Yesterday, I had an interesting phone call with some very smart people from ChainLink research (www.chainlinkresearch.com/). We were discussing business drivers for global traceability initiatives when Bill McBeath, their Chief Research Officer, used the term “incident driven” initiatives. Basically, the point being that manufacturers don’t look to improve their traceability processes and supporting manufacturing systems until they’ve had a quality or compliance failure that impacted a customer or resulted in regulatory attention.
My experience certainly supports Bill’s observation. Some of the manufacturers that I have spoken with have come to the table because a quality escape or noncompliance event that created a business risk or pain.
At the same time, there is an emerging cadre of proactive, visionary business leaders who recognize the strategic value of building traceability and compliance into their business and manufacturing processes. A recent Analyst Insight by Mariela Koening from Aberdeen seems to support this finding (see the report here: The Practical and Strategic Side of BPM).
Mariela’s findings show that manufacturers using Business Process Management solutions (BPM) to standardize quality, compliance and traceability processes, which can then be reported across the enterprise, are reaping substantial operational benefits, beyond simply compliance. Examples include:
- Better customer complaint handling
- More successful new product introductions, and
- Substantially more effective recall processes (you’ll have to read the report if you want the numbers!)
One thing that is hard to quantify, but I would argue is equally as important as these findings, is the inherent flexibility that a global BPM platform affords your organization. As the regulatory environment continues to evolve regionally, domestically and internationally, a global traceability solution built on a BPM platform can seriously reduce your business and operational risk. This type of an architecture gives you a cost effective way to rapidly evolve your traceability systems and processes in order to keep you in compliance – regardless of what market you sell your goods and services.
I recommend you read the above Aberdeen Group report thoroughly. Mariela also discusses how linking operational and enterprise performance to your traceability processes can lead to improved performance and managerial effectiveness. And, she illuminates the value of incorporating collaborative capabilities into your quality and traceability processes to accelerate your response to a quality event. After you’ve read it, consider the different ways that a BPM-based, global traceability solution that incorporates collaborative technologies, such as Microsoft Lync or SharePoint, could provide you with a competitive advantage for your business. Here is another thought … what if your competitors were to embrace such a solution first?
Jordan can be found on Google+