A Gartner S&OP MarketScope was recently published (Payne, T., MarketScope for Stage 3 Sales and Operations Planning, Gartner Inc., 23 August 2012).
This report focuses on evaluating S&OP vendor solutions in terms of how well they would support a full deployed global Stage 3 maturity S&OP process. Per the report:
Increasingly, companies will look to establish well-designed and effective Stage 3 S&OP processes to help manage more-global and unpredictable operations, as well as revisiting existing, lower-level maturity S&OP processes in a bid to improve their effectiveness. As companies find that their operating environments become more complex and unpredictable, the need for superior supply chain performance increases.
We believe Gartner’s vendor ratings confirms our leadership position in the market for providing customers with a modern-day solution to their modern day S&OP challenges. Today's reasons for needing S&OP are the very same reasons S&OP needs to evolve — while the end objective of operational and financial alignment remains the same, in an environment of volatility and complexity, how you achieve that alignment (and maintain it) is very different than ever before. Here is what we think S&OP should look like:
- Demand and supply in a single application. Use a single software solution to tie the highest level demand signals (e.g. product family forecast) to the very lowest level raw material component, while simultaneously supporting near term planning (days & weeks) and long range planning (months & years). Having all demand and supply data in one place (including data from contract manufacturers and suppliers) enables faster and more reliable plan development as well as clearer, quicker insight into the impact of changes. When the whole organization works from one data source, there is increased consensus and fewer surprises.
- Alignment between volume and mix. Make changes to the plan at the volume level and disaggregate it to the mix level, ensuring that execution of the plan is feasible.
- Inclusion of related corporate functions into the S&OP process. Tie adjacent functions like project management, profitability management or workforce optimization to the sales and operations planning process to understand and manage the cross-functional implications of your actions.
- S&OP alignment with corporate and financial goals. Ensure that decisions are made in the context of corporate targets, so when changes happen at the operational level, their impact can be seen and understood at the corporate level.
- Rapid creation of "what-if" scenarios. What-if versions of the entire sales and operations plan can be created in seconds and can be revised as needed during S&OP review meetings, thus accelerating process times. Simulations should be able to be made on any type of change — demand, supply, product, policies or assumptions.
- Continuous S&OP. Continuously monitor plans and act on events that will put the plan at risk. Respond quickly with mid-cycle adjustments as required.
- Parallel planning and collaboration. Fully integrate supply chain planning and operations personnel, so you can bring together people across the organization best able to contribute to the resolution of a particular issue into a collaborative environment. Not only does this greatly speed up the decision process, it also ensures consensus among all stake holders—internal or external to the organization.
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