Accelerating a mining company’s sales & operations planning process and information flow by definition of cross-departmental procedures and precisely defined roles and responsibilities

MiningCo’s Sales & Operations planning process lacked in the interface between sales, production and logistics department. As a result, cross-departmental decisions were taken based on an incomplete set of information and in an unsatisfactory time scale leading to waiting times for customers and highly reactive production and logistics operations.

By working closely with client´s management as well as involved departments RCG could install an independent Supply Chain Management department. Clearly defined organizational structure and processes with appropriate roles and responsibilities enabled MiningCo to standardize decision-making processes and streamline Sales and Operations planning. 

The full story

The situation

MiningCo faced the problem of constantly “firefighting” in their production and logistics departments to satisfy the orders of their customers in full and in time. Information about date and time of order pickup by customer was not shared in a standardized way leading to fragmented information spread over several responsible persons in charge. Complexity was even increased due to long-term delivery contracts with fixed yearly sums wherefrom customers were conceded to pickup any volume by short-notice.

Roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined and split between sales and production department and a position of interface as single source of truth was missing. Instead many isolated applications have arose over the last years and the single channels of communication were not coordinated sufficiently.

Our approach

Prior to the main project RCG´s proven 2 weeks S&OP Quick Check was conducted to get a first understanding of our client’s needs in the current situation. Thereby interviews with main persons in charge of the S&OP process were conducted to evaluate maturity of their planning strategy, operational processes, organizational structure, information management and controlling.

Based on the outcome of the S&OP Quick Check our team could focus on MiningCo’s individual weak points and agree in close cooperation with our client on a four-step approach:

1. Execution of expert interviews

  • Expert interviews with all persons involved into S&OP process
  • Deepen understanding of main problems and weaknesses in S&OP process

2. Data analysis

  • Analysis of the quantity of delivered products for main customers and key products
  • ABC-XYZ classification of main customers and key products
  • Root cause analysis of strong variations in quantities delivers

3. Process analysis S&OP process

  • Process analysis for main plants
  • Process analysis of reaction to short-term changes and interfaces

4. Organizational structure & procedure definition

  • Definition of organizational structure and internal information flow
  • Definition of organizational procedure for S&OP process
  • S&OP KPI-system for continuous screening and improving of the S&OP process
  • Concept for IT support adapted to optimized information flow

This four-step approach enabled us to identify reasons for our client’s main weak points and consequently developing and implementing countermeasures and solutions to eliminate these in a sustainable way.

Our recommendations

We developed an optimized organizational structure with clear roles and responsibilities and strongly recommended to install an independent Supply Chain Management function as interface between sales & operations department. Additionally, we defined a standardized organizational procedure and information flow for main plants, based on concrete thresholds we could derive from our data analysis. To enhance controllability and track continuous improvement we developed a KPI system as well as a concept for supporting IT applications, leaving space for further supplier and customer integration. 

The result

With RCG’s detailed transition and implementation plan MiningCo was enabled to promptly install a Supply Chain Management function and adjust its organizational structure and procedure according to our recommendations. The Supply Chain Management is now the interface between Sales and Operations department and responsible administrator and coordinator of all relevant information exchange between departments. Additionally, the optimized structure is reinforcing the European collaboration on a group level.

To secure a long-term benefit for MiningCo beyond finalization of the project we trained and empowered selected employees to overtake the data analysis we ran during the project to be able to  provide results to the management also in future.