What is S&OP?
Sales and operations planning (S&OP) is an integrated business management process through which the executive/leadership team continually achieves focus, alignment and synchronization among all functions of the organization.
A successfully run S&OP process requires different functions to closely work with each other sharing inputs and closing feedback loops. It takes into account the plans across the business functions:
- Sales plan
- Production plan
- Inventory plan
- Customer lead time (backlog) plan
- New product development plan
- Strategic initiative plan
- Financial plan.
Plan frequency and planning horizon varies across different industries. The industries facing short product life cycles and high demand volatility require a tighter S&OP than the others.
The S&OP process usually encompasses the following steps:
- The Activity Review Meeting`s purpose is to capture promotions and assumptions across brands or categories of products
- The Demand review meeting aims to capture promotions and assumptions across brands or categories
- The Supply & Finance reviews aim to do the capacity & demand gap analysis
- Country or category level meetings run reviews the scenarios built in for different assumptions & provides feedbacks
- Board review meetings limits its role to work on top line numbers and on alignment
In our experience, the clients usually face challenges in the areas such as:
- Deriving & driving a consensus plan
- S&OP process efficiency
- KPI measurements
- Cross functional coordination
- Process adherence
How can we then ensure that we overcome these challenges and transform S&OP into a strategic tool?
There are 3 critical elements to achieve this target:
- Putting the right processes in place
- Selecting the right tool
- Putting in place the right team
Thoucentric, with its deep understanding of S&OP and the technology space can help in all 3 critical areas.
Below, we have presented the 5 ways in which Thoucentric is helping its clients realize maximum value out of S&OP. Incidentally, these also constitute the key levers to drive S&OP implementation (Tools/Processes):
- Program Management You need someone with exceptional program management skills to drive this initiative. Someone who not only has an understanding of PMO but also of S&OP as a concept. He must be able to understand the business context and the key drivers for the S&OP as well. S/He should be able to do the S&OP Requirements management and change management on top of program management
- SME for S&OP process & best practices: Based on the scale of organization you need at least one SME who understands S&OP in its totality, its challenges, drivers etc. S/He should have significant experience and understanding of the industry best practices to be able to give a comprehensive view to the project team and also provide guidance to them
- Business Consulting and Strategy design team to take care of planning and to see how S&OP fits into larger scheme of strategic initiatives across the organization.
- Delivery & Deployment Management team for the overall process design & delivery of S&OP management, for deploying S&OP in agile/other methods as per business requirements, design/process review setup, and change management
- Implementation Program Management (Functional): Overall tool deployment program management, process & program expertise in implementing S&OP & agile methodology in case the client`s requirements can be met by S&OP tool. We help our clients in tool evaluation and selection as well.
Apart from our functional expertise in S&OP, we also have an in depth experience in the related technology space. Our consulting and program management teams bring in a lot of experience of working on tools such as Anaplan, SAP IBP, and JDA, among others. We even have expertise of building it on excels.
- Our Rich business & technology experience & expertise makes us effective ‘Business Liaisons’
- Through our relentless focus on successful execution along with relevant advisory, we have helped our clients maximize ROI in S&OP process and tools
- Our consulting team has worked in complex and multi matrixed environments and that helps us steer through the organization level complexities
- We have proven ourselves to be effective extension of client’s teams
- We are Nimble footed and hungry
- Highly experienced and qualified team of technology agnostic professionals