My initial exposure to the impact of the Sales & Operations Planning process was perhaps the single most important experience in my career. I was a marketing manager at the time … the stereotypical caricature of genetically optimistic unaccountability. When my counterpart in manufacturing promised to make as much ice cream as I projected we’d sell, I recoiled in horror. “Whoa,” I remember saying, “that’s just a forecast. There’s no way you should make that much product.”
Fortunately, I joined the company just as management was about to launch a Sales & Operations Planning process. None of us knew what we were doing at first, but thanks largely to our implementation of Demand Solutions, and the S&OP guidance we received from our Oliver Wight consultant, we developed and nurtured a Sales & Operations Planning process that transformed the company. I was able to see the impact of my forecasts against our budgets, on our production plans, and within our seasonally-constrained capacity … and our team finally began to manage the business with a remarkable degree of objective collaboration. Our success inspired me to start a business to sell Demand Solutions software and assist companies with their forecasts, supply plans and Sales & Operations Planning processes. After being at this for a lot of years, I continue to learn every day, and I’m happy to share those experiences and the lessons that I’ve learned.
If you’re involved in, intrigued with or affected by Sales & Operations Planning, I hope you’ll consider watching an on-demand replay of a one-hour webinar that I did with Industry Week on May 12, 2015. Titled “S&OP: A Journey from Chaos to Prosperity,” this webinar attracted more viewers than other Industry Week webinar in recent history. I promise to keep you engaged as well as informed.
Hopefully the ideas and experiences that I’ll share will help you launch or transform Sales & Operations Planning at your company. Better yet, my sincere hope is that you’ll pick up a useful idea or two that will help transform your career.
You can access the webinar recording here: S&OP Webinar.