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On a path toward improved speed to market? Here’s how to overcome organizational roadblocks

Posted By: SGK February 10, 2015

Picture this: A way to ensure that all systems at your organization are functional, all work is streamlined and all personnel are working at their highest capacity. 

All brand owners hope to achieve this harmony, but organizational roadblocks and redundancies impede their best efforts. And often, the “Do It Now” principle will only take your team so far before it begins to hinder your organization’s ability to grow and succeed. But cutting non-value-added time and energy from your branded material supply chains can seem like a daunting task. Where do you begin? 

First, take a step back and analyze the duties and tasks performed by your marketers, marketing communications staff, and agency and/or production partners. Look for redundancies in project management, approval processes, and meeting attendance. You’ll likely discover that many of the redundancies will be tactical tasks. For example, often CPGs and agencies are both proofreading art; ideally, the CPG should own the inputs and the agency should be accountable for proofreading. Similarly, empowering agencies to manage project timelines and institute weekly or biweekly check-ins can remove tactical day-to-day management by the CPG. Because while each task may only take a few minutes, adding them up annually over thousands of packaging changes, promotional materials, and meetings amounts to a significant loss of time and energy.

After identifying redundancies in duties and tasks, look for ways to eliminate them. To do this, you must create a thoughtful transition plan. First, identify the right person/function to perform the work. Then, communicate the changes to key stakeholders and any impacted vendors. Make sure to identify and implement the right tools and training necessary for the new person to perform the work. Circle back to key stakeholders and vendors to confirm the change once the transition is complete. Then monitor and measure the time and activities of both roles post-transition to ensure that the planned outcomes are being achieved. 

This investigation occurred recently at one CPG. All of the duties and tasks performed by junior marketers & marketing managers for packaging and routing approvals were considered and categorized. This analysis uncovered several redundant steps within a one-size fits all approval workflow. Namely, all packaging changes within the current state workflow required the same number of approvers and functions, whether the change was a complex redesign or a simple copy edit. In the recommended future state, defining project tiers based on complexity will allow the CPG to customize approvers by project, allocating the appropriate level of resources when needed or removing touch points. Eliminating half of the approvers from subsequent rounds of artwork approval will reduce organizational time spent approving packaging artwork by about 271 hours per year, the equivalent of seven weeks of full time work. These resources can now reinvest time in business driving activities. Tiering the approval process and removing resources from later rounds of approval will result in a future state routing & approval workflow with a 53% improvement in throughput. 

Being able to identity and eliminate unneeded tasks requires significant change and ongoing communication, but its an incredibly important factor that will strengthen your brand’s performance.

This can drive increased sales, enable your organization to respond to quick-turn opportunities with key retail partners, and free up resources to put against growth objectives. 

Learn more about how optimization can drive your brand’s performance by delivering it to market more quickly, more efficiently, and more cost effectively. Download 6 Ways to Get Your Branded Materials to Market Faster, by our Continuous Improvement Practice team.