Our approach for introducing Executive S&OP to a company enables its top management group to:
1. Make an informed commitment to implementing Executive S&OP, and 2. To do this at low risk, low cost, with high impact, and quick results.
Mini-Assessment & Executive Briefing – 1.5 to 2 Days
Day 1: Mini-Assessment
This involves a meeting with executives and managers from the primary functional areas of the business: Sales, Marketing, Finance, Operations, Supply Chain, Logistics, and New Product Development.
It’s not possible to interview people from all of these departments at all levels, so we employ a “diagonal slice” through the organization. Typically the sessions last for about a half hour, and often there can be more than one company person in a given session. We very much want to meet with the president/general manager of the business unit.
This objective of this day is to allow me to accomplish the following: • Understand where the company is with their current S&OP process • Understand where the people are with regard to their mind-set • Begin to develop a personal relationship with the people • Gain enough information to be able to do an effective Executive Briefing described in the next section
In short, this day allows me to "meet a company where they are" so that I'm not ineffective or inefficient in recommending a path forward.
Day 2: The Executive Briefing
This is a facilitated business meeting, around a conference table, lasting for three to four hours. It includes the president/general manager, his or her staff, and a few other key individuals.
The objective here is to enable the executive group to:
• Understand the capabilities of Executive S&OP
• What it does, how it works (in very general terms) and what kinds of benefits companies have gained from using it.
• Learn how Executive S&OP is different from current practices, even if the current practice is already called S&OP.
• Match Executive S&OP’s capabilities to problems the company is experiencing in areas such as shipping to its customers on time, running the plants efficiently, keeping finished goods inventories low and customer order backlogs in line.
• Understand how the process is best implemented and what will be required of each member personally.
• Make an informed decision to implement a live parallel Executive S&OP Pilot within 90 days.
Please note: Event 1 is a stand-alone step. When a company concludes Event #1, it has no obligation to go to further. It enables them to make, what we call Go/No-Go decision #1 – should we proceed to design a live parallel pilot?
The Executive S&OP Kick-Off – 1.5 to 2 Days
Topic: Education on the basics of Executive S&OP: what it is, where it fits, how it works, how it’s different from today’s practices, what benefits result, how it’s implemented.
Attendees: Key people who will be “hands-on” with Executive S&OP plus other interested people. This definitely includes the chief executive. If the top management group, including the president, isn’t present, the other people in the session will probably be saying: “This S&OP stuff sounds good, but they’ll never do it.” They, of course, refers to the executives. The executives' presence diffuses that issue.
Emphasis: How S&OP can benefit the company and how to implement successfully.
Topic: How to apply Executive S&OP practices to the company.
Attendees: Most of the people who were present in the morning session, except for top management. It’s really not necessary that they be present for this part, although they should feel welcome to stick around if they wish. One exception to this is the Executive Champion or Sponsor; that person with executive responsibility to oversee and support the implementation effort. He or she should be there.
Emphasis: How Executive S&OP will work within the company.
Topic: Development of a detailed implementation plan for the next 90 days, to result in a live parallel pilot, which is primarily a demonstration to top management as to how Executive S&OP will work in their company.
Attendees: The people who will make up the Design Team (core team, project team), which is the group that designs the Executive S&OP process for the company and spearheads its implementation. Present here also should be the Executive Champion.
Emphasis: The creation of a detailed implementation plan with tasks, responsibilities, critical paths, timing, and resource requirements – to get to a live parallel pilot within 90 days.
Usually, the first two half days occur on one full day, followed by the third half day on the next morning. After this, the Design Team can begin work on the process and the live pilot, with the knowledge that the plan is sound and that they can accomplish it.