This company manufactured complex products, incorporating digital and mechanical technologies. It competed on innovation and time-to-market. Many details of product design were established late in the launch process, and often evolved significantly in the early months of production. The innovative nature of the products made it difficult to predict demand with any accuracy. To add to the challenges, some products used critical long-lead-time components from monopoly suppliers. For historical reasons, the company had very few people with operations management experience in relevant industries on its staff. The company suffered from poor plan attainment, slow stock rotation, and high levels of stock writeoffs.
This project had more to do with culture change than anything else. The company had grown rapidly from small beginnings, and had a culture which emphasised adaptability, speed, enthusiasm and improvisation. It had reached the point where this was no longer enough to satisfy its customers. Stephen Scott helped the company to develop supply chain management processes which imposed some sort of structure on information flows and decision-making, without significantly reducing the company's agility and time to market. Areas requiring a non-textbook approach included:
- Master Production Scheduling / Sales & Operations Planning
- New Product Introduction and Design / Process Change Management