A lot of these ideas are garnered from established consultants in the domain and not necessarily my views - thought it would make an interesting read for all stakeholders. Credit is due to Anaplan and Accenture, among others.
A long time ago, Planning was a "back office" function where Planning team members (with inputs from Sales & Marketing) built the "most accurate" bleeding edge Demand Plan with point forecasts and threw it over the wall to S&OP / Supply Planners. Everyone debated whether the number was accurate and then it was frozen for the rest of the processes to take over......boring, huh ?
And then, more recently, companies have started adopting a new view to Planning and times have changed. Visilogix (www.visilogix.com) is trying to help clients here.
Some of the views from experts:
- S&OP is a workflow, not a process. Implying it needs to get done.
- Cross-functional participation ("Pod") is the right way to build the Demand Plan and S&OP. Its a range, not a point estimate.
- S&OP cycles have shortened and some companies are running a view .....daily. Yes, not monthly.
- Touchless Planning implies a single source of truth and no more spreadsheets - how we wish this would prove to be true !
- Planning automation in terms of fully automated transactional activity and self-learning systems (AI/ML) are seen in the horizon.
- Decision Memory of stored events, decision and context, self learning algorithms will enable organisational learning and so move from Scenario Planning to Scenario Learning through reflections.
Indeed, the clock speed of S&OP is increasing with point 3 above. However, while it does not necessarily improve the S&OE cycle, the increased lead time enables more flexibility and responsiveness to better S&OE.
A recent study by State of Connected Planning (SoCP) and Anaplan reached the following conclusions:
- 9/10 Managers believe Planning is critically important and over 7/10 believed it critically impacted revenues and C-SAT.
- Similar count felt that it took weeks to incorporate market changes into plans and over half the plans were not implemented due to time lag (co-ordination -> action)
- Supply chain leaders need to make faster decisions enabled by technology by getting better technology and making decisions faster.
Time to reflect and act. Lets change the S&OP workflow together.