Leading S&OP – Beware the Dark Side

Leading S&OP – Beware the Dark Side

If you are reading this because you found StrataBridge via a Google search, you are quite possibly a supply chain professional thinking about how best to develop Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) or Integrated Business Planning (IBP) within your organisation. You may well be thinking about setting up a project, and pretty soon that line of thinking ends up with who should lead it. Obviously you know something about the subject; you’re hard working, diligent, conscientious, intelligent and a passionate believer in S&OP/IBP, so you must be the obvious choice to lead the transition team – yes?

Or maybe no. What about the dark side of supply chain people?

Let’s be honest here, wouldn’t you really like a bit of control over sales and marketing? Make sure they forecast accurately; keep to the timetable; stop creating skus which don’t sell. Perhaps you are tempted by some checklists, standard operating procedures, process flow charts and standard templates? What about a best of breed supply chain planning system? Don’t most supply chain people have some of this going on internally, even if not the full supply chain ‘control freakery’ we sometimes see.

Driving these, or any, behaviours to extremes jeopardises the quality of the business decisions and outcomes you’ll deliver. There are clues in the name of the processes. Sales and Operations Planning, Integrated Business Planning. It’s not called Operational Planning, or Supply Chain Planning, it’s a business process which should be led by commercial functions, supported by supply chain, not the other way round.

So raise awareness, get your Managing Director or President to give us a call, be part of the project team. But if you are a supply chain professional with any fear about loss of control of the process to the commercial side, don’t lead the project yourself.  As Yoda said in Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith:

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