IT in Practice: Building a Foundation of Collaboration

This individual could provide specific examples of failure points or weaknesses in the supply chain process and talk about the benefit and value of owning and personally addressing these gaps. As CIO, I realized my job was to provide a solution to enable the optimization of the supply chain process—not to assume ownership for this process.

From prior experiences, I was keenly aware that ultimate accountability for addressing these types of process-oriented gaps must rest with the business. The CIO is much better positioned to who works with the business to design and develop business solutions. Consequently, I spent a huge amount of time working with Mannatech’s COO to analyze the problems and potential benefits of an automated supply chain system to the organization. Our CFO helped us strategize the progression of our project with an ROI model that justified costs. These partnerships helped me to build a solid business case to validate the supply chain program.

Following weeks of work, we collectively developed a solution to present to the board. Our collaboration and alignment strategy proved to be a recipe for success as our request for funding was approved and delivery of the program components is currently underway. We are looking forward to improved productivity and efficiency as a result of our newly automated supply chain process.

After my initial failure to secure funds from the board of directors, I realized that joining forces with other well-respected and influential business leaders was the key to success. This strategy of collaboration and alignment has truly paved the way for future programs in the future is helping to position Mannatech for long-term success.

Jerome Oberlton is CIO and VP of Technology for Mannatech, Inc., a global provider of proprietary dietary supplements, weight management products and skin care solutions. Oberlton, who recently completed a series of executive leadership classes at Harvard University’s JFK School of Government, is the former CIO of the Atlanta Public Schools and CIO for the Spare Parts business of GE Energy Services.