Editor’s note: Contributor Ellen van Aken is an experienced intranet adoption manager. Follow her @EllenvanAken
This is yet another example of streamlining a process where incomplete information was given via various channels.
What was the problem?
One of our global brands was struggling with their packaging process. Being in the fast-moving consumer goods business, there were always many new products being introduced and many promotions going on at any given time. Very often (such as: “now 20% extra!”) this meant that a new packaging had to be designed and printed.
For reasons of cost-efficiency and standardization, all packaging from one brand had to be centrally purchased. The purchasing manager was receiving incomplete information through various channels. Next to that, the requests were often received too late to allow the supplier the necessary lead time. Consolidating all information and ordering exactly the right amount of the right product at the right time was therefore not an easy task. I assume you will recognize this.
What is the solution?
You take one Team Site, as per my usual recipe.
We have turned an Excel form (which was used occasionally) into a Team Site custom list.
We made use of mandatory fields to force people to add information they often forget, such as the budget number, or whether the seconday packaging needs to be changed temporarily as well.
A calculated field is used to determine the deadline for artwork. So, if you want your new packaging to be ready on October 1, you MUST deliver your packaging designs before August 1. This was one of the more frequent problems. With the new process, delivering late is no longer allowed.
A workflow allows the purchasing manager to check if all details have been entered correctly. All approved requests are visible to all members.
The packaging supplier has read-access to the Team Site. The official ordering is done in the supplier’s system.
What are the benefits?
Although marketeers did not really like the limitation of their freedom, (especially where artwork deadlines were concerned), the new process has had many benefits for the total organization:
- The process has saved time for the purchasing manager because she now receives complete and correct information.
- All artwork is now being delivered on time, reducing last-minute stress for all. This is more a result of the implementation of the process, rather than the Team Site itself, of course.
- The purchasing manager can now combine different requests and get better conditions.
- The supplier knows beforehand what he can expect.
- All requests are creating a large database. Marketeers in different locations can see what their colleagues are doing or have done, so they can share experiences with a certain action, or combine a promotion and therefore save costs.
Once again, this is not rocket science, it does not even use sophisticated new code, it is just regular SharePoint with a bit of thinking.
This screenshot shows the data entry screen.
New Request Data Entry
Below you see the Homepage with all approved requests on the left, for everyone to see and share. On the right, a web part with only My Requests waiting for confirmation. (In the real situation, this would be all My Requests, but since I have created all requests, I had to use another filter to show a difference.