- On February 10, 2016
- plan, planner, planning, supply chain, supply chain management
At the year-end we usually assess our achievements. Were we so good in our vocation that we welcome the New Year satisfied with us and our team?
Every firm when drawing the line sees the results from the monthly efforts, from the new projects, from the team work and takes its lessons.
I see with pleasure how the Bulgarian small and middle companies learn more and more, apply the good world practices and go ahead with bigger steps. For these companies the most difficult is to react on market peaks – to growths and drops. Thus when December is coming (the period with high sales) for the operational staff of production and trade companies comes a period of exhausting work, many nerves, fear not to miss orders, etc. The same story repeats around Easter. If the firm is positioned in a seasonal niche it faces the same challenges but during the whole season.
The big question is how to deliver or produce the exact quantity which to be enough for fulfilling all customer orders and after the peak period not to have materials on stock. The biggest role here belongs to the Planner who of course does not work alone, he works with all departments.
The companies succeed to structure and implement a normal working regime because their owners have the will to progress but also have the eyes to see problems and the ears to hear the experts’ advices. These companies are small and middle sized and the common among them is that during the growth they did not have time, resources and knowledge to build structure, rules and procedures. Respectively there was no time for planning too, time was dedicated to sales and marketing. In peak periods (Christmas and Easter) their workers have worked 10-12 hours per day. The denouement comes with having a Planning function in the organization. This person not only unites the information among the departments but also plans the materials, machines, human resources, activities, etc. It is important the position to be real, not formal. (if the position is formal, the Planner is just a writer, the rest is done by the general manager or the owner).
As we know, on operational level, the difference between big companies and the small/middle sized business is limited to a plan and discipline to follow the plan. It doesn’t matter how big the company is, in which sector it operates, the principles for internal organization and synchron among the departments works everywhere. The steps for achieving this are simple and affordable to anyone:
1. Choose your development path.
Every company owner knows what he wants in business. Thus the first step is almost banal but it is important to have it on paper – this is the milestone for further development of the firm.
2. Select your organization model.
This is also easy – there is much literature on the topic. If you want you may ask external experts too, who may point the differences among the different organization models.
Do not mislead yourself by copying a certain model, because your company is unique. Do not also accept defeatist opinions that you cannot apply any model because your company is so “special” on this planet that it must discover the how water now or work in chaos 1-2 more years. Do not hurry in the selection of a model, discuss it, think over it and when you recognize it, go ahead without stepping back.
3. Build a team for the change.
This is the most important part. Your success depends on your team players selecting. You must work in a team. The team may consist of you and one expert, but you go ahead. Do not leave anybody to fight alone for the change because you will be disappointed and will lose energy in vain.
4. Create the rules.
You manage your company and if you want the employees to work even when you are not there, create rules. And then everyone should follow the rules – without exceptions, excuses, withdrawal.
5. Plan your activity.
Just after the above conditions are fulfilled you may proceed to planning and it will give results. For its successful implementation you need (in this cohesion):
- Discipline by all employees
- Every employee to know his responsibilities
- A Planner
- Weekly/monthly meetings for fine-tuning the sales, deliveries and production plans
- Analysis and reporting
- Corrective actions
After implementing the planning as a function, many small and middle sized Bulgarian companies:
- Increased their sales because they managed to fulfil the orders of all customers
- Optimized their cash flows because they knew how much money they would spend every month for the following year
- Reduced the man turnover because the employees worked 8 hours per day, without overtime; and when a worker wanted a vacation, he was allowed to use it even in December
- Earned more money because they focused on the more profitable products
This is the biggest prize for well-done job: everybody to be happy.
And this prize deservedly is given to the Planner, who has united the efforts and capacity of the company and together with the whole team has built Success.