Rick Blair

VP, Solution Design & Analytics

Rick directs and manages software implementation, project management, solution design and consulting services in the areas of S&OP, Integrated Business Planning, Demand and Supply Planning, Forecasting and Statistical Analysis.


Posts by Author

The Role of Statistical Forecasting in S&OP


The collaborative nature of sales and operations planning (S&OP) begs the question: Do we need a statistical forecast? Is the “best-fit” engine a dinosaur that ought to be relegated to the past? Many companies ask these questions as if there is just one answer—yes or no. Progressive companies understand that statistical forecasts add value if used in the right […]

Integrating Finance to Achieve S&OP Success


Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) has become a more prominent process employed by world class organizations to drive improved collaboration, strategic decision making and bottom-line results.  Establishing collaboration between Sales and Operations is no easy task.  Functional objectives differ and incentives often pit functional leaders against one another.  Sales strives to maximize revenue.  Operations seeks […]

Is there a battle between S&OP and IBP?


In her post, “ENOUGH!”, Lora Cecere states that Integrated Business Planning (IBP) and Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) are in a “battle of acronyms” and that this “holy war cannot be won”. I agree, let’s not get stuck on names. At the same time, the S&OP/IBP debate is a happy consequence of the fact that S&OP remains […]

Top 10 Mutant S&OP Terms


Looking back over the year that was 2010, I jotted down several terms which struck me as interesting twists on some familiar terms.  Some of these twists were intentional mutations while others were totally unintentional.  My favorites tend to be of the unintended variety.  Here’s my Top 10 S&OP list of terms from 2010: 10.  Key […]

Working Together: Bottom Up and Top Down Forecasting


An effective S&OP program depends on solid, accurate demand forecasts. Best practice companies do three things well: statistical, top-down and bottom-up forecasting. Many companies are doing one or two of these, but few are doing all three well. Of course, some companies do none. Let’s just say these companies have a huge upside improvement potential. A statistically generated forecast should […]

For S&OP to be successful, do all functional areas of organization need to have the same goals/objectives?


S&OP presents many challenges to business enterprises to implement and sustain a world-class S&OP process. One common thread is the need for effective collaboration. What sounds simple, in general terms, is often difficult when the details come into play. Details may include different goals and incentives for disparate functional groups and individuals and inadequate tools […]

Boost S&OP with Top-Down and Bottom-Up Strategy


Have you lost faith in Sales forecasts? Does Sales consistently over or under estimate future sales activity? A multi-billion dollar global manufacturer is struggling. Two divisions of the company are at odds on how best to achieve world class forecast accuracy. Regional sales account representatives provide forecasts well above historical sales levels. Why? Because inventories […]

Oil Spills, S&OP and Chicken Boots


“It’s all about getting more chicken boots…fast.” Unexpected events can have a profound impact supply chains.  Take the BP gulf oil spill.  Nobody could have predicted this event, the length of time needed to stop the flow of oil or the impact on surrounding communities.  A disaster which continues to impact many thousands of lives. […]