Freighted With Significance
The holiday logistics game is fraught with risk.
“Transportation is a critical and sensitive area to
our business,” says Fabricio Corrêa, PMP, senior
project analyst, Wal-Mart Brasil, São Paulo,
Brazil. His IT projects focus on the retail giant’s
logistics and supply chain in Brazil, where Wal-Mart has nearly 500 stores.
Prior to last year’s Christmas shopping season,
Mr. Corrêa managed an eight-month, BRL1.3 million project implementing software to standardize
Wal-Mart Brasil’s freight management system. Its
goal was the ability to audit 100 percent of the organization’s shipments to guarantee freight payment
according to its contracts. There was a can’t-miss
deadline: The project had to be finished before the
start of October to avoid disrupting Christmas sales.
“It was a complex project, so users and processes
had to be very aligned in order to support the holi-
day distribution and avoid impact on the stores’
supply,” Mr. Corrêa says. To ensure alignment, he
deepened the involvement of stakeholders from
the organization’s finance department beyond what
stretch between Diwali, Hanukkah, Christ-
mas and the Chinese New Year (October
through February, roughly) is payoff time
after organizations have scrambled to
stock warehouses, recalibrate store staffing
levels and perfect online ordering systems.
Before the rush begins, retailers need to
complete projects covering everything
from neutralizing cybersecurity threats
to designing and installing front-window
displays at flagship stores.
Sales and profit figures can hinge on
In the United States
on-time project completion. In the United
States alone, holiday-related consumer
spending reached US$626.1 billion in 2015,
Christmas—retailers can lose a customer for life.
in 2015, a 3 percent
increase over the
Source: National Retail Federation
Setting the Stage for the Holidays