The struggle for resources:
Starting a new team is exciting, but it comes with its fair share of obstacles. At METRO, we faced a pressing challenge – a severe shortage of full-time resources. We required skilled individuals who could contribute to product development, manage label checks, handle specifications, gather supplier certificates, perform supplier audits, troubleshoot issues, and more. The task seemed daunting, but it was a challenge I was determined to tackle.
The roadmap to success:
Over a span of three years, we embarked on a journey to build a dynamic and effective team. The approach I adopted was simple yet effective – I outlined our needs clearly. We began by meticulously calculating the number of personnel required based on projects and SKU (Stock Keeping Units) demands. This provided us with a clear benchmark to work towards.
Tracking progress and adaptation:
With our roadmap in place, we made a start, continuously monitoring our progress. Transparency played a crucial role in our strategy. Every quarter, we would assess the number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTEs) we had onboarded and compare it to our projected targets. However, what truly set our approach apart was the flexibility we introduced.
Recognising the unpredictable nature of projects and the unique skill sets required, we decided to keep a certain level of FTEs flexible. This adaptive approach enabled us to seamlessly bring in specialists from outside the organization whenever needed. Whether it was product specification and label checks, or expertise from independent consultants, our team became a fluid ecosystem of diverse talents. We were one of the first teams to promote remote working which significantly speeded up processes that could be done online.
Our commitment to transparency extended beyond numbers and targets. We understood the power of visualization in conveying our progress to other departments. Through charts, graphs, and regular updates, we showcased the journey we were on. This not only kept our team motivated but also allowed other departments to comprehend and appreciate our contributions to launching products safely, on time and within budget.
As we forged ahead, other departments began to understand and acknowledge our dedication to quality. Our flexible resource model, backed by a transparent progress tracking system, showcased our commitment. This recognition led to increased collaboration, as other teams began to recognise the value we brought to the table.
An area where we could have done better was our supplier management. We used a system (based on Excel!) of risk assessment to prioritise which ones to visit. While this worked for a while, once we moved upward of a hundred suppliers, it was not sufficient. In this instance, a collaborative solution like The Supply Pilot Platform would have streamlined communication with our suppliers and help better prioritise our work. This in turn would have significantly reduced the administrative burden and led to better outcomes in supplier capability building, transparency and allocation of our resources.
The journey of building a new team from scratch at METRO was not without its challenges. However, by establishing a clear roadmap, embracing flexibility, and fostering transparency, we transformed our struggle for resources into a tale of triumph. Our story stands as a testament to the power of innovative thinking and resourceful adaptation in overcoming obstacles and achieving business targets.