The Problem With Key Person Dependencies In Your Midterm Planning

Midterm planning doesn’t often get the attention it deserves. Serving a crucial function by transforming a good sales and operational plan into an achievable short term schedule with good plan stability and adherence, it could be the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to maximizing your organizational value.

However, it’s rarely that simple. For many manufacturers, relying on the skills and knowledge of a single person to carry out manual processes is almost inevitable. The more technical the task, the more likely is that you have an individual that you’re dependent on to carry it out. This is what’s known as a key person dependency.

Why should you avoid key person dependencies?

At first inspection, you may think that it only makes sense to have a key person dependency to manage your midterm. After all, why waste time and money training everyone for the role when only one person is needed to carry it out?

However, issues such as multiple key person dependencies could mean that each key person has their own individual approach to tasks, increasing problems like risk, a lack of standardization, bottlenecks, higher costs, and reduced efficiency and collaboration. And, in the context of midterm planning, many organizations ultimately lose the benefit of their forecasts because they don’t have an effective way of translating them into effective scheduling.

Not only that, but if one of your key people leave, they take all their knowledge of their manual process with them. The cost of recruiting and training someone to take over is an expensive and time-consuming task, and there’s a risk that your new recruit will have to start creating their own version of processes from scratch.

This problem of key person dependencies can appear in any kind of organization, but it’s most common in large, decentralized corporations. Decentralization complicated matters further, by causing variations in processes and problem solving between plants.

Luckily, there are many ways to avoid key-person dependencies, including the implementations of automation to support your team and reduce the need for manual activities associated with midterm planning.

What solutions are there?

One of the best possible solutions is intelligent automation. By automating some of your key manual activities, you can more effectively support your team and free them up to do other activities, some of which can include strategic value-added activities.

Replan’s intelligent production planning solution integrates with existing planning tools and adds a layer of intelligence so it can even understand the changeover costs and times in the midterm.

Benefits of this include:

  • Frees your team up to do other strategic value-added activities
  • Train new people quicker and easier
  • Smooth out variations in problem solving and processes across plants
  • Standardised processes in organizations where manual tools like Excel and whiteboards are common

The result? Your organization can significantly improve the accuracy and predictability of forecasts to reduce risk and enhance value.


Midterm planning is key to ensuring success, but key person dependencies can be a problem. If key people have individual skills that are key to carrying out manual activities and shaping the processes behind them, then the risk of key person dependency looms large.

However, with automation comes freedom from biased manual processes and the key person dependencies they cause. This makes it much easier for teams to be able to support each other and can mean key people are freed up to do key activities that add key value.

I hope this article has provided you with clarity on some of the fundamental problems commonly encountered by our clients. If you would like to find out more about how you can maximize value through intelligent production planning, book a call.

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