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Title: Implementing sales and operations planning in an electronics company using an action research approach
Author: Faffelberger, Josef
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 0793
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis researched the implementation of Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) in a multinational electronics manufacturing company. The organization where the research took place was experiencing continuously worsening performance in demand and supply planning and decided to implement S&OP in order to increase its competitiveness by improving performance. This thesis worked with three research questions: first, the research aimed to identify challenges to the S&OP implementation; second, the research targeted to address the challenges by identifying action steps to ease the S&OP implementation; and third, the research aimed to measure the short-term impact of implementing S&OP on performance metrics. The conceptual model for this research was built based on different S&OP maturity models developed by scholars from the scholar and practitioner world. The research was conducted by using action research methodology and used qualitative data to answer the research questions. Action research was a suitable methodology to conduct this research from the inside of the organization as the researcher was a member of the organization for the entire duration of the research. Interviews and focus groups were the main qualitative data collection methods used while gathering actual sales data versus demand forecasts was used to evaluate the impact of S&OP on the company's performance. Conducting action research ensured the relevance of the outcomes from this research for the organization where the research was conducted in. The interviews revealed issues in terms of planning processes, organizational change and cross-functional alignment, while the focus groups identified relevant action items to mitigate the effects of the identified issues. The results from this thesis showed that the company was struggling with inefficient and ineffective processes, as well as the absence of a process owner. Other issues found were resistance to adopt changes, leadership gaps and an overworked staff. Lastly, this research also found problems in communication, cross-departmental problems and goal conflicts. The results showed that the problems were addressed through trainings, the collaborative creation of an S&OP process map, the appointment of an S&OP process owner, the usage of change agents within teams to increase support, the ramp-up of the workforce, the development of S&OP meeting structures and agendas, and performance metrics alignment. The metrics observed during this research indicated improvements to the company performance, however, due to the limited number of observations collected these results have to be considered with caution.
Supervisor: Morales, Lucia ; Higgins, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral