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Since the e-commerce market is growing by leaps and bounds, companies need a dedicated team within the S&OP process to take advantage of it. It is a different animal and requires a different skillset and strategy to manage and grow demand. It presents major challenges and has already damaged brick-and-mortar retailers, as well as a host of different industries—publishing being a prime example. At the same time, it has provided many new opportunities to grow demand via target and subscription-based marketing.
This column is a modified version of an article I wrote, “Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) Mindsets,” published in the JBF back in April 2007. While the content is largely the same as the one written 12 years ago, it is probably even more relevant today. Back then, S&OP was not as widely used as it is now but many of the challenges of running a well-functioning S&OP process remain the same. The major recommendation here is that one should establish clearly defined roles for various functional managers on an S&OP team—ones that are based on their psychologies or mindsets. I present a framework for understanding different stakeholders’ personalities in the S&OP meeting that can foster collaboration and help in achieving consensus.
The S&OP process is one of the key decision-making forums for an organization. The conflicting objectives from various departments can prove to be a challenge, especially when seeking alignment on decisions at the Executive S&OP meeting. This article provides insight into stronger decision-making methods to support the financial and strategic goals of an organization.
If you are looking to take your Demand Planning career to the next level, gaining influence is critical to success. Achieving influence will move you from just having a seat at the table to having a voice at the table. In this article, I will outline six tactics you can use to cultivate this skill. These strategies will combine analytical, communication and relationship building skills.
Customer service leaders have direct access to a wealth of demand impacting information. They know more than anyone else how customers are behaving and any upcoming events or issues that will impact demand for any given period. The information they hold alters the shape of your demand curve, your supply requirements, financial pacing, and fill levels. Why then is Customer Service seldom included in the S&OP process? This article discusses what kind of customer information they have access to and how you can leverage it for more accurate forecasts and demand plans.
Much of the focus in the literature has been on demand forecasting for consumer product companies. There has been less written about demand forecasting for industrial product companies that market technically savvy products to businesses, largely via a direct sales force. Thus, a lot has been written about using historical, statistically based forecasts that incorporate promotional and new product impacts on demand, and that are adjusted by marketing intelligence. However, sales organizations are the major “demand-shapers” in the industrial-product industries, and what sales does needs to be more seriously considered when developing a demand forecast.
An efficient demand planning process requires integrated business plans where different business functions work together with the one-number philosophy. This often is not the case. The author of this article shares his experience and describes the best way to design and implement a process and, after implementation, how to take it to the next level. He also shares hurdles that come along the way, and how to overcome them.