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Insights: Sales & Operations Planning Process Pillars

I have been researching, speaking, and writing about Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) for over 15 years and in that time I have seen the industry increasingly embrace the process. I

By ·

I have been researching, speaking, and writing about Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) for over 15 years and in that time I have seen the industry increasingly embrace the process. I have also noted an unsettling trend: The process has been subjected to too much hype and now appears to be positioned as too complicated, unwieldy, and costly to implement. Often times consultants and technology providers push too much technology and overly complicated processes. While indeed an important process, S&OP is simple.

The process merely involves conducting a set of periodic cross-functional meetings to develop consensus-based, aligned (i.e., matched) tactical supply and demand plans. Getting a working process started is tantamount to successful implementation, as this provides a firm foundation upon which to build the use of sophisticated methods often needing more technology—such as advanced planning and scheduling, the use of Big Data (e.g., upstream/downstream signals), and risk management techniques. 

Ten “Foundational” Success Factors
Exhibit 1 depicts a list of 10 “foundational” S&OP process success factors. The factors deal with meetings and the support needed to conduct them. None deal with technology per se because technology enables businesses processes—and as a process—S&OP may not need much as long as it ultimately leads to consensus, accountability, and commitment to supply-demand plans. The factors are described below.

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Download Article PDF

I have been researching, speaking, and writing about Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) for over 15 years and in that time I have seen the industry increasingly embrace the process. I have also noted an unsettling trend: The process has been subjected to too much hype and now appears to be positioned as too complicated, unwieldy, and costly to implement. Often times consultants and technology providers push too much technology and overly complicated processes. While indeed an important process, S&OP is simple.

The process merely involves conducting a set of periodic cross-functional meetings to develop consensus-based, aligned (i.e., matched) tactical supply and demand plans. Getting a working process started is tantamount to successful implementation, as this provides a firm foundation upon which to build the use of sophisticated methods often needing more technology—such as advanced planning and scheduling, the use of Big Data (e.g., upstream/downstream signals), and risk management techniques. 

Ten “Foundational” Success Factors
Exhibit 1 depicts a list of 10 “foundational” S&OP process success factors. The factors deal with meetings and the support needed to conduct them. None deal with technology per se because technology enables businesses processes—and as a process—S&OP may not need much as long as it ultimately leads to consensus, accountability, and commitment to supply-demand plans. The factors are described below.

SUBSCRIBERS: Click here to download PDF of the full article.

 


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