S&OP or BUST! at Land O’Lakes Company

Joseph Stackhouse

Eighteen months ago I decided I would put my job on the line if that is what would take to improve our planning processes and implement S&OP. Due to the changes required, some implementation issues, and my own actions; I must admit that I came very close to that line.  Fortunately, I survived and in the process learned some valuable lessons. We did get a few things right, but those aren’t nearly as fun to talk about.

The S&OP effort required significant change in management. We spent some time getting aligned with our leadership team, but clearly it was not enough. In hindsight, I kept on moving forward even though few were following.

We had some implementation issues with our system. Data is always a challenge in an implementation like this. We suffered with data because we didn’t get in front of it fast enough. We also suffered by over-engineering, both the system and the processes. In trying to please everyone, we pleased no one.

On several occasions, I realized that I would have been much more effective if I had taken the time to be empathetic. Not taking the time to build relationships and connections cost me significantly more time later than the few minutes I saved on the front-end. So, I hope to share a few things in San Francisco on some of the softer skills needed, particularly empathy.

I did get to keep my job so things turned out alright.  I will now be leading the implementation of our ERP implementation for the division. Again, there’s probably many lessons learned you can pickup from my journey.

Have any of you been through a similar experience? We would enjoy hearing your comments and sharing a dialogue.

Joseph Stackhouse
Director, Supply Chain / Operations
Land O’Lakes Company

See JOSEPH STACKHOUSE from LAND O’LAKES COMPANY Speak in San Francisco at IBF’s:

$795 USD for Conference Only Group!

April 28-30, 2010 (3 Days)
San Francisco, California USA

4 Responses to S&OP or BUST! at Land O’Lakes Company

  1. I had a very similar experience. Getting everyone on the same page is critical. I thought this was a pretty strait forward transparent cross functional business change but it wasn’t. We got senior management’s approval and support but that’s not enough. We also did a lot of up-front top down group education, but not enough one-on- one feedback reviews. I found the hardest team to get on board was finance. One of the major issues that I underestimated was peoples comfort zones. S&OP not only affects the overall business process but also impacts the company culture.

    Bill Niven
    Supply Chain & Materials Management Leader “In-Transition”

  2. I had a very similar experience. Getting everyone on the same page is critical. I thought this was a pretty strait forward transparent cross functional business change but it wasn’t. We got senior management’s approval and support but that’s not enough. We also did a lot of up-front top down group education, but not enough one-on-one feedback reviews. I found the hardest team to get on board was finance. One of the major issues that I underestimated was peoples comfort zones. As you know S&OP not only affects the overall business process but also impacts the company culture.

  3. I am a student in the Supply Chain program. Thanks for telling your story. I enjoyed reading your it. It has basically confirmed what I am learning in the classroom.

    Matthew Frease

  4. I am a student in the Supply Chain program. Thanks for telling your story. I enjoyed reading it. It has basically confirmed what I am learning in the classroom.

    Matthew Frease

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