When I reach the bottom of my virtual stack of white papers and research briefs on sourcing, procurement, and supply chain, I often troll for related best-practices articles on related and overlapping business processes. Scouring the Aberdeen site, I came across a recent Perspective entitled New Strategies for Sales and Operations Planning: How Technology-Enabled Best Practices Accelerate Business Results (AberdeenAccess) about, oddly enough, sales and operations best practices that can be enabled by technology.
While most of Aberdeen’s top ten technology enabled best practices were as expected and contained no surprises, I was delighted to see that not only was the need for role-based functionality and data manipulation recognized, but that demand shaping was fourth on the list.
The report notes that in addition to the enterprise security needs dealing with planning authority domain and roles, there is a need for user role specific functionality. A requirement of this function is the ability to show data in different ways based on the role, for example, unit level for the manufacturing users, margins for the finance users and revenue for the sales and marketing users. The reality is that everyone in your organization needs a different view of the data to do their jobs effectively and productively – and any product that tries to force a one-view fits all solution is not a true enterprise solution for your sales and operation planning needs.
More importantly, the report also notes that once the unconstrained forecast has been generated as part of the demand forecasting process, the forecast needs to be refined based on events such as promotions, downturns, and new product introductions. The system should predict and shape consumer response by building a business strategy that incorporates forecasting and promotional impacts into the demand plan. These solutions also should determine when and how to price and promote products – throughout a product’s lifecycle – to achieve revenue and profit objectives. A product has a non-linear dynamic lifecycle and the only way to truly maximize your return on production is to take this into account.
In order, Aberdeen’s top ten technology-enabled best practices are:
- Collection of external Sales and Market Data
- Demand Collaboration
- Demand Forecasting
- Demand Shaping
- Supply Constrained Plan
- Profit based S&OP
- What if Analysis
- S&OP Plan Quality & Metrics
- Master Data Management
- Role-based Functionality and Data Manipulation
For full details, I would encourage you to read the full perspective.