their singular business function, but also through all direct and indirect touch points. And that will inevitably affect the customer experience and influence profits and ROI.