A planning manager’s role
Much like an orchestra conductor guides musicians to produce a well-organised symphony, planning managers are tasked with harmonising the myriad elements of a company to optimise operational efficiency.
As a planning manager specialising in sales and operations planning for one of Jamaica’s most prominent manufacturing companies, my team and I are entrusted with ensuring the production of the many high-quality products within our portfolio. Our ultimate goal is to achieve the most crucial role of any supply chain: making our products available at the right place, at the right time, in the correct quantity, at the right price, and at the right quality.
From procuring raw materials and converting them into finished products to finally dispatching finished products to our distributors, planning managers are integral to the entire network of activities that ensure business continuity. While not directly responsible for hands-on work at each level, we are vital in planning and coordinating these activities, ensuring all measures are in place to achieve our planning objectives.
The planning manager serves as the strategist at the centre of Red Stripe’s operations goals, constantly asking crucial questions: What are our goals? What are we capable of achieving? What resources do we need? Are we on track? What challenges might hinder our progress?
Our focus extends beyond sales targets to encompass a holistic view of the organisation. We assist in creating a balance between meeting financial targets and long-term business sustainability. Aligned with Heineken’s evergreen strategy for a net-zero carbon footprint, our ambitious efforts to achieve zero waste to landfill across all production sites by 2025 drive most of our sustainability initiatives, contributing significantly to the sustainable development of the environment in which we operate.
Building on the excellent contributions of those before us, I am proud of my team and my contributions to the company’s internal and external sustainability efforts through an amplified Returnable Packaging Material (RPM) framework. We must remain diligent in strategising and guiding the action plan, understanding that market returns significantly impact production investments, and support business continuity in a nourished, thriving environment.
My planning team diligently tracks RPM efforts on a weekly/monthly basis, gathering significant data, identifying trends, and providing valuable insights to help our management team make informed decisions. Our guidance has contributed to the success of initiatives like “Red Cycling”, enhancing market returns, and sustainability.
Despite challenges, we have implemented measures with a long-term perspective, aiming to achieve lasting benefits. Recent positive impacts, particularly about our bottle returns, demonstrate the success of these initiatives, leading to improved circulation time and stability within our business operations.
As a planning manager, my team and I are helping to future-proof Red Stripe, harmonising resources and strategies to compose the symphony of operational excellence and sustainability progress.
In the initial stages of improving sustainability efforts within companies, it’s crucial to recognise the importance of embracing substantial investments, understanding that the long-term returns far outweigh the initial costs. It involves posing pivotal questions among your team: How are our actions impacting the environment? Do these actions align with our values? Are we proud of this impact? Moreover, it necessitates focusing on immediate and long-term aspirations â€” defining clear short-term goals while envisioning broader, enduring objectives.
Use the above-mentioned questions to best guide your decision-making process, and let’s all collaborate on intensifying environmental sustainability on a national level.