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 Any of these problems sound familiar?

  • Our people don’t understand our company’s vision
  • Even management has little appreciation for, or understanding of, what’s needed for future improvements. 
  • Critical resources (people, time, and money) are being wasted in “generic” education program that don’t address company issues and problems. 
  • We’ve had too many failures of both systems and projects to deliver anticipated  results.

What’s the solution?  A solid, well-planned program of tailored, on-site education.  Top management and operating management need education and training to fully understand how to manage and how to use the latest tools and techniques to compete successfully in an ever-changing environment.  But these programs must be tailored to company terminology, issues, and problems.


Our Approach

We can help you prepare a detailed, on-site education plan.  We provide the initial customized educational sessions to ensure that your key people will be ready to upgrade your management approaches confidently and on a timely and cost-effective basis.

These courses are focused on your needs — we use only those tools and approaches applicable in your environment.  We will show you how to solve problems in a time frame that matches your plans.  The courses include detailed explanations and examples, as well as interactive workshops.  Workshops and brainstorming sessions are designed to help you identify and solve your problems through interactive sessions that get your people working together in teams, and starting to apply the concepts to your environment and situation.

Following intensive on-site interviews with your people to review your current situation, Partners for Excellence will select proven educational materials from our extensive library.  We customize these materials into courses that best meet the needs of your personnel.  We don’t use the old “memorize and forget” methods.  In our courses, your people will discuss, understand, and apply what they have learned.  The focus is on solving problems and improving business results.

Individual course durations vary.  The size of the audience, your individual situation, and the level of understanding of your people can affect the amount of time required.

These courses can be scheduled at your convenience, and for a reasonable investment of time and money.  The time your key people spend away from the job will also be kept to a minimum.  Best of all, the courses focus on opportunities for immediate results and improved operating performance.  Following the session, we provide consultation to help you apply the theories and practices, to get you on the road to success and keep you there. 


Education Materials/Topics Available for Tailoring

Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) 

Sales and Operations Planning is the management process for developing and constantly updating a company game plan that balances market demand with resource capability (yours and those of your suppliers and partners).  It represents Top Management’s “handle on the business,” provides a way to draw out and resolve natural conflict to develop a true manufacturing / sales / marketing contract, integrates all functions of the business by developing a “single set of numbers” from which all the plans and schedules can be developed, and provides a forum for evaluating company performance.  If done properly, it ties the strategic imperatives of a company to its tactical plans in a dynamic way, keeping up with all changes in both demand and supply.


Forecasting and Sales Planning 

Forecasting, the “Achilles’ heel” of most enterprises, is the systematic, detailed projection of estimated customer demand used for future business, materials and resource planning.  Even if a company is already doing the best possible job of supply planning and execution, it can improve customer service and reduce costs through more accurate forecasting and sales planning processes.  We can help you sort out the key issues in forecasting.  In many cases, implementing only a few changes in the forecasting process can lead to dramatic improvement in forecast accuracy, and company results. 


Demand Management and Customer Linking 

To successfully meet the demands of customers and markets, you need not only to anticipate those demands, you also need to manage them.  Critical to successful demand management is the understanding of all the sources of demand and developing effective customer communication and order management processes tailored to the needs of each of these sources.  Traditionally, anticipating demand has meant forecasting, but there are new, more effective approaches to getting better, more timely information from customers.  Customer linking, based on open and trusting partnerships, can provide more timely and accurate communication of the true customer demands to the supplier.  This enables more effective planning to provide better customer service for each market segment, while optimizing costs and inventory investment throughout the value/supply chain.  


Master Scheduling (MPS)  

The master schedule constantly balances customers’ needs with what you can and will deliver.  It drives material planning, regulates capacity planning, is the proper source for order promising, and can convert “what if” questions into answers.  The Collaborative Plan extends the master schedule’s balancing focus to include your key value/supply chain partners.  Simplifying these processes and maintaining balance prevents broken promises and damaged relationships with value/supply chain partners, while optimizing capacity utilization and inventory management. 


Material Planning

Planning material flows so that material availability is “worry-free,” is a tough but essential job in managing a high performance value/supply chain.  It requires synchronous schedules so all materials are available when needed, while minimizing inventory investment.  We can help you understand the role of the computer in this planning process, and how a material planner can use formal systems to evaluate recommendations, convert messages into responsible action, and make intelligent decisions based on data and experience, not emotion or gut feel.  


Capacity Planning  

Incorporating capacity and critical resource considerations into the overall scheduling and planning process is vital to providing good customer service, optimum resource utilization, productivity, and cost control.  Long Term Resource Planning, Rough Cut Capacity Planning, and Detailed Capacity Requirements Planning are all tools that can be used to manage and control key resources, both people and equipment.  These processes are used in conjunction with developing valid S&OP production plans, master production schedules, and detailed plant schedules, both within the company and for crucial value/supply chain partners such as subcontractors, suppliers, distributors, finishers, etc.


Managing Supplier Linkages

Worry-free material availability requires effective material planning but does not end there.  Getting the right materials at the right price and at the right time takes the right relationships.  True supplier partnerships must be mutually beneficial by minimizing cost and inventory through better, more accurate, and more timely exchange of information.  It must be based on an integration of the major technological approaches in manufacturing and distribution, including Value/Supply Chain Management, Lean Manufacturing / Synchronous Flow, Total Quality Management, People Empowerment / Team Building, and, of course, Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II).


Plant Scheduling

Every manufacturing company must have effective processes that synchronize planning, scheduling, and execution.  This encompasses consistent, simple, yet structured processes for communicating work authorization, specification, and priority while gathering feedback to generate performance monitoring and reporting.  The use of visual tools and Lean Manufacturing techniques can be key to improving and simplifying many of the manufacturing processes being controlled.  This will lead to more flexibility, shorter cycle times, greater efficiency and productivity.  Achieving this will lead to simultaneously reducing costs, inventories, and cycle times as customer expectations, business objectives and financial improvements are achieved.


Data Quality 

To achieve World Class / Class A performance, it’s critical to maintain accurate data, including inventory records, bill of materials, recipes and formulas, and routings and process instructions.  One of the key building blocks is organizing an inventory record accuracy program to maintain 95%+ line item accuracy in less than 90 days, based on an ongoing cycle count program.  This will result in the elimination of wall-to-wall physical inventories.  Equally important is achievement of 98% bill of material (BOM) and routing accuracy, starting with routine, simple auditing techniques that highlight the root causes of any data inaccuracy and trigger corrective action to improve and fine-tune product / process data maintenance.


Managing Bills of Material

Without reliable and accurate product and process specifications, resource planning and scheduling systems don’t have a chance of delivering the promised benefits.  As companies undertake simplification and flow synchronization, Continuous Improvement and Lean Manufacturing, these product and process specifications must be adjusted to support the new approach to manufacturing.  Properly developing, maintaining, structuring, and integrating bills of materials (recipes and formulas) and routings represents a critical data foundation to support improved operations.


New Product Development

A key competitive advantage can be gained by implementing best practices for developing and releasing new products quickly, effectively, and accurately.  World Class improvements can be gained only by encompassing the principles of Concurrent Engineering and Concurrent Development (cross-functional involvement in decision-making).  Establishing a carefully defined structure for managing product introduction and change from the concept through design, introduction, and to a post implementation review is critical to achieving the desired results.  Clearly identified responsibilities for decision-making at critical points in the development process ensure maximum management control of the end result and the investment required.


Distribution & Warehouse Management

Managing Value/Supply Chain and Distribution costs represents, for many companies, an underestimated source of profitability and competitive advantage.  It is key to effectively integrate sales, marketing, distribution, and manufacturing functions to support correctly planning how much, when, and where each of your products should be stocked.  Distribution Resource Planning (DRP) is one proven management process enabling companies with distribution networks to dramatically improve productivity and customer service while reducing inventory and overall costs.  DRP provides a detailed, timely tool to convert forecasts and customer demand information into the proper product replenishment plans as input to the master scheduling process.  In some environments, the need for DRP can be eliminated by directly linking the plant to the end customer needs.  This often implies dramatic changes in distribution / transportation approaches as well as redefining the roles of the value/supply chain partners.


Performance Measurement for Continuous Improvement 

What is measured can be improved.  Establishing the correct “vital signs” for critical Value/Supply Chain processes, creating accountability for improved results, and ensuring that processes exist to diagnose problems in performance and identify the real root causes of these problems, are key to operational excellence.  We can help create the right set of cascaded, interdependent measurements with a reporting and review process that will drive real improvement.    


Integrating with Financial Planning

Truly effective financial planning and decision making can only be done when based on operational system drivers and data.   Actual costs, revenues, and inventory values should be linked to the data in the planning system and the transactions that update it.  Future financial plans (cash flow, projected inventory valuation, etc.) and estimates of performance can only be determined accurately when they are based on the forecasts, schedules, and inventory projections that are a routine part of the planning systems (ERP / MRP II).  We can show how to link financial planning processes with operational data to get better, more reliable results.


Achieving Supply Chain Excellence

Regardless of whether a company is implementing new systems, redesigning processes, reconfiguring the organization, or just driving for improved operating performance, the goals should include real business improvements and gaining on-going competitive advantage through “Best Practice” processes.  How can a company tell if it is getting its money’s worth from the efforts?  Are the results all that is possible?   Are the right things being worked on?  How do accomplishments compare to competitors, or the “best in class”?  We help companies understand the relevance, applicability, and implementation of Operational Excellence, World Class Performance, and Class A in their organization.


We can help develop a practical road map based on proven principles that will gain maximum benefits and help institute the kind of enlightened change management that will produce the desired results in the fastest possible time.