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Supply Chain

Sales & Operations Planning as Enabler for Collaboration

Jose Morelli

Jose Morelli

Measuring Tools Supply Chain Director at Bosch

We recently spoke with José Morelli, Supply Chain Director at Bosch about the ways in which Bosch have used Sales and Operational Planning and an effective tool to increase collaboration, reduce cost and improve service levels within their organisation.

In 2016, the company found itself in a complex situation when looking to streamline their supply chain structure, with 54 warehouses, 10 manufacturing sites and over 50,000 customers around the world. The plan was to begin to role out a thorough and global Sales and Operational Planning process with the objective to meet the increasing demands of their customers, as well as improving their wider service level.

Moving away from a knee-jerk reaction, Bosch have changed their whole planning structure and Jose stressed the importance of the following points:

  1. Senior stake holder buy-in – it was important for leadership to see the wider benefits of the programme. They identified what the pain points were and carefully integrated them into KPIs, ensuring that these issues were clearly defined and there was a plan of attack to improve them. Senior members of the company could therefore easily see what the process entailed and how it would be implemented across the various business units.
  2. Common Goals and Process alignment – before the roll out of the new programme, the lack of alignment between different teams allowed for problems to be hidden and a lack of accountability. The new process focused on universal targets across multiple teams and all working towards a common goal. This often ended up resulting in one common consensus and had a profound effect on ensuring fewer mistakes took place.
  3. Timing – Jose states that to have an effective S&OP programme, the focus needs to be planning 2-6 months ahead of time. This allows for enough time to plan at a very granular level, understanding exactly for example when there might be a strain on certain products and therefore planning accordingly. Every month the team ‘deep dived’ into the whole process and looked at ways to make it more efficient and productive.

Every change to the Sales forecast would have a significant impact to the operational alignment.  To counter this, Bosch ensured that they looked at their whole ecosystem before making a change – analysing what impact this would have to the country, regional and global levels. This approach, collaborating globally and making more uniformed decisions, has had a positive impact to the wider Supply Chain planning process and elevated stresses too.

Jose summarised the key takeaways from the programme:

  1. The implementation phase needed to focus on people, not processes. Empowering the people who worked on the project was paramount and ensuring both the sales and logistic arms of the business had ‘one voice’ was key. This allowed for uniformity and helped improve one common goal.
  2. Training – the training was both regular and intense. Jose added that to roll out and truly effective S&OP process, it was important to know what behaviours needed to be changed and understand what aspects of the process were not efficient and therefore needed improving. Lots of time was spent specifying exactly what was wrong with the process before incremental improvements went live.
  3. Process alignment – Jose hinted at the difficulty in making processes the same and having a blanket approach, globally. Different regions ended up tweaking processes to make it fit there aeras of interest and it is this degree of flexibility that is key. However, there is a balance to be had here, ensuring flexibility within the processes but also ensuring that the aims and core messages were not lost.

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