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Development of a Sales and Operations Planning process - A multiple case study of suppliers in the automotive industry

Ebba Karlsson ; Annie Ragnarsson
Göteborg : Chalmers tekniska högskola, 2014. 103 s. Master thesis. E - Department of Technology Management and Economics, Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden; E2014:106, 2014.
[Examensarbete på avancerad nivå]

Even though the Sales and Operation Planning (S&OP) concept have been around for a while it is still considered to be an increasingly important planning process in all types of businesses. Increased complexity within today’s supply chains and uncertainties in market demands are clear motives for this common view. S&OP supports the cross-functional work of developing and accepting a common operating plan. Potential benefits to gain from an S&OP process are among others improved profitability, inventory levels, on time deliveries and manufacturing downtime, due to an optimized balance of demand and supply. The fierce competitiveness within the automotive industry increases the need of effectiveness and waste reduction throughout the whole supply chain, which has become of even more importance since the economic downturn. Poor forecasting and planning processes must be improved in order to survive. This thesis is a part of a bigger project initiated by Odette Sweden and Nätverk för affärsutveckling inom försörjningskedjan (NAF), where the main purpose is to improve the forecast accuracy within the automotive supply chain. S&OP has from that project been identified as one action to mitigate the consequences of the poor forecasts sent from the OEMs to the suppliers. The aim of this thesis is thereby to develop guidelines for how an S&OP process for small to medium sized suppliers in the automotive industry should be structured. The purpose is broken down into three research questions (RQ). RQ1 is defined to map the investigated companies’ current planning processes and S&OP maturity into a framework in order to access their current situation. RQ2 is related to the FAI Analyzer tool and what use the tool can have within an S&OP process. The last question is to, from the previous answered RQs, develop recommendations for how the S&OP process should be performed for companies within the specific context. From the analysis it is concluded that few companies within this specific context have a pronounced S&OP process even though some parts of the process are performed as of today. The steps of long-term capacity checks, cross-functional plan integration and measurement of forecast quality can be regarded as most lacking within these companies. The level of maturity of the S&OP process is consequently low with limited awareness about the S&OP process. Regarding the FAI Analyzer tool, it is concluded that the tool in some cases is useful for the S&OP process, since it can improve the forecast quality by identifying systematic errors in the delivery plans sent from customers. Further, the tool can give some indications about how flexible the production capacity has to be. The main result of this thesis is concise recommendations for how the different steps within the S&OP process can be performed, i.e. “Create initial demand plan”, “Create initial production/supply plan”, “Create consensus plan”, “Implement the plan” and “Measure the plan”. Companies following these guidelines are believed to reach the third stage in the S&OP maturity framework.

Nyckelord: Sales and Operations planning (S&OP), S&OP maturity, forecast accuracy, automotive industry, automotive suppliers, FAI Analyzer tool

Publikationen registrerades 2015-02-24. Den ändrades senast 2015-02-24

CPL ID: 213086

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