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Audit of planning processes


A leading player in the global toys and games market needed to improve planning performance within their global supply chain to rapidly improve customer service levels and reduce costs.

The challenge

Increased market pressure, in terms of both direct and indirect competition had reduced margins and demanded a high level of product differentiation and customer service. As a result complexity and variability within their supply chain was high and existing processes no longer satisfied performance targets and customer expectations.

This resulted in several adverse affects including:

  • High level of schedule instability
  • Poor visibility of shortages
  • Out of date customer demand
  • Inaccurate capacity plans
  • Backlog of customer orders

In addition, due to the challenging market conditions, the audit was undertaken against a background of aggressive change within the business.

The solution

The business employed several manufacturing and packaging sites across Europe supporting different markets.

The review covered an audit of the planning processes between the manufacturing plants and the packaging sites to assess the:

  • Capability of the existing structure to stabilise the replenishment plan
  • Control of the short and medium term planning cycle
  • Accuracy of the information supporting the planning process
  • Ability of the systems to support the integration of demand, supply and capacity plans

The approach was to interview and shadow key planning personnel and their internal customers, as well as auditing the planning process itself. Analysing the findings from the interviews, questionnaire responses and process observations enabled a comprehensive assessment of the quality of the process and systems. These were then compared with best practice, both internal and external, to highlight gaps.

An audit report was prepared and presented to senior management for review and approval.

The key features of the recommendations were:

  • Implementation of a new planning structure
  • Redesign of planning processes and meetings
  • Restructure of the planning function
  • Definition of new roles and responsibilities
  • Training and education
  • Documentation of new processes and structure
  • Implementation of the new processes and structure
  • Introduction of cyclic scheduling to smooth production plan
  • Optimisation of planning parameters to improve plan stability
  • Introduction of key measures and metrics to support the planning cycles

Following the acceptance of the audit findings and recommendations 3Peaks managed the planning and deployment process.

The benefits

Successful implementation gave significant benefits in the following areas:

Higher levels of customer service -

  • Increased product availability
  • Shorter customer lead times
  • Reduction in customer order backlog

Cost reductions -

  • Higher resource utilisation
  • Reduced obsolescence and waste
  • Reduction in head count

Improved cash flow -

  • Reduced cycle time
  • Optimised inventory
  • Reduction in manufacturing backlog

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