Improving Supply Chain Operations

September 17, 2014 by Valerie Hodgson

The Challenge:

To improve supply chain operations by validating 33 formulas at external manufacturing locations, in order to increase manufacturing flexibility for the client’s primary manufacturing plant. The client chose seven 3rd party manufacturing locations: three within the US, two in Canada, and one each in France and Mexico. Each was chosen based on manufacturing capability similar to the products being brought to them or because that location had produced the product for the client previously.

Our Approach:

The client took a program management approach to the project with each external location developing its own project plan and each of the formulas being validated at that location considered its own workstream within the project plan. Three project managers (PMs) were provided for the project. Two PMs divided the seven external locations between them, managing each project plan directly and conducting weekly meetings that included representatives from the external location as well as team members from the client’s corporate office to support various functions associated with the validations. All project plans were then rolled up into the master project plan, which was managed by the third PM provided. The master project team included full-time cross-functional staff from the client for primary functions, such as Research & Development, Packaging, and Quality Assurance. The PM responsible for managing the master plan attended all external location meetings, conducted weekly master team meetings to review progress, established tracking tools, and presented monthly status metrics and presentations to the client leadership.

The Results:

With an accelerated timeline provided by client leadership, 31 of the formulas were validated and ready for production at the external location on time and under budget. The final two formulas were extended due to vendor challenges outside of the control of the master team, which were resolved on an accelerated timeline with the support of client staff and the prioritization of the project. With an extended project team of approximately 120 full-time client personnel and the three PMs, the project not only came in $800,000 under budget, an unexpected savings of approximately $1.5 million was realized by the client for the production and sale of the validated product.

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