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project that needs management’s attention is addressed. These discussions typically involve resource requirements, schedule attainment, or other critical issues that require senior m a n a g e m e n t ’ s attention or approval. The output from the management review meeting is the approved plan, defining the decisions made and the agreed actions to be taken. This plan will be the input to the various departments for their selected gap closing scenarios. A quick review of the meeting’s minutes is made. The minutes will move to the participants for action, to the process step leaders for direction, to the coordinators of the process steps for execution, and often to a broader audience (key suppliers or key customers) for alignment. Because of this broad distribution of the minutes and the impact that the decisions will have on the various departments, it is always good practice to review the minutes before they are published to ensure they accurately state senior management’s direction. A meeting critique is the final agenda item. The goal of the critique is to constantly strive to improve the decision-making capability of the sales and operations planning meeting. In this critique ask questions such as: Are we doing the right things? How well are we doing them? Are we on the right track to world-class performance? These are critical questions for evaluating your sales and operations planning process. The answers will reflect the current levels of performance and reveal significant opportunities for improvement. A good reference for critiquing the meeting is to follow a guide such as The Oliver Wight Class A Checklist for Business Excellence, Sixth Edition. Regular use of the checklist generates a consistent means of assessing progress, identifying problems, allowing early correction to those problems, and comparing performance against established best practices. By comparing performance against established best practices, your team will become motivated to work in a more effective manner. Colleen Crum, a managing principal of Oliver Wight Americas, recently conducted a survey of forty companies to determine the range of benefits various companies have achieved since implementing a sales and operations planning process. The results are impressive, and include: • Increased forecast accuracy 18 – 25 percent • Increased sales revenue 10 – 25 percent • Increased on-time delivery 10 – 50 percent • Inventory reduction 18 – 46 percent • Safety stock reduction 11 – 45 percent • Increased productivity 30 – 45 percent One executive recently confided to me: “For once I have a handle on the business.” You, too, can approach and even surpass these results, once you begin to follow the ‘proven path’ to successfully implement the best practice S&OP process described in this six article series. January 08 Businessexcellence 11 John E. Schorr, a principal with Oliver Wight, is one of the leading experts in sales & operations planning (S&P). Prior to joining Oliver Wight, John was involved in the implementation of MRP II at Haworth, where he was vice president of manufacturing, and Steelcase, where he was director of purchasing. Strategicmanagement

12 Businessexcellence January 08 In a recent interview with Thomas R. Cutler, Ben Ehmcke of Power Partners, Inc. details his experience in technology selection and offers valuable advice to others in a similar situation Electronickanban