We’ve got another case study up today.
One of our customers, Packer, is a ecommerce fulfillment company based in South Asia. In 2015 Packer embarked on a global acquisition run, significantly expanding their ecommerce fulfillment operations globally. Their goal was to grow into a dominant global fulfilment arm – and they had the expertise and experience to do so.
Packer’s IT leadership was tasked with bringing multiple logistics systems into harmony. There were six different regional systems, each with their own unique local connections to other systems, such as transportation management, customer relationship management and payment systems. Packer was not clearly aware that they were dealing with managing multiple, very disparate corporate cultures. Communications, and cultural differences, were significantly hampering progress and creating tension in staff. This was creating delays in an already complex harmonization project. Unfortunately, leadership was attributing this to technical complexity, not clashing corporate cultures.
1Focus pitched our people-centered approach around our technology & process capabilities. We created a strong scope covering logistics technology vertically and cultural harmonization horizontally. This included driving collaboration across international & cross-functional leaders & teams. Packer decided to move forward with 1Focus and our 3+3 product.
Within two weeks of landing our team and presenting our findings, we clearly identified three very specific keystones that would be significant levers for people, process & technology. Our insight, candor, and firm commitment to stick to our 3+3 plan and scope, established a high level of trust & respect with our executive sponsors across functional areas.
On the technology front, we uncovered complex integrations that Packer believed called for whole-sale rip & replace – a very complicated and expensive effort. By relentlessly focusing on root cause, we traced these gaps back to a single, non-technical cause. The teams were marching to a global executive directive that had not been decomposed into a unified plan. There was a significant gap between the directives and the paths being pursued to accomplish them.
We showed significant time and monetary savings could be achieved by focusing on a series of off-the-shelf cloud-based message hubs & busses that would provide translation, out of the box, on 78% of the transactions. Being cloud based would also address the needs for a global system at a fraction of the cost. Of the remaining 22%, 12% were deemed localized, leaving 10% that would require any sort of custom development
On the process front, Packer was in the middle of evolving to more modern, Agile, processes. In fact, each of their acquisitions was at a different point of the maturity model on the Agile roadmap. They were using the same tool around the world – Atlassian’s software development management suite – but differently in each of the six regions.
There simply were not enough resources to go around to focus on multiple major projects, post-acquisition, with the busy season mere months away. Harmonizing the different installations of Atlassian was left for another effort, the following year.
While this remained an on-going thread through the project, working with Packer we were able to create a more unified team and a training program within 45 days, with the clearest outcome being more consistent, clear insight into where components of global projects stood, especially the logistics harmonization project.
On the people front – leaders and teams were starting to fall into crunch mode. This was especially concerning as the busy season for fulfillment (November through February) was three months away. During this period, systems were typically locked down and teams focused all efforts on ensuring the orderly flow of all types of transactions. No progress for four months was not palatable.
1Focus had experience working with creating and managing global development teams, with the largest having spanned 12 time zones. Fortunately, we had already established a foundational set of tools, methods & products for global collaboration, and this was one step further on that path. We continued to encourage safe, candid conversations, nudging the teams together and focusing on incremental, achievable progress.
The final landscape, including process & tools, went from being an ad hoc approach to a consistently, clearly communicated and agreed upon set of outputs and measurable progress. The teams could now more easily identify hurdles and gaps and address them.
In each case, we drove a tandem path. Focusing on root causes of people, process and technology issues and teaching, showing, and doing alongside leaders and contributors. In creating this momentum, Packer, like all our clients, quickly latched onto this new modality and was able to increase their momentum, going from peak to peak.
Over the next three months, right in time for their busy season, Packer was able to harmonize all but a few transactions. The teams, globally, expressed confidence that they would be able to finalize those last few transactions before busy season got in full swing – by the end of November. Too, they were able to instill confidence and clarity in their leadership chain.
Packer had spent nearly a billion dollars on its various acquisitions. The estimated price tag, just for logistics harmonization, was close to $25M and expected to take two years. That was, widely acknowledge, an optimistic estimate given the current state of Packer even before we landed. 1Focus would, in working with Packer, ensure that the groundwork and foundation would be laid to ensure that project was more realistic and reasonable – and that it would complete.
We continued to track with Packer and their final tally for such a complex project was 26 months, just short of two years. Their final all-up cost came out to $27M. The cost savings brought about by our improvements were realized across the board, allowing Packer to get a jump start on their investment into warehouse robotics and automation. They expected to make that additional investment back in two years, just on cost-savings for order fulfillment alone.
This is just one example of the success our customers have with 1Focus. We’re sure there’s a familiar sounding project where we could collaborate on at your company, addressing process and technology challenges, with people, your people, firmly at the center of any effort.
You can access the full case study as a PDF here.