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Gaining Executive Sponsorship for New MES Applications

Gaining Executive Sponsorship for New MES Applications

// January 31, 2017 //

Gaining Executive Sponsorship for New MES Applications

Introduction

When we think of launching a new initiative for MES applications, it is easy to get swept up by the enthusiasm of a better way, and particularly when the project will save hundreds of thousands of dollars over time for your company.  The thought and vision for a new Manufacturing Execution System/Manufacturing Operations Management System (MES/MOM) smart manufacturing solution fits that profile since these systems hold the potential for significant efficiencies across manufacturing operations and offer tremendous cost reductions while removing lean management waste.  So it is understandable why one might get swept up in the enthusiasm.  Why wouldn’t you?

The Problem

Increasingly we see a pattern where prospective customers are investing significant amounts of time in evaluating MES/MOM systems and related initiatives only to hit a wall of resistance from upper management toward the end of their efforts.  When we say resistance we do not mean to suggest it is resistance without merit, but it is nevertheless resistance that needs to be overcome, if not fully avoided, much sooner in the process.  The resistance imposes delays that can sometimes last months, or more likely even years.  And when that happens the whole project should likely be restarted from scratch, thereby rendering the prior efforts useless.

The impact of this is significant.  The obvious cost is time.  But it is this time that, when spread across the numerous resources involved, imposes tremendous cost for the organization.  Time is money and the costs for those critical resources involved in a project the magnitude of an MES software solution evaluation can add up quickly.

The Solution - Seek Out Executive Sponsorship

Too often those who hold the initial vision for an improvement do not seek out proper sponsorship before launching their initiative.  The sponsorship we describe is truly executive sponsorship at the CEO or CFO level.  Not simply a manager who said yes, go take a look at different systems.  We are encouraging gaining endorsement from the very same level that will be needed when it comes time to spend the money.   The mistake of not pursuing proper authority up front happens at all levels, to both managers and employees.  And when that mistake occurs, the project becomes a black hole consuming people, time and money in the process, only to find there is a complete lack of executive sponsorship in the end.

This can be avoided by not allowing the cart to get ahead of the horse.  All significant investments, regardless of whether they are “in the budget” or not, will be scrutinized by upper management before they are approved – as they should be.  You will need a sound and believable business case with financial justification for your project in order to succeed.  Realize that your MES production tracking software project will be evaluated against other investment opportunities available to the executive team as they try to determine if your project will outperform other options.  Equally as important, they will determine if your project aligns with helping to achieve their corporate objectives.  If it holds the potential for contributing one or both of these, you may have a winner.

Summary

Understanding the need for a sound business case that meets the overall business objectives of the executive team will advance your goal of actually getting new MES applications in place at your company.  This, along with gaining their sponsorship in advance, will enable your project to move forward without imposition or incident.  As a result you will be able to build consensus within your organization, rally the support of your colleagues, and bolster your credibility versus deny you of all of these opportunities if your project gets shot down.

Remember that executive management has many demands for how to spend your company’s profit.  You just need to make your project the best one for them to invest in.  Doing some very straightforward up front work enables them to give you the opportunity to accomplish your vision.

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