Many organizations today are implementing various continuous improvement techniques to manufacturing areas to reduce cost and waste as well as decreasing cycle time. There is value to apply these techniques to business processes to improve the effectiveness of the process. Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) is a critical business process and therefore is a good candidate to consider for continuous improvement.
The benefits of focusing continuous improvement efforts on the S&OP process are numerous including reducing the time required for participants to collect and organize the information required as an input into the process. This element can save time for critical team members within the organization. Another benefit is to increase the value that is perceived by the participants of the S&OP process thus improving the active participation of the participants of the process.
Some examples of continuous improvement items that can be used for S&OP are the implementation of an S&OP meeting scorecard and critique form. These tools allow the facilitator of the S&OP meeting the ability to measure the current state of the process and the impact that various recommendations for improvement can have on the S&OP process. These continuous improvement items can also be applied to all S&OP process monthly meetings such as the Demand Review and Pre-S&OP meeting to have alignment throughout the monthly cycle of meetings. These tools will be reviewed in more detail at the upcoming IBF’s Supply Chain Planning & Forecasting Best Practices Conference.
We have seen great improvement to our S&OP process and increased support of the S&OP process from key stakeholders by implementing many of their improvement ideas raised from the feedback forms. These ideas have ranged from meeting structure to the meeting forum such as improving the conference capability and visibility of information for participants that conference in for the S&OP meeting.
There are critical agenda items that will not change as part of the process but there are new items that can be included to obtain the most benefit from the S&OP process. There are still opportunities for improvement but as the facilitator of the pre-S&OP and S&OP meetings, it is critical to drive the team forward through motivation to improve the process.
Director, Supply Chain and Purchasing
Accucaps Industries Limited
See TODD DUNN Speak at The IBF’S: