Amplify Case Study: Goal Prioritization, Initiative Health, and Realizing Transformation Value with Mat Ackerman of Tecomet
We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mat Ackerman, one of our community members in the greater Boston area to talk about business transformation and Amplify. This blog highlights his experience managing 100’s of initiatives across multiple global locations. It has only been edited lightly for clarity. You can see the full interview here.
Background on Mat, Tecomet, and team challenges:
My name is Mat Ackerman. I'm the EVP of strategy and business transformation at Tecomet. We are the largest contract manufacturer in the orthopedic and aerospace and defense markets. My role is unique. I get to see a bit of the whole organization. I work on a lot of transformative projects and one of the areas I picked up was around a project managing our key priorities for the company and the biggest things we're working on. Understanding where we are, what the plans are, what our status is, and if we're realizing value is a big priority. I’ve worked in a number of different areas within the company - pretty much all the functions at this point - on either transformation analytics or business strategy type applications, so it's been far reaching over the last handful of years but it's been fun.
We have 16 manufacturing sites globally across the world, as well as our headquarters near Boston, Massachusetts so there's definitely a lot going on. Over the last few years we’ve definitely gotten a handle on the certain initiatives and projects that will matter and those are the ones we're tracking from the center perspective. There are many, many projects across all the sites. Part of the challenge was, how do we manage that in a way that minimizes everybody's time by not filling in reports but keeping them focused on the work? Amplify allows us to get a sense for what's going on across a complicated network and decent scale operation.
Prior to using amplify we were on SharePoint, spreadsheets, people's computers, and there was a lot of time that was spent every single month compiling reports. As we were coming out of the pandemic and were getting more clear on the handful of priorities we really needed to have a handle on, we also thought there needs to be a better way to do this that allows people to focus on their work and not the reporting. That's when we went out to market to see what was available and ultimately the software plus the process and the support and “how do we get this done in a way that's going to give us the results but also make our employees buy in and want to use the solution instead of forcing something on them.”
When we started, we dedicated a resource for about three months to help from our side to manage the implementation. That was conversations with all the sites, understanding what they do every day, how Amplify would integrate into their lives, and then giving them ongoing training. There was definitely a reinforcement. There were always some feature requests, there were always,”can I do this?” And generally the answer is yes. It was about making sure we had focused support on configuration, training, implementation, and the rollout. As we've gotten to pretty good adoption of the tool, the questions are fewer and far between. Now we're relying on the Amplify team and they've been awesome and responsive when we've had a request or a question and the account support is really… the software is great, but the account support, it's been even better. It's been really great to have them as part of the extended team for us.
Amplify Account Support:
Aristo, who I've worked with a lot as we implemented, is fantastic. We definitely wanted to see things in our way, and the flexibility they had within the platform, and then the views that we were seeing were great, probably he probably wishes we had a clearer view of what we wanted in the beginning but was able to work through iterations and got to a good place, and then just the q&a where people would have questions and things would come up that we couldn't handle, Amplify’s responsiveness was always top notch. Our people felt like that support and they weren't left searching the internet for how to do something. That was really important for the adoption success there.
The Amplify Solution:
We're using amplify to simplify complexity in our business in terms of visibility into our key priorities, where we're going with them, see if issues are arising, and ultimately answering, “are we generating the value that we expected from the initiatives?” That allows myself and the executive leadership team a “command center view” into what's going on in the business across our key priorities, as well as gives the board of directors easier access to information as well. Amplify gives us that visibility, the targeted problem solving, and ability to see a lot of different work going on across a lot of different nodes in one place.
I think the other area of support is newer conversations. As they've released new products, new dashboards, new thinking, they share that with us and I think there are applications beyond our core use cases now that we can adopt which I hadn't even thought of. I appreciate that they share that with us as I think we can definitely broaden what we're doing with the tool as well, even though we have pretty good adoption at this point.
I think the biggest area that we've seen the impact is on our manufacturing productivity. Across all our plants, the projects that the team sign up for every year to say, “I'm going to do this operation better. I'm going to save money here, or be more efficient there.” There were hundreds and hundreds of projects and they were on people's computers and in people's heads before so it was really hard to have an understanding of “are we doing the work and are we seeing it reflected in the P&L?” Amplify has been an important tool to understand are we doing the work, and then with the partnership with the finance and FP&A groups to integrate the financial reporting into it. Knowing if we are doing the work and getting the value, and seeing that in one place without dozens and dozens of hours of manual effort to compile that every month, is really big. That's a huge driver of our business, to make sure that we're being more efficient every day and getting more leverage on the people working in our plants every day. That's really been the biggest help and right at the core of what we do, it's been a big help to get that visibility on all the good work that's happening every day.
Just make sure you have a holistic plan on how to implement it. I think that the tool is great. The tool is a tool, right? So make sure that you build the relationships with the Amplify account teams who will be more than willing to build that partnership. Make sure you have people internally that have part of their allocation of implementing and that you build some champions in there. You get a handful of people that know the tool can answer questions that can be advocates for that. And depending on the complexity of the organization, that could be one person, could be many people, but have those early adopters and those change agents available to help drive the adoption of it, because the tool can only be as good as the adoption in the company. Have a change management plan or implementation plan to do it, because just because you've bought the software doesn’t mean everything magically, magically works. I think that, and the flexibility that the software will provide to work with is what you want. I mean, definitely put some free thought to you know, “in the ideal world, here's what I would want to see when you don’t have to be constrained by Excel and SharePoint” and you'll have those conversations early so the development can occur in parallel- there's a good recipe for success.
We had a delayed pandemic recovery and the orthopedic medical markets just took longer to recover. I feel like we've passed that, and now we're really into the next phase of growth. In 2023 we've done a good job executing a small handful of really impactful priorities and we're stable - now it's going to be about growth. In fact right now, the executive leadership team is going through a strategy refresh process, and out of that will be mission vision values, our five year plan and major priorities, and then out of that will be what we're going to be doing in 2024.
I've already been talking to the Amplify team saying “let's get ahead of that and start thinking about what are going to be those big activities. How do we want to see and visualize that?” So that when we hit the ground running on January 1st, 2024, we're locked and loaded and ready to go. Which I think is part of our maturity, using the solution and just maturity as an organization with prioritization and working on what matters.
Amplify as a Confidence Boost:
It absolutely gives me more confidence because it's less manual work. Instead of my limited resources and some of the other functions that I work with every day, I know people are doing less crunching and more thinking. That makes me feel much better, knowing that we're staying ahead of what's going on and we're doing the thinking, we're looking at the information to make decisions, and we're not wasting time compiling. That's super helpful. As well as just the general visibility when you see a variant somewhere with a top level number, knowing the why and the ability to dig in and get to a root cause. The workload savings as well as the ability to drill in and get to that root cause are things that make me much more confident everyday across the organization and for my job as well.
The teams and the plants are using it daily to track the projects that they're doing super frequently from my perspective. We engage routinely with the board, and the leadership is a monthly routine generally so at least that regularly, but typically more often just see what's going on. As we get geared up to say, “how did the month go?” It’s always a good time to jump in to Amplify.
We have 16 global locations and about 2500 employees. Decent scale and there's a lot of complexity within that. Amplify is a good way to unify all that complexity into one platform. And there's likely opportunities across Tecomet for similar applications in the future, but it has been good to unify everybody on a single platform. The trick for us is making sure that all the sites use Amplify, when we want to drive commonalities standardization, or see things a certain way, it's more that the sites use it rather than businesses or in-markets would use it. It's about that local adoption, the buy-in, the change management that's made this implementation successful.
Thank you. Thank you. And now let's keep building what we have together.
Do you think you'll use Amplify to help you get promoted someday?
That'd be great!