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S&OP Resources


On-site S&OP Education

S&OP Instructor's Manual

S&OP Software

S&OP Consulting


Education Courses
On-site Workshops/Classes


Education Materials

S&OP Instructor's Manual
MPS Instructor's Manual


Consulting and Research
Class A Certification
Performance Assessment
Software Evaluation and Selection

MRP II Standard System Definition
Software Supplier Directory (140K)


eSOP - S&OP Software



Recommended Books
The Right Choice
by Chris Gray

The MRP II Standard System by Chris Gray and Darryl Landvater

Sales and Operations Planning Handbook by Don Rice and John Civerolo



Master It (Master Scheduling and Lean Production)


Staying in Business with e-Business


Time to Get Serious About e-Commerce


Does Your Supply Chain Measure Up? 


The Party's Over - The Real Aftermath of Y2K 


Back to Basics


Software and Simplicity


Turning Education Expense into an Investment that Pays Off!


ERP Software: Valuable Tips for Selection and Implementation


Coca-Cola: "Always" Class A 

When The MPS Is MIA ...

Can Lean And Software Co-exist?  

Sales and Operations Planning and Lean Manufacturing

On Education and Training




Associates and Related Companies
Worldwide Excellence Partners
Partners for Excellence
Graham Barton (New Zealand)

Bill Belt Excellence (French language)

Who We Are
Chris Gray Biography
Books by Chris Gray

Workshops and Seminars

Tailored On-Site Education Programs

Gray Research Classes

Gray Research provides a comprehensive tailored on-site education program for both Resource Planning (ERP) and Lean Execution. This program is based on educational materials from an extensive library (below), which can then be customized to your specific needs.  

Because classes are based on tailoring to your specific requirements, the Individual course durations vary, as does the content. The size of the audience, your company's individual situation, and the level of understanding of the planned attendees can affect the amount of time required and the material that is presented.

Courses can be scheduled on dates and locations that are convenient to you, ensuring a reasonable investment of time and money, as well keeping "time away" at a bare minimum for key people in the organization. Courses focus on opportunities for immediate results and improved operating performance. Following the session, Gray Research can provide on-going consultation to help in applying the theories and practices, to get you on the road to success and keep you there.

Typical configurations of classes include:

Day Executive Briefing
1-Day Overview
3-Day to 5-Day Immersion

Topics can be assembled into , 1, and 3-day to 5-day sessions. For example, typical classes might include:

Executive Overview of Resource Planning and Lean Execution
Basic Resource Planning and Lean Execution Concepts for Key People
Value Stream Mapping
Creating Continuous Flow
Concepts of Kanban and Pull Systems
Sales & Operations Planning
Forecasting and Demand Management
Master Production Scheduling
Data Integrity for Improved Planning
Bill of Material Structuring
Improving Supplier Performance
Inventory Record Accuracy
Software Evaluation/Selection
Performance Assessment
Class A Assessors

Classes are assembled from the following library of topics:


Combining the Best of Eastern and Western Manufacturing Methods
Development of manufacturing management methods and systems
Planning vs execution
Integrated systems
S&OP and demand management
Leveling and the MPS
Creating continuous flow
Pull systems
Typical benefits of planning and lean execution
Lean and the Toyota Production System
Basic lean terminology you need to know

Value Stream Mapping
What is a value-stream?
What is a value-stream map?
Guidelines for mapping
Developing a current state map
What are the characteristics of a lean value-stream
Developing the future state maps
Achieving the future state(s)
Tying together lean concepts and implementation

Concepts of Pull Systems
What is a Pull System, What Part Does It Play in Lean Manufacturing?
What is a Kanban Loop?
Different Types of Pull Systems (Fixed Quantity/Variable Interval versus Variable Quantity/Fixed Interval)
Pull Systems and Demand Variability
Every Part Every Interval (EPE I) - One of the Most Important Lean Concepts
Basic EPE I calculation
Workshop - Calculating the EPEI
Workbench Concepts: Sizing the Supermarket, Sizing a Loop
Order point calculations
Order quantity calculations using the EPE I
Workshop - Loop Sizing
Minimum EPE I (Minimum Cycle) and Load Limits
Overriding the EPE I by Item
Dealing With Minimum Tooling Cycles
Loading Calculations
The Effect of Container and Kanban Quantities on the Actual EPE I
Understanding the Inventory Impact - Standard Model
Safety Stock and Container Quantities
Determining Flexibility to Respond from Safety Stock and Loading
Workshop - Loop Designer Aids

Systems to Support Continuous Flow
Principles of lean
Business objectives of lean
What is continuous flow
Ten key questions of continuous flow
Process families
Takt time
What is the work?
Pacemakers and layout
Distributing the work
One piece flow
Supermarkets or ship direct?
Cell layout
Standard work
Creating takt image (pitch)
Heijunka boxes
Connecting to customers


Sales and Operations Planning
How to develop a single game plan
The Five Step S&OP Process
Typical formats
Time fences
Defining sales and production families, translation methods
Linking the sales and operations plan to the business and financial plan
The DevSOP - integrating new product development planning
Developing a multi-tiered S&OP process
Managing inventory and backlog
Linking the sales and operations plan to detailed sales plans and master schedules
The Partnership Meeting - key to S&OP success
The final S&OP meeting - ensuring executive participation
Improving the forecast
Rough cut capacity planning to validate the sales and operations plan.
Designing S&OP software - key features checklist

Improving Forecasting Processes
Principles of forecasting: what level and detail
Integrating with the Sales and Operations Planning Process
Understanding available forecast methods and forecast systems
Proper use of statistical forecasting techniques and "advanced" forecasting software
"Best fit" forecasting methods
Validating the accuracy of historical data
When to use sales input to the forecast, and when to ignore it
Constraining the forecast because of capacity issues
Forecast consumption
Documenting assumptions
Market and competitive intelligence in the forecasting process
Simulation not statistics
Finding and fixing bias
Finding the real causes of forecast error
Budgets versus forecasts
Alternatives to forecasting
Linking with customers
The role of people in forecasting and sales planning
Who should be responsible for the forecast and sales plan
Role of Demand Managers / Forecast Analysts
Surviving inaccurate forecasts

Improving Demand Management
The role of demand management
The principles of building customer partnerships
Overcoming the obstacles to maintaining true partnerships
Efficient, effective, and timely order entry and order management
Reducing order entry cycle time
Using "available-to-promise" to make the best promises to your customers
Managing abnormal demands
Synchronizing to your customer's demand
The role of Collaborative Planning and Forecasting Review (CPFR)
Forecast consumption techniques
Properly managing finish / assemble-to-order and make-to-order environments
Taking advantage of "E-commerce"

Basic Master Scheduling Concepts
Keys to MPS
Managing where you meet the customer (make-to-stock vs. make-to-order vs. finish / assemble-to-order)
MPS Mechanics
What to master schedule
Quantitative formats and calculations
Managing time fences and horizons
Managing exception messages to fine-tune the plan
Managing Change in the MPS
Using the MPS for customer promising through available-to-promise
The MPS and Lean Manufacturing
The MPS and Capacity Management
Developing an effective MPS policy and procedure
The role of the master scheduler
The role of Sales and Marketing

Advanced Master Scheduling Techniques (2 level MPS)
Two-level master scheduling and option planning concepts
Planning bills of material
Structuring for module and option planning
Two level planning logic
What does not work
Exploding the ATP
Other consumption based methods
Integrating the finishing / assembly schedule with the MPS

Purchasing and Supplier Scheduling
The trap of traditional mass production practices
Long range supplier planning and visibility
Supplier scheduling for streamlined communication and synchronization
Simple replenishment tools such as demand pull, Kanban, etc.
Vendor managed inventory (VMI)
Managing relationships and time zones
Reducing supplier lead times for mutual benefit
Organizational effects of new scheduling practices
Working with suppliers and carriers to lower transportation costs
Total purchase costs vs. invoice price
Reducing costs and paperwork
New concepts in negotiation
Improving supplier flexibility / agility
Involving suppliers in new product design and development
Supplier consolidation
Performance measurements - constructing a "supplier report card"
Supplier certification programs

Inventory Record Accuracy
A step-by-step plan for implementing 95% inventory record accuracy in 90 days
The seven types of cycle count sample selection
Control group cycle counting
How to eliminate the annual physical inventory
How physical tools affect inventory record accuracy
When and how to limit access to inventory
Setting reasonable tolerances to focus attention on real issues
The impact of Lean Manufacturing on inventory record accuracy
The financial and operating effects of invalid data

Bill of Material Structuring
The 11 key business points (defining the business parameters that guide development and design)
Developing the right item numbering approach
Avoiding over- or under-structuring bills of materials and process / routing records
Bills of materials: what should be included and what shouldn't be
Revamping the product change process to improve timeliness and credibility
Planning bills of materials: when to use, how to structure, how to implement
Structuring bills of materials for flow, process, fabrication, and batch environments
Structuring bills of materials to support Lean Manufacturing environments
"Flattening" a bill of material
Structuring bills of materials to facilitate inventory backflushing
Integrating bills of materials and routings
"Modularizing" bills of materials to support finish / assemble-to-order products with features and options
The three approaches to bill of material audits
Monitoring unplanned inventory transactions as symptoms of BOM accuracy problems
The four critical elements of bill of material accuracy
Roles and responsibilities for bill of material audits and accuracy
Bill of material errors vs. production variances
Special considerations for process industries
Improving product change control to eliminate errors
Product data management (PDM)

Performance Measurements
Establishing critical measurements in key areas
Resource management (customer service, forecast/sales plan accuracy, production plan performance, Master Schedule performance / stability, supplier performance, bill of material and inventory accuracy, etc.)
Process reliability (production yields and outputs, supplier and manufacturing quality levels, SPC measurements on key processes, etc.)
Process complexity (average setup time, average cycle time, time to market, average transportation lead times, product flow distances, etc.)
Productivity (inventory turnover, manufacturing productivity by resource, revenue/margin per employee, etc.)
Using visual tools
Determining the best way to measure
Appropriate formulas and calculations
Establishing reasonable tolerances
Building a network of cascading, interdependent performance measurements
What to report and when
Responsibilities and accountabilities for measurement
Using software to support measurements
Uses of measurements
Changing and evolving measurements over time
Focusing on true root causes to improve processes
Avoiding "measurement overload"

Operational Excellence Self-Assessment
Auditing approach
Vital signs: quantitative measurements
Establishing critical measurements in key areas
Uses of measurements
Auditing key resource management processes:
Auditing process reliability:
Auditing resource productivity
Checklists and how to use them

Making Change Happen - Implementation Concepts
Managing behavior change
Building high performance teams
People empowerment
Project organization principles
Understanding the Project Management approach
Roles and responsibilities
"Process Owners" versus functional managers
Steps to operational excellence
Prioritizing your efforts
Major thrusts
Process reliability
Process simplification
Control and coordination
Problem solving techniques
Getting a project back on track
Monitoring progress
Measuring results
Achieving results in 90 days

Call Chris Gray at 603 778-9211 to discuss fees and how you can schedule a session at your site.  

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