By Rod Hozack, Partner at Oliver Wight Asia Pacific
More than anything else, the quorum of people managing Integrated Tactical Planning is going to vary from company to company, industry to industry, and by size, so in this blog we will keep it to generic roles.
The execution of plans can be divided into four major elements as outlined below. Each of these points of control requires at least one defined and formal role identifying and managing changes to plans inside the planning time fence.
At the highest level, the role that governs this, is the Demand Manager and, in smaller companies, would be responsible for demand planning and control. In larger companies, this might be split into Demand Manager, Demand Planner, and Demand Controller. It is, however, the Demand Controller part of the role that is important. The Demand Controller role is to be “all over” the difference between incoming sales orders and the progression to meet the monthly forecast/demand plan. They play a pivotal liaison role in identifying and managing potential abnormal demand, and liaising with Order Entry and Promising, Supply Chain, Production, Distribution, etc; to understand the impact and what can be done about getting back on track.
Similar to the demand manager role, and depending on the size of the company, this role could be one person or a number of people. Unlike the demand manager role, however, there is a plethora of different titles and role descriptions. For consistency in this discussion, at the highest level, we will call a supply chain planning manager who, in smaller companies, is directly involved in both supply planning and supply scheduling. In larger companies, however, there might be a number of other roles, such as a category supply planner, and even a factory, supply, or distribution scheduler. It is the role of the supply scheduler who would be most engaged in the ITP process. Their primary role is to cost-effectively meet the changes in demand and, since this is inside the planning time fence commitment zone, they will zealously guard the stability of the plan – unless the benefit of the change can be demonstrated to outweigh the cost.
3. Customer Service/Order Entry
Often overlooked for their insights into the customers’ buying habits and demand levers, Customer Service can play an extraordinary role in maintaining stability of supply plans inside the planning time fence. Similar to the previous roles, in smaller organizations, customer service, order entry, and promising is likely to be only one person; in larger organizations, it could be several people with specialist category or channel people. It is, however, the order entry and promising role that is most relevant to ITP – promising to the forecast and communicating wherever this is not the case.
This role is straightforward in most organizations and, typically, is at heart of the product development project management area. It involves coordinating changes to plans, especially where it intersects with demand and supply requirements and capabilities. This person is responsible for identifying and managing any changes to the product portfolio plans.
In summary, the quorum of people are charged with understanding and delivering the core plans as they were signed off in last month’s IBP process but also in maintaining a high level of customer service. Like all high-performing environments, this doesn’t happen by chance. Defining and refining roles, responsibilities, and decision rights is a formal activity but is also a never-ending series of iterations to learn and apply that learning to making decisions at the lowest possible level, that is still aligned with the overall direction coming out of the IBP process.
In Part 6 of our blog, we will talk about the sequence of ITP.