Integration of Demand and Supply possibilities in the Sales, Inventory, Operations Planning leads to success in overall business management The methods developed in Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) are well known, and well proven in the general field of supply chain management. Yet, many companies still struggle to really see, understand, and benefit from the full impact of this typically monthly alignment process to gear the supply chain to superb performance, meeting the always changing market needs. The first challenge is to establish the process as such, to get all relevant paricipants as delegates of their functions, to participate in a regular, and prepared way. To take it serious, see the value, and have them engaged and motivated. Second challenge is to have the right set of information, so that the participants have compatible data, and do not surprise each other by presenting some information out of a “magic source”. Many companies have mastered this challenge by all participants working real-time in the same data environment. Third challenge is to find the right mode for making decisions. This involves clarity for decision processes within the meeting, and also regulations and definitions for decisions which need a different setting to come to the right decision. In this context, a good scheme of escalation procedures is vital to keep the process, and its results, on track. Another challenge is to find the right frequency, the right regional and organizational scope, and the suitable reach of the time horizons. Although monthly cycles and 12 months of reach are most common (some use 2, others 3 months cycles), it needs to fit to the needs of the business. And linking local, regional, and global operations also requires a specific solution to bring the intended value for the business. And, finally on the “top-item-list”, general management needs to agree to the scenarios presented, the insights and findings, and also support the results, and decisions made. Ideally, top management sees this process as a means to reduce the many firefighting meetings happening manifold, and also replaces many of the “regular reporting meetings”. And on this basis manages the whole value chain, and the company, on the back of this highly vital process. From an IT enabler perspective, there is nowadays a high number of solutions available, each with specific strenghts, and application advantages. It is also not only about the numbers, but increasingly about the communication to come to the numbers and insights. Therefore advanced tools also include elements of social media to replace cumbersome E-Mail- Communication with embedded (and conserved) on-line communication possibiliites.
Customer  integration Production  flexibility Supply reliability Demand management KPI /  Performance  management SC Organization Integrated Business Management Inventory management Logistics management S upply chain planning  Order progress monitoring