REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – Army Materiel Command’s sales and operations planning process, recently recognized for maintaining high industry standards, is enabling senior leaders to manage 24-month forward-looking plans, informed by data and driven through staff collaboration.
S&OP allows the key stakeholders across the command – from item managers to resource managers – to collaborate and review metrics from financial projections, forecasted demand plans and supply execution plans at various levels.
“It’s really a comprehensive look of how the organization functions,” said Christina Freese, AMC’s deputy chief of staff for resource management.
S&OP helps analyze supply positions and assess demand levels, then integrate them financially. For example, experts presenting information on AMC’s supply on-hand readiness rates can collaborate with experts in resource management to ensure supplies get where they need to go and are funded.
This process is a framework that establishes a culture of oversight and improvement through a process that empowers lower levels of leadership, while closing gaps between financial planning and production.
It also places senior leaders in direct contact with problems, in order to make real-time changes in support of AMC’s strategy.
“It is a way to see yourself, and it is a way to effect the future before it happens,” said Samantha Smith, AMC’s Army Working Capital Fund division chief.
The goal is to leverage best practices from industry to integrate individual business processes in areas of enterprise-level decision-making on supply chain management. In short, the process forces reconciliation between AMC’s resource management (G-8) and operations (G-3) teams, allowing for information sharing and collaboration.
For Lisha Adams, AMC executive deputy to the commanding general, this synchronization has far-reaching impacts.
“Through the S&OP process, the G-3 and G-8 have worked together as a cohesive unit in a new way that not only informs AMC senior leader decision making and supports our worldwide missions, but also drives Army readiness,” Adams said.
In the headquarters, the S&OP process helps put pieces together, compiling data from the across the Organic Industrial Base to inform strategy and decision making. Using the S&OP process, experts can make decisions today that will impact future fiscal years. Smith said the S&OP process helps AMC and its Life Cycle Management Commands set up standards, review plans and analytics, and solve issues at the lowest level.
Through the Integrated Reconciliation Review and the Management Business Review, the command can now look at itself across 24 months. Conversations about past efforts and over explanation is now cut down to make more room for addressing future gaps and making decisions to close the gap.
In turn, AMC coaches its LCMCs to align with the headquarters. Smith said the idea is to provide insight with metrics and concentrate on where AMC is going, strategizing on the way ahead.
“If you’re going to manage a business, you have to be able to see it,” she said. “S&OP gives you that venue.”
As a result of the improved collaboration between AMC’s G-8 and G-3, along with process discipline, the command received the process’s Class A Milestone Award.
“It’s an industry standard that indicates a quality organization,” Adams said. “It’s a sign of excellence in processes.”
To receive this recognition of high industry standards, AMC was assessed by a team of graders from Oliver Wight, an international consulting company. The graders sat in meetings and assessed written documentation. The Class A Milestone Award is the only award the company offers.
Moving forward, Adams said AMC is committed to maintaining this standard of excellence and sharing best practices throughout the enterprise to enable Class A Milestone Award recognitions at each LCMC.