Operational planning is an outline of goals and objectives that a company creates in order to reach those goals. It contains an elaborate document containing responsibilities that the team members need to follow to understand and achieve those goals (Towbin et.al. 2018). The key elements of an operational plan that the organization crafts include a clearly defined vision or goal of the organization. This is followed by breaking up the smaller goals and assigning team members, budget and resources to be used to implement the plan. After the plan is successfully implemented, regular reports have to be collected to monitor how the plan is working. Finally, the plan is refined if necessary to attain the desired goals. In this paper, an operational plan will be developed focusing on sales in the food and beverage industry which will include a contingency plan for disruptions as well.
The first goal of the industry will be to increase the sales of packaged foods. The increase in sales of beverages including soft drinks and energy drinks is another goal that will be achieved.
The target for the sales of packaged foods that include instant noodles and chips is an increase in sales by 15 percent than the last year. The sales target for beverages including soft drinks and energy drinks will be an increase by 10 percent than the last year.
The target audience will include teenagers, college students and working professionals.
Demand and supply trends of the previous years will be obtained and the target will be set. Sales promotion, advertising, and merchandising will be used to attract customers. Sales promotion will aid in the increase of sales by stimulating consumption and purchasing of goods (Familmaleki Aghighi and Hamidi 2015).
Advertisement through social media platforms will increase sales. The target customers can scroll through those platforms and get instant information about new launches and discounts (Fadhilah 2020). Sales promotion tactics include food coupons, discounts, and offers, for instance, buy 2 get one free.
The due date for achieving the set goals is by the end of December 2022.
Every business requires formulating a contingency plan along with an operational plan for different work operations in an industry. Catastrophic disruptions can be dealt with if the industry has a contingency plan formulated before the operational plan is implemented (Obrenovic 2020). The food and beverage industry is dynamic in nature and disruptions often occur in the supply chain of the industry. External Environmental Factors like pandemics can also lead to disruptions in sales (Chowdhury et.al 2020). The contingency plan is prepared and provided in the table below.
Reduction in sales due to pandemics. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, health restrictions have been imposed. The consumers cannot physically shop for groceries and foods items which might bring down the sales.
There is a high probability of sales plunging due to the health restrictions. Consumers will refrain from physically visiting the stores in fear of contracting the virus.
The sales of packaged goods can be shifted online. Websites can be created beforehand to cater to the consumers through online delivery. Collaboration with efficient delivery partners can be undertaken to deliver perishable goods that can be delivered within a short span of time.
The website will be available for operation as soon as health restrictions are strictly imposed. Delivery partners will be contacted as soon as the websites are ready to operate.
- The goals for the organization will be articulated. Most of the sales goals involve revenue maximization. Another goal may be to increase sales volume and cater to more consumers and target a wider area. The most important of the goals will be selected and focused on.
- The market trends will be analyzed to determine the strategies accordingly. The demand and supply data will be collected and the sales goals will be formed. The target audience of the industry will be selected. Fast foods and soft drinks are mostly consumed by teens and children as well as young adults. Instant food items are mostly consumed by office-goers and college students. These are the target audiences for the industry and sales improvement tactics will be targeted on these customers.
- Advertising and sales promotion tactics will be used to promote the products. New launches will be advertised through social media platforms that will engage the targeted audience. Social media can aid to increase sales as individuals are always scrolling through social media platforms and they can get the notification about new products or discounts almost instantly.
- A team will be arranged to manage the sales operation. The team will be in charge of collecting reports on the performance of certain products in the market and revising the strategies accordingly to improve the sales of goods that are facing lags. A budget will be formulated that needs to be allocated for the plan. The budget will cover the salaries of the employees assigned to the team, the advertisement costs, and miscellaneous.
- After the budget allocation is completed, the plan will be implemented.
The first step will be to identify the areas that need to be monitored. Certain areas in the plan that might need monitoring are quality of the product, cutting costs, improvement of employee efficiency, and customer satisfaction. For measuring the performance, it is essential to identify the key indicators of progress that will aid to take action and review the plan accordingly (Hulthén Näslund and Norrman 2016). The indicators are lag indicators and lead indicators. The next step will be the comparison of the actual performance and the planned performance. The two main measures are demand-related measures and supply-related measures. Data will be collected by the team assigned for the operation on the demand and supply of the items in the market and will be compared with the forecasts done for the year for accuracy. In the same way, supply data and forecasted data will be compared to measure the accuracy. The plan will be reviewed and changes in the plan will be made to cover up variances that might occur in the data. The monitoring of the performance will be done with the help of charts and histograms. The sales of food and beverage items can be monitored through a run chart that can measure the changes in sales weekly. A histogram will be used to measure the number of complaints received from consumers on certain food items.
It is essential to be clear with the communication of strategies with the team members as miscommunications might occur causing hindrances in the operation of the plan. At the time of communicating strategies to the team, the main objectives and goals have to be focused on (Mcguire 2020). A visual presentation will be effective to deliver the strategies and make communication easier and more effective. The strategies to be undertaken can be presented in the form of slides and bullet lists while communicating them to the team members (Kernbach Eppler and Bresciani 2015). Graphs and charts will be used to provide an idea about the data collected on the previous year’s sales and the market conditions. This will enable the team to understand the scenario and act accordingly. Any disparities that might occur in the sales data, strategies can be revised after consulting with the team. After the visual presentation, feedback will be taken from the team members and their insights on the chosen strategy measures will be considered. The plan will be revised with the inputs of the team members and the strategic plan will be developed and implemented.
Areas of underperformance include failure to listen to consumers' complaints on products being sold, a conflict between team members that reduces the efficiency of the team as a whole. An underperforming member can also lead to disruptions. To combat the underperformances that might occur, certain actions might be taken that include adaptive action, corrective action, or preventive action. An adaptive action is taken when the environment of the operational plan changes or the performance standards do not meet the objectives. A corrective action plan is taken to remove any influences that might disrupt the operational plan. To increase the efficiency of the team members, performance gaps have to be addressed (Behar n.d.). Appropriate training, coaching, and counseling will be done to improve the employee's efficiency if the worker shows signs of underperformance.
An operational plan on sales has been developed that will be implemented to achieve the sales goals of the industry. A contingency plan has also been included as a backup for possible cases of disruptions that might occur at the time of implementation. Effective ways of communicating and consulting the strategies to the team members have been addressed. Areas of underperformance have been identified and possible measures to combat them have been recommended.
Behar, N., n.d. How to Manage Underperforming Sales Reps. [online] Salesreadinessgroup.com. Available at: <https://www.salesreadinessgroup.com/blog/how-to-manage-underperforming-sales-reps> [Accessed 9 March 2022].
Chowdhury, M., Sarkar, A., Paul, S.K. and Moktadir, M., 2020. A case study on strategies to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic in the food and beverage industry. Operations Management Research, pp.1-13.
Fadhilah, M., 2020. The Influence of Social Media on Sales Performance. Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA), 10(1).
Familmaleki, M., Aghighi, A. and Hamidi, K., 2015. Analyzing the influence of sales promotion on customer purchasing behavior. International Journal of Economics & management sciences, 4(4), pp.1-6
Hulthén, H., Näslund, D. and Norrman, A., 2016. Framework for measuring performance of the sales and operations planning process. International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management.
Kernbach, S., Eppler, M.J. and Bresciani, S., 2015. The use of visualization in the communication of business strategies: An experimental evaluation. International Journal of Business Communication, 52(2), pp.164-187.
Mcguire, S., 2020. How to Communicate Strategy To Your Team Effectively - Venngage. [online] Venngage. Available at: <https://venngage.com/blog/communicate-strategy/> [Accessed 9 March 2022].
Obrenovic, B., Du, J., Godinic, D., Tsoy, D., Khan, M.A.S. and Jakhongirov, I., 2020. Sustaining enterprise operations and productivity during the COVID-19 pandemic:“Enterprise Effectiveness and Sustainability Model”. Sustainability, 12(15), p.5981.
Towbin, A.J., Perry, L.A., Moskovitz, J.A. and OConnor, T.J., 2018. Building and implementing an operational plan. Radiographics, 38(6), pp.1694-1704.
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