In my last blog, Piloting Serialization for the Real World, I highlighted that many organizations implementing serialization are very focused on the technical solution and often do not consider real world business scenarios that prepare them to move into production. Certainly this myopic focus creates process challenges, but it also causes organizations to overlook one of the most critical pieces of the project – the people.
A serialization and traceability implementation will bring about a great deal of change to individuals across many functional areas. As organizations start crafting the full set of business scenarios and processes needed for implementation, a key output should be an understanding of the individuals who will be impacted by the change. Packaging line operators, warehouse personnel, IT support staff and others depending on your organizational structure all need to be engaged in the solution. The mystery needs to be removed for these stakeholders. As processes are redesigned, we recommend organizations create change impact maps to help individuals better understand the future state and how their role will be impacted.
The technical solution is certainly important to a serialization and traceability project, but it is ultimately our stakeholders that determine the success or failure of the implementation. Thus, in the midst of our wrestling match with encoding serial numbers, we must make sure we aren’t forgetting the processes and people impacted. Taking a proactive approach to managing the people change will help ensure minimal disruption to manufacturing, warehouse and shipping functions, and allow the organization to continue to meet its customer service levels.