From a daily wage worker to now running the show… In this episode Helen Davis, Head of Supply Chain North America for Beauty & Personal Care and Home Care at Unilever, speaks about her career in supply chain. Helen has worked in the US, Middle East, India, China, and Germany, driving digital transformation in some of the biggest CPG companies in the world. She is an inspirational mentor and a powerful voice for women in the industry.
Helen breaks down the dos and don’ts of digital transformation, the ‘pulling the string’ method and why you’ve got to show your customer value early and act fast to build trust in the project.
Pulling the String If a customer pulls too much inventory, there will be a domino effect across the supply chain. In the 1990s it was all about demand-driven supply chains whereas today, planners throw their forecast out the window as they realise it will never be right. There is too much volatility. Agile supply chains backed up with data and AI/ML are now the go-to.
Change Management Change management is where 90% of major digital transformations fail. Learning the language, walking the factory floor and engaging with the people are vital when attempting to take steps in new directions. SAP, Oracle, Microsoft etc. are based on an approach from the 1950/60s – MRP II, Oliver Wight’s stage by stage. You optimize one thing at a time, the plan, then the demand forecast, and then manufacturing and then logistics. This is all done in sequence. Modern technology and solutions instead give you the power to optimize and centralise using algorithms end-to-end.
Fast Rollout Value unlocks have to be presented early to quell the tide of doubt that can foster during a transformation. A three year implementation would make people lose interest in the process, particularly without any early positive results. See the transformation less as a marathon but more as a six-month sprint. Enough time to make a difference while maintaining support, from the C-Suite to the factory line.