Involve local country teams and management early
In many cases, particularly in track and trace serialisation models, local country teams will have to work with the local supply chain and local suppliers to ensure that robust local elements of the overall serialisation solution are implemented. This is in addition to the local responsibilities with respect to interpreting the legislation that we have described elsewhere.
A few things need to be considered for this to be successful. Firstly, local country management is typically sales and marketing focused which often means that supply chain and technology issues are not high on their agenda. Secondly, the lead-times required to deliver complex serialisation solutions are often far longer than typical local project timelines in sales and marketing organisations. Thirdly, local IT and engineering resources are either non-existent, or very thinly spread across many issues.
Local teams are often most appropriate to deliver local solutions. However, it is often neither efficient nor effective for such teams to operate in isolation of central or other resources who have established experience of designing and implementing serialisation solutions. This is particularly important where the implementation of standard solutions is required and will always be the case when interfacing local solutions with central capabilities. We recommend that central teams and their governance consider carefully how to ensure this happens effectively.
As difficult as the technical challenges are to overcome, the cultural and geographical challenges of distance can often be greater. Good change management practice is essential to ensure that effective relationships are formed, collaborative design activity is carried out and implementation is managed in a coordinated way. We have found that there is no effective substitute for some degree of face-to- face activity throughout a project, with its implications on travel budgets and resource time. Furthermore, constant focus needs to be given to establishing effective day-to-day ways of working between remote teams. Simple issues such as establishing effective video/teleconference facilities can often be surprisingly challenging.
Another aspect which needs to be considered is that of culture. Central teams need to understand the local culture, particularly with respect to local decision making, day-to-day working styles and risk and issue management. Once understood, mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure a culturally effective management and governance approach is established.
Therefore, we would recommend engaging with local country management and resources early to ensure that robust and timely local plans are in place, supported by the right level of competent resources and ways of working.
I hope you enjoyed this instalment on Things we wish we had known before starting a serialisation program or project. Please check back in next week for the continuation in this series.
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