A Comprehensive Planning Process

Let’s take a look at two traditional processes and then consider what you can do with PlanningForce

The Traditional “Horizontal” Process:
Orders Steer the Planning Process

This process is most often encountered in firms that have developed expertise in the management of complex requisition orders. It emphasizes the role of the project leader who has to take care of orders from A to Z.
order process optimization
Advantages Disadvantages
This planning mode requires a detailed description of order phases and operations, as well as budget analysis determined on the basis of standard time delays and costs This mode pays little attention to resources and their effective utilization; this results in what are sometimes large disparities between what is forecast and what really happens
Firms that give priority to this kind of process put project leaders in positions of great responsibility as they are the ones to ensure that orders are filled appropriately, in terms of quality, cost and deadlines Giving priority to projects and operations to be carried out often hinges more on the influence of the project leader within the firm than on rational decision making.
Production and logistics constraints are rarely taken into consideration
This planning mode has a tendency to occasion:
• an increased number of project leaders
• (overly) systematic recourse to subcontracting and overtime
• non-optimal management of supply and logistics

Finally, it is short-sighted with respect to opportunities which the sales force could put to good use if they had greater visibility of how resources are going to be used and of the resource capacities which the firm could mobilize.

The Traditional “Vertical” Process:
The Department Steers the Planning Process

This process is most often encountered in businesses that pride themselves on strong business expertise. The departments in which this business expertise expresses itself are able to organize their activities with a high degree of autonomy.
Department performance
Advantages Disadvantages
Here the desire to maintain quality affects how work is organized and operations are carried out This mode creates tension between departments as they tend to blame one another if mistakes or defects surface
Because it has autonomy, the department can optimize its scheduling by combining tasks, perhaps even part of logistics and supply This mode can create bottlenecks and therefore can yield losses both upstream and downstream
It makes it difficult to consolidate data across the business as a whole, resulting in red tape and delays in decision-making processes
This planning mode tends moreover to occasion:
• an escalation in the number of operational resources (human and material)
• a form of protectionism among department leaders with respect to their associates, and even with respect to the processes and technologies used, a situation that makes it very difficult to question anything, to maintain productivity benchmarks, etc.
• the erection of communicational walls between departments

The finalization of new products or solutions that require close cooperation between different departments within the firm is, in this case, more onerous and takes longer than in a “horizontal” process.

Finally, this mode is not in the strict sense of the term customer-oriented, because it implicitly gives preeminence to fulfilling operations over the fulfillment of a whole, which is to say, of the requisition order.

The PlanningForce Process:
Our Quest for a Global Optimum Guides the Planning Process

PlanningForce’s planning process transcends the divisions and disadvantages occasioned by traditional planning processes by finally giving the firm the means to manage and control the organization as a whole.
Corporate performance management methods
Advantages over a “Horizontal” Process Advantages over a “Vertical” Process
PlanningForce’s process links departments closely to order planning and takes into account real resource capacities as well as the overall workload relative to orders already in progress and orders yet to come Here responsibilities are made clear: the project leader is in charge of specifications and the validation process of the stages orders go through; departments are in charge of carrying out work in accordance with these specifications, which moreover were approved by them in the planning phase
PlanningForce provides what is needed for greater objectivity in decision making and arbitration (for example, at the level of task prioritization), which helps bring about a sense of equity and to develop a sense of working together PlanningForce automatically minimizes bottlenecks and smooths out workload so as to increase overall productivity and thereby reduce production time and real costs
All constraints (including on logistics and purchases) are integrated with requisition orders, either directly at the time they are ascertained or, otherwise, through uncertainty coefficients PlanningForce promotes the harmonization of concepts, the standardization of nomenclature, models and processes, which eases communication between stakeholders and helps consolidate data throughout the company for the purpose of creating reports and analyses
Moreover, PlanningForce’s planning processes promote:
• a sales process that is both “customer-oriented” and yet seeks to grow the firm’s profit margin
• an optimization of internal resource utilization and a rational utilization of external resources
• more rational hiring strategies, most notably in terms of a reduction in the number of project leaders in favor of “program managers”
• more rational strategies with respect to purchasing and incoming and outgoing logistics
• a more rational IT investment strategy

A Process that Integrates Decision-Making with Operations: PlanningForce is the next generation of M.E.S

From the board of directors to those who carry out operations, every actor within the business rediscovers the real meaning of the word “collaboration”

The Steering Cycle

The steering cycle determines at what point in time, in what order, and by whom steering actions must be taken.
Recommended planning cycle for a PMO
In the way it is sequenced, PlanningForce’s steering cycle can be compared to a PDCA cycle (Plan - Do - Check - Act) or a “Deming wheel”. With PlanningForce, the PDCA cycle is applied at all three levels of company steering, and is enhanced by a simulations phase which allows for testing a variety of solutions or scenarios prior to validating and publishing the schedule.
The duration of the steering cycle is a function of the firm’s specific characteristics. In particular, it will vary depending on the average duration of operations, the rhythm at which new orders are introduced, uncertainty in determining how long production will take, how often problems crop up or change requests are made, the size of the organization, the time horizon of the current order log, and so on.

The Company’s Steering Committees

Each level of steering is led by a specific committee that meets at a frequency determined by the steering cycle.
value chain and supply chain optimization
Strategic Steering is led by senior management. Its planning horizon extends out 2 to 5 years. Meetings are generally held every trimester. With PlanningForce, since systems data are updated continuously, the preparatory work for these meetings is minimal.

Tactical Steering is led by department and program management. Its planning horizon extends out from one month to one year. Meetings are generally held bi-monthly.
This committee handles arbitration that leads to prioritizing orders and operations as a function of both operational constraints and the expectations of the different stakeholders.

Operational Steering is led by activity managers. Its planning horizon extends from one week to one month. Meetings are generally held daily. These meetings focus on monitoring and managing changes and incidents.

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