The beauty of a well-executed plan

February 19, 2010   by Richard Kunst

Meeting a plan is a thing of beauty and should not be accomplished by accident. Too much energy is wasted reflecting on failed executions rather than moving forward. A solid capacity and staffing plan (CSP) will help you avoid becoming a professional variance manager.

A CSP is your first cut at converting dollars into units (what makes sense to the organization). Create it outside of the system in an Excel spreadsheet showing all of the sales forecasts and breakdowns of available manpower and requirements for various value streams.

Looking forward three months accommodates planning for human capital adjustments, re-assignments and cross training, and allows you to make calculated decisions about overtime requirements. Looking back at the prior month’s performance will help you plan to define your demonstrated output.

The CSP is a very powerful document from several perspectives. Completing it within the first week of the month for review with the leadership team allows you to examine the following:

• Accuracy of forecast to actual

• Calculation of demonstrated takt time versus plan

• Pro-active manpower planning

• Impact of new product/program introductions

• Improvement strategies

• Promotional opportunities

Associated support systems that can either feed or be fed by your CSP include:

• Plan for every part (PFEP), to recalculate your kanban and storage requirements.

• Plan for every machine (PFEM): machines should undergo productive maintenance, and if there is a constraint, look for opportunities to enhance capacity.

• Plan for every employee (PFEE), to gauge the impact of scheduled training.

• Product/program realization, to determine development is progressing through a gated process that covers commercial viability, product definition, process definition, validation, continuous improvement and feedback.

Targets require granular definition for communication to the organization through daily report-outs. This distributes accountability to the folks tasked to help make and meet your plan.

Although report-outs deliver many benefits—both tangible and intangible—another important element is the use of run charts that track the same items measured within the CSP.

Developing your initial CSP requires some effort, but once established you’ll find it’s a great planning and review tool.

Richard Kunst is president and CEO of Kunst Solutions Corp., publisher of the Lean Thoughts e-newsletter.E-mail

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