During the past year, all of the major analyst firms have started tracking Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) closely. Why is this the case? After years of being viewed as one of many important processes adopted by best-in-class CPG companies, companies in all sectors of the economy are now realizing that effective balancing of supply and demand mst be done at a strategic as well as a detailed level. Moreover, the maturation of the data and infrastructure available to execute S&OP now makes it possible for companies to achieve this important goal.
Moreover, the current economic crisis is forcing companies to manage demand against supply much more tightly and effectively than ever before. The net result is a burgeoning market for consulting and software firms tapping into this demand. While only a handful of companies such as Steelwedge Software are truly dedicated to supporting this vital, strategic process, many other companies – mostly in the supply chain space – have jumped on the bandwagon and are now offering solutions and services in this area.
So what is the analysts view? The answer is surprisingly divergent. While some analysts see S&OP as a generic term for a monthly executive supply-demand review process, others look at it in a more nuanced way. Some analysts have dissected it by industry whereas others view it as function of organizational maturity.
In any case, we are extremely glad to see that the world is finally elevating S&OP to the level it deserves as the driving strategic process that integrates executive management and corporate strategy with operational tactics.