What I Brought Back to the Office From the Best of the Best S&OP Conference

Thank you IBF and APICS for organizing a very successful Best of the Best S&OP Conference.  Our company is in the early stages of formalizing our S&OP process.   The presenters shared many great ideas that we will be able to use as we begin our S&OP journey.  I would like to take this opportunity to share  just a taste of what I learned.

Demand consensus is needed in order to achieve success. One of the lessons that I took from the conference states that the whole organization needs to work from the consensus demand in order to be successful. I also learned that there is no room for success when you second guess the demand or apply a separate variation of it.

First and foremost, I learned that it is crucially important to have top management support in the S&OP process. In addition, the concept of range forecasting is another lesson that I brought back to my office and is something we can use with our suppliers at Broan-NuTone. While we know it is difficult to accurately predict 6 months out what our true requirements for the supplier will be, we can provide some range of demand to expect.   As the planning period moves closer, we can narrow the range.  By doing so, this will give our suppliers some tangible data they can use in their planning processes.

One very important question regarding how quickly we can communicate demand changes to our tier 1, tier 2, etc suppliers was a reality check for me. I know this varies from supplier to supplier in our organization, but in looking at our current processes, we see that the communication time can be days and weeks rather than hours or days. We will be employing some new software soon that I will seek to help address this area.

Extending the S&OP process to the suppliers is something I found to be very intriguing at the conference. While we do not yet have a formal executive S&OP process , it is my hope that once we reach this point  we will be able to explore the process of supplier S&OP. I can see how it can provide real value and drive efficiencies within the supply chain.

While we are just in the infancy stages of S&OP at our company, the tips and tools I learned from this conference will be very valuable as we begin to develop our S&OP process.  I know to start with something that we can have early success on and build from there. We see the value in using an S&OP process, we now just need to start.

Matt Treder
Sr. Acquired Products Planner
Broan-NuTone LLC

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