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Sales & Operations Planning



Sales & Operations Planning


Global designer, manufacturer and supplier of refractory bricks and services needed help to develop a Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) process.


  • Design and implement a Sales & Operations Planning process for the NAFTA region.


  • Established a Sales & Operations Planning process for the Steel division focused on the NAFTA region.
  • Developed a dashboard to monitor Sales and Production performance.
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Case Study

Design & Implement a Sales & Operations Planning Process


A global designer, manufacturer and supplier of refractory bricks and services for the Steel, Cement, Glass and Non Ferrous industries in NAFTA, Europe, APAC, South America and MEA engaged The Highland Group to develop a Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) process focused on the North American market to ensure appropriate inventory (current levels were considerably higher than expected) and working capital constraints could be maintained. While raw material mining and production plants are present around the world, production planning is managed centrally and sales are managed on a regional continental basis.

Highland Approach

Highland reviewed the production planning process in Central Europe and the sales and inventory planning processes in NAFTA. A “strawman” S&OP process was developed based on analysis findings and was piloted in NAFTA and shared with the other regional Sales organizations. The results and lessons learned from the pilot and comments from other regions were amalgamated into the model, which was then piloted once more within NAFTA. Following the successful completion of the second pilot the process was confirmed and a “Play Book” was prepared for rollout to the other regions.

Actions Taken

  • The Highland Group partnered with client teams to develop and implement a new Sales & Operations Planning process for the NAFTA sales region.
  • Conducted focus interviews and workshops to develop “As Is” process maps and roles and responsibilities charts.
  • Held workshops to establish root causes and barriers for excessive inventory and developed activity plans to address these issues.
  • Reviewed reporting and meeting effectiveness.
  • Developed and piloted a “strawman” S&OP process, then re-piloted an amended process.
  • Prepared rollout training material for the new process.
  • Developed a Sales and Production performance dashboard to monitor: forecast accuracy; days forward cover of finished goods inventory; production plant efficiency; and, production plant service delivery.

Established 14 initiatives to remove or mitigate the root causes of excessive inventory in the NAFTA sales region

Related Information

Head of Organizational Development

Don is an internationally recognized organizational change and development expert with 33 years of global experience in partnering with results-oriented clients to achieve sustainable behavioral change and targeted bottom-line results in productivity, quality and profitability. He is recognized for fostering high levels of enterprise-wide sustainable performance improvement ownership. Don’s key strengths include his ability to engage stakeholders at all levels, create collaborative environments and work within the culture to achieve leadership, management and employee breakthrough results.

Project Leader

Sales, Marketing & Consumer Products

North America

Bill is a senior project leader with more than 20 years of hands-on experience in assisting multinational companies by deploying his expertise in Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management tools, tactics and strategies. He has deep expertise in sales and marketing improvement, supply chain optimization, fixed-cost reduction, channel management, total production management, balanced scorecards and post-merger integration.