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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

S&OP (Sails & Operational Planning) – Defining Customer Service

Posted by Michael Thompson on Mon, Aug 02, 2010

We finally got going (sailing that is) yesterday when the wind dropped to a breezy Force 4 on the beam (that’s from the side) - wonderful sailing weather.  And it was marvellous – whizzing along at 7-8 knots.

Mind wandering territory again ... blogging duties ....

Defining customer serviceAs I had to fall back onto Plan B the day before, that involved absolutely no sailing whatsoever, I started to think about Sailing & S&OP again.  Are there any similarities or was I just going stir crazy waiting for the wind to drop?

So here again are the basics:

The demand side – I have an eager family (customers) waiting to be satisfied. 

The supply side – I have a boat to transport said family.

I have a plan to sail to Italy & back.

So what about measuring our success?  What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to our trip?

First let’s define the customer – easy - wife & children.  Done.

Now there is customer service & satisfaction.  How do we measure that?  How do I keep my wife & children ‘satisfied’ and on a boat?  Mmmm?  Surely this is Noble prize territory if I can crack it.  Tricky – leave it for now.

On the other hand, how do I keep the costs to a bearable minimum?  This is sailing after all, & as I think Ted Heath once said (I paraphrase) – sailing is like taking a shower with £20 notes. 

So I am left with the dilemma of balancing (optimising) customer service & cost.  So there is an S&OP comparison after all.  S&OP is all about such optimisation. 

Let’s try to define the tricky issue of customer service.  Consider today’s passage from Port Napoleon eastwards – no specific destination in mind.  I hereby present a ‘Customer Service KPI Hierarchy’ for the sailing fraternity. 

  1. Arriving before the shops close (really wanted to get to Marseille but decided upon Sausset-les-Pins as trip shorter & family started to get fed up after about 3 hours) – Mike awarded maximum points, family happy & satisfied. 
  2. Arriving today (in Marseille) – Mike awarded some points (Port Napoleon was getting tiresome after all), family content but green around the gills. 
  3. Arriving this week – Mike awarded zero points as fed up to the back teeth with Port Napoleon.  This was supposed to be a sailing holiday & although no control over weather, I should have thought of that before deciding upon a sailing holiday.  And it cost a lot of money .... 

More later ... I am warming to the theme, if not to the task in hand .... satisfying the family that is.


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Tags: Customer service, Michael Thompson, KPI, S&OP, Forecasting & Demand Planning

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