This week’s webinar notes are from a September 8th webinar sponsored by APICS Southeast and presented by Melissa Wright, VP of Supply Chain at Prayon Group. The event is available on demand on YouTube.
The case example of Prayon Group is amazing – both for their unlikely success and for the fact that they are willing to discuss their story openly with the larger community so we can all learn from it. These two are an incredibly rare combination.
The extremely high level version of the story is that Prayon Group – a manufacturer of phosphates – went from being an established operation to being forced to start from scratch when they were snatched from the jaws of a total shutdown by a new Belgian parent company. Their commercial team, product portfolio, and forecast had to be redesigned and their raw material, packaging, logistics, and warehousing contracts all had to be renegotiated. These changes had to be executed in relatively short order and in the face of binding terms and restrictions from their previous parent company.
In a 4 phase process, the ‘group at 1610’ (their address) went from square one to a level of competitive performance that it is hard to imagine anyone actually foresaw. The people managing this transition must have been either brilliant or extremely lucky to navigate all of the complexities and still come out on top. I asked during the event what the functional background of the senior executive on the ground had been through the transition. Apparently they started with a legacy manager from inside the company, moved to a M&A specialist – which didn’t work very well, to a joint manufacturing/sales team, finally resting with a manufacturing person from the parent company. I can’t help but think that keeping their eye on the operational ball – with a solid view of business development – provided the unique set of circumstances that made this case a success.
15 years after their restart, Prayon Group has achieved a 7% increase in raw material yield, a 6% decrease in production losses, and a significantly broader product portfolio. In fact, should you take the time to watch the event on demand (highly recommended) DO NOT MISS the KPI slides (23-24). They make it abundantly clear that this was no haphazard growth strategy.
In 2015 Prayon Group was named the Georgia manufacturer of the year for their performance, contribution to the local economy, and dedication to serving the community.
Two final notes:
1. The moderator’s last question to Melissa Wright, who has an impressive resume (starting with a degree in electrical engineering) was about how traditionally male fields like manufacturing and supply chain can increase their percentage of female employees. She hadn’t anticipated the question, which made her response that much more authentic. My paraphrase of her thoughts: People who end up in these fields (or any others) only have to know about the potential reward and satisfaction they can get in response for their hard work. Nothing more and nothing less. Bravo!
2. In conjunction with APICS Southeast, Prayon Group is opening their doors for a tour and lunch on September 21st. If you are interested, you can learn more or register on the APICS website.
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