hi attendance at the partnership meeting are all the disciplines that have a contribution to make to the planning process. This contribution could be an input to decision-making or will be on the action end of decisions. This would typically include the following: manufacturing (operations), R&D (technical discipline), sales and marketing, and finance. While others could participate, these are typically the primary players.
This step in the process is typically chaired by the materials manager or someone in a similar position. It takes place over the course of one day and may be divided into different segments, determined by product family definitions. This segmentation is so that the detailed discussions of one product family don't unnecessarily waste the time of many uninterested parties.
The objective of this session in general is to sift through the multitude of detail separating the important from the trivial. Proper actions for the trivial issues are settled at this meeting, but the important (or policy issues) are brought forward for executive deliberation. The specific objectives for this meeting should include the following:
•Agree on issues and/or problems that can be solved at this level.
•Recommend changes that involve policy issues.
•Propose alternative solutions and consequences for those issues that can't be decided at this meeting.
•Select alternatives and bring forward to the executive group.
•Prepare an agenda for step 5 (executive meeting).
•Run third preliminary set of S&OP reports.
This meeting's purpose is quite simple—make clear decisions about how to run the business from a policy point of view. It is important that clear decisions be made, and that the proper homework be accomplished. Among those present at this meeting to review and finalize decisions should be the following: president, VP sales/marketing, VP operations, VP engineering, and VP finance. The president should chair this meeting. The specific objectives follow:
•Review decisions made by lower levels.
•Resolve disputes (select alternatives).
•Make clear policy decisions.
•Lead management development through this process.
•Publish actions and hold people accountable for performance.
•Run final set of S&OP reports.
A manufacturing company today can no longer operate without fully integrating its business processes. No longer can the factory be disconnected from the sales/marketing functions. We have entered an age of demand-driven economies, where we must learn how to only run what is needed rather than run as much as we can to optimize output.
This direction of integration begins with the Sales and Operations Planning process. S&OP is the process that connects the marketplace to the factory at the policy or aggregate level of the business. Effective management requires the proper application of the techniques described in this paper. Only those who learn how to use these techniques effectively shall survive the '90s.
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