Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) has become mainstream these days but many organisations still do not execute it very well. In the beverage company with which I am working, we have found much room for improvement. We thought that sharing some of our observations might help other readers to think about their own processes.
For S&OP to be effective, we first need to recognise that it is a process, not just a single meeting, and it must be sponsored by top management, who must also attend the S&OP meeting. If carried out properly, S&OP should provide the agreed plan that helps ensure that supply meets demand.
In our case, the process simply was not what it should have been. Although there was an S&OP meeting, it was really just a pre-S&OP meeting, where Marketing and Sales simply asked Production whether it could support the adjusted plan prepared by the marketing and sales people.
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