Sales and operations planning: What are your objectives?

Mike Donnelly

Last updated: June 12, 2023
Mike Donnelly

How can Slim4 support my sales and operations planning process?

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An effective sales and operations planning process (S&OP) should pull teams from across the business together to ensure a harmonious supply chain operation. However, without the right direction and insight, the whole process can easily result in chaos! But how can Slim4 contribute to your sales and operations planning process?

We are often asked by our customer’s how they can refine and optimise their sales and operations planning process. In this article, we explore how Slim4 fits into the process and how our inventory solution can be used to help our customers realise their goals.

Why do you need a sales and operations planning process?

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One of the key challenges that many companies face is in maintaining good communication throughout the organisation and ensuring all teams focus on the same priorities. With no effective means of communicating, organisational silos can develop, and departmental priorities could compromise any coordinated action required to satisfy customer requirements efficiently. Ultimately, working in this dysfunctional way will eventually lead to poor customer service and lost sales.

This is where sales and operations planning comes in!

Sales and operations planning is effective when it involves people working a coordinated process, enabled at various stages by technology to meet company goals rather than personal ones. Through establishing an effective process, your business will ultimately benefit from the formalisation of a more structured supply and demand planning process which is underpinned by rules based on organisational accountability and the financial performance goals in place.

One goal, one focus

An integrated financial perspective of supply and demand will facilitate strategic thinking about your business and help reconcile the operating plan across your teams. In addition, performance indicator reports will help validate the effectiveness of each team’s planning cycle and ensure continuous quality is a key expectation of your process. As the complete solution for inventory optimisation, Slim4 can be utilised to provide the vision, insight and control required to enhance your inventory processes.

Sales and operations planning: it’s a team sport

As part of the supply chain planning process, key stakeholders from various disciplines within the company reach a consensus about the corporate strategy. The output of the process is a realignment of tactical plans throughout all departments ensuring that all activity supports of the company’s business plan.

The S&OP planning process is an instrument for dealing with changing business conditions by enabling management to decide what the entire company should prioritise each month.

Some of the key perspectives in an integrated S&OP discussion include:• Reflecting on past performance
• Reviewing upside risk and downside opportunities of demand plans
• Analysing supply constraints and planning simulations
• Understanding the fiscal impact of tactical inventory decisions

Organisations that adopt sales and operations planning quickly discover that they can operate in a more synchronised way. They understand the effect that departmental decisions have on other functional parts of the company, their customers, and the wider business. Operations that don’t apply these initiatives well, usually fail to communicate effectively and often struggle to meet business objectives and customer expectations.

Sales And Operations Planning.

What processes are supported by Slim4?

At its core capability, Slim4 helps organisations to synchronise supply and demand planning initiatives. However, when it comes to planning, our inventory solution provides a “one true vision” of aniticipated demand. However, Slim4 can also be utilised to re-plan inventory based on new priorities, formulate scenarios around product life cycles, align safety stock strategies to your customer’s expectations, and clarify the potential impact inventory decisions. Slim4’s functionality can support our customer’s sales and operations planning process in the following ways:

Product portfolio planning:

The first step in an effective sales and operations planning process is in determining which products should be stocked and which should be ordered as and when required. Slim4 provides relevant insight to ensure successful decision making around product introductions as well as for products approaching the end of the product lifecycle. By providing such insight, can help you make decisions on which items should be stocked and which items should be better off as non-stocked. Ultimately, Slim4 ensures the correct decisions are made to support business goals and streamline cash flow.

Demand Forecasting:

Given that all inventory decisions are based upon forecasts, supply chain teams must be confident that the numbers are a reliable reflection of anticipated demand. Using sophisticated exception criteria, Slim4 identifies irregular demand characteristics that could impact your forecast. Using this data, the solution automatically calculates accurate forecasts based on advanced statistics taking into to account seasonality and evolving trends. Through providing more scientific forecasts, you can be confident all decisions made during the S&OP process are based on quality forecast data that you can trust!

Promotional Planning:

Promotions require careful planning and coordination between different departments. Whether you’re launching a new product or promoting seasonal items to increase sales, the promotional planning capability within in Slim4 is designed to close the gap between your upside potential and current baseline forecast. As a result, your business becomes better positioned to anticipate promotional demand, determine the optimal order volumes and align delivery schedules; all while maximising the sales opportunity and minimising the risk of excess at the end of the promotion.

Supply Planning:

One of the main purposed of sales and operations planning is to identify and resolve inventory issues to achieve the optimal inventory situation. Slim4’s order planning functionality automatically determines time-phased inventory requirements that are economically adjusted. Slim4 also supports dynamic replenishment to help balance excess stock across locations and ensure the right amount of safety stock is on hand to meet even the most demanding customer needs without sacrificing your profits.

Optimise your sales and operations planning process with Slim4!

Slim4 provides the structure to help recognise and discover business exceptions that require review in support of your sales and operations planning process. All aspects of an sales and operations planning process concerning portfolio management, sales management, and supply management are supported by Slim4. Together they form ONE general consensus plan.

If your S&OP process is struggling to produce results, let us help you get it on track! Download the form below to find out more on how Slim4 can support you on the road to success!

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