Share Your Insights: Participate in Supply Chain and Manufacturing Research


supplychaininsightslogo_220x125tSteelwedge has been privileged to work with Lora Cecere’s Supply Chain Insights on a variety of research projects. The goal of Supply Chain Insights is to conduct and openly share top-notch industry research among the supply chain community. In order to do this, it counts on supply chain professionals to participate in its surveys. 

We’d like to invite you to share your insights by participating in two of Supply Chain Insights’ current open surveys. Completing these surveys will take just a few minutes of your time, and Supply Chain Insights is currently offering all survey participants a one-hour phone call with their research leaders to review the results.

Supply Chain Risk Management Survey: Click Here to Respond. 

  • What is the state of risk management at your company?
  • How does it compare to what it was five years ago and what you expect five years in the future?
  • What techniques do you use to manage supply chain risk

For Manufacturers, Retailers, Wholesalers/Distributors/Co-operatives and Third-Party Logistics Providers. This survey closes the evening of Friday, March 28, 2014, so you must respond today!

Digital Manufacturing Survey: Click Here to Respond

  • Will 3D printing and digital processes re-invent manufacturing?
  • Where are companies on the path towards using digital manufacturing technologies?

For Manufacturers and Retailers who manufacture products.  Specifically those in supply chain, IT, manufacturing, corporate social responsibility and business leadership roles.

Please take a few minutes to answer these surveys, and let us know your thoughts on these topics in the comments!

Making a Smart S&OP Technology Selection: Are You Prepared?


Lora Cecere, Founder, Supply Chain Insights

Lora Cecere, Founder, Supply Chain Insights

Steelwedge is excited to host a webinar with Lora Cecere, founder of Supply Chain Insights, on Thursday, May 27, at 9:00 am PDT/12:00 pm EDT entitled “The Why and the How Guide to Making a Smart S&OP Technology Selection.” Click here to register.

While sales and operations planning (S&OP) has been around for 30 years, there remains significant opportunity for companies to fully benefit from it. Many manufacturers “get stuck” at the supply/demand balancing level and never progress into Integrated Business Planning (IBP). Why? It’s because the vast majority of companies still use Excel and manual efforts to drive their S&OP processes.

While no company will ever completely abandon spreadsheets, those who attempt to achieve S&OP maturity with only disconnected processes and solutions will never drive truly collaborative, scalable planning. The alternative lies in selecting the right technology to power S&OP to the next level.

In this webinar, Lora Cecere will provide direction on:

  1. How the right S&OP technology can render big business benefits
  2. How S&OP technologies have changed over time
  3. How to select the S&OP solution that best fits your requirements
  4. How to avoid the pitfalls of implementation

Join this session to understand how technologies have changed and how you can select the solution that best fits your requirements.

Who should attend:

  • S&OP and Supply Chain Leadership
  • Demand/Forecast Planners
  • Business Planners
  • Heads of IT
  • Anyone involved in or leading an S&OP RFP project

We hope you can join us for what will undoubtedly be an informative and interactive webinar. Click here to register today.

In the meantime, what is your best advice for making an S&OP technology selection? Let us know in the comments.

Women in Supply Chain: Is The Gap Narrowing?


Michelle Jones, Vice President, Alliances, Steelwedge

Michelle Jones, Vice President, Alliances, Steelwedge

By all accounts, the gap between men and women in IT is narrowing. (At least that’s what I hear.) I read article after article stating roles and salaries for women in IT are on more of an equal footing with our male peers than ever before. That is GREAT news and might just be because women are starting in tech earlier and earlier.

This Huffington Post article, aptly entitled, “Will Women Dominate the Tech Field?” states that women outnumber men for the first time in a UC Berkeley Computer Science course. It might seem small, but it could be the start of something very big. If you like pictures—and who doesn’t?—check out this infographic from Women Who Tech to see just how and why the walls are coming down.

I’m personally thrilled to see women excel in technology. Not because we’re women, but because we possess an equally valuable skill set as our male counterparts and have just as much to contribute. The more IT talent there is out there, the faster the advances in areas like cloud computing, enterprise software and supply chain.

So, if the numbers are really trending in the right direction, I have to ask why research shows women only occupy 10 percent of supply chain leadership roles? A January 2014 article in Supply Management cites that figure from an SCM World review of Fortune Global 500 firms. Staggering.

I am a female executive in supply chain, albeit serving that industry versus managing supply chain operations, and I can’t get my arms around that number. I haven’t attended a product demo in recent history that did NOT include female management team member, so I needed to delve into this further.

What I found is interesting and made me feel a little better.

  • Mary Barra, GM’s EVP, Global Product Development & Global Purchasing and Supply Chain topped Fortune’s esteemed “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list in 2013. Not too shabby!
  • LinkedIn boasts approximately 20 groups dedicated to women in supply chain. I bet that number was much smaller a few years ago.
  • SCM World held an event just last month dedicated to identifying those lessons learned by women who have risen to the top of the supply chain profession featuring a cast of exceptional female supply chain leaders from BP, Starbucks, Mars, Cisco, Colgate-Palmolive and more.  That’s some pretty serious cross-industry female talent guiding impressive, global organizations.

Finally, Supply & Demand Chain Executive came out with its 2014 “Supply Chain Provider Pros to Know” list last week. I was thrilled to make the list along with two of my male colleagues. And, candidly, it was the catalyst for this blog post. I was pleased to see the number of women recognized as individuals who support clients and this community to prepare for supply chain challenges in the year ahead. While not quite as dire as the 10 percent figure above, it’s clear we need more women in the ranks.

What can we do to promote more women in the supply chain profession? Here are my recommendations:

  1. Be a mentor. If you are a woman in technology or supply chain, pay it forward. Mentor a young woman looking to break into the field. There are global, national and local organizations to help facilitate that, or you can simply offer your experience to someone in your network.
  2. Don’t focus on gender, focus on ability. That’s my two cents, and it’s worked for me throughout my career.
  3. Reach out to the experts. There are some fabulous men and women in supply chain who are ready, willing and able to share their knowledge and guidance. Here are links to a few of the folks I admire the most in the field. If you don’t follow them, you should.


Lora Cecere
: Founder of Supply Chain Insights
@lcecere; @SCInsightsLLC and http://supplychaininsights.com/

Peter Bolstorff: CEO & President of Supply Chain Excellence
@SCEsupplychain and http://www.scelimited.com/

Cindy Jutras: President, Mint Jutras
@ERP_cindyjutras and http://www.mintjutras.com/

Seema Phull: Partner, NorthFind Partners
http://north-find.com/

Kevin O’Marah, Chief Content Officer, SCM World
@komarah and http://www.scmworld.com/

Thanks for reading. If you have comments, questions or gripes, please do share them in the comments. I welcome your feedback.

 

The Most Important Performance Measures to Watch in Your S&OP Process


This blog post was co-authored by Jan Veerman and Freek Aertsen, Partners at EyeOn Solutions. EyeOn Solutions is a valued Steelwedge Consulting Partner

S&OP is hot! Looking at the number of publications regarding sales and operations planning (S&OP) the last couple of years compared to the gross domestic product (GDP) growth, we see an increase of the S&OP publications when the growth of the GDP is declining. Less sales drives companies to look at parameters they can influence: their S&OP processes.

S&OP and GDPS&OP and integrated business planning (IBP) are getting more attention. According to the Gartner S&OP Maturity Model, companies are struggling to promote their S&OP processes from Stage 2 (Anticipating) to the next stage (Collaborating). An astonishing 67% of the companies cannot get beyond Stage 2!

So we know it is difficult to manage and mature the S&OP processes. But are we completely left without tools, tips or tricks to make the best of what we are doing right now? Of course not, there are elements to improve in the processes. It all starts with measuring the performance of the important S&OP processes.

Most important performance measures to watch in S&OP processes

What indicators are important in the S&OP processes? A lot! So we have to select the most important ones. Generally, in a make-to-stock environment, these are the most important measures to watch in your S&OP process:

1. Service Level

2. Forecast Accuracy

3. Stock Level

4. Factory Performance

Four S&OP Measures to Watch1. Service Level

The service level measures the performance of the whole logistics organization in meeting the customer service expectation. On Time In Full (OTIF) can measure the service level, and to reach a good OTIF level, all the functions of the supply chain have to work at their best level.

2. Forecast Accuracy

Forecast accuracy (FA) measures how well the company forecasted the demand compared to the actual demand afterward. The better and more consistent forecast accuracy is, the better the supply chain can handle the expected demand (resulting in lower stock and higher service levels).

Forecast error can be measured in many ways. The most popular are Mean Absolute Deviation (MAD), Mean Absolute Percent Error (MAPE), cumulative error and average error or bias (E).

3. Stock Level

Cash is king nowadays! Suppliers want to have their supplies paid at delivery, while your customers extend their payments terms. One way to deal with a possible shortage in cash (because it is also difficult to lend money), is to free up money invested in the stock levels.

By predicting the demand more accurate (see forecast accuracy) and actively managing the stock levels, a reduction of these stock levels can be achieved and generate the valuable asset: cash.

4. Factory Performance

The performance of the factory can be measured according different measures, like CLIP, RLIP or LAP.

Confirmed Line Item Performance (CLIP) is a performance indicator measuring delivery quality, meaning the percentage of order elements that was delivered at the date as committed to the customer.

Requested Line Item Performance (RLIP) is a performance indicator for the degree in which market demands could be met, measured as the percentage of order elements that are delivered by the company at the date requested by customers.

With the factory performance measures as mentioned above, the overall performance of the internal processes can be monitored and give the ability to look for improvement areas.

Integrated software solution

We briefly touched what we believe are the four most important measures to watch in the S&OP processes. Of course there are many more measures to watch, but we need to start somewhere! Start with your journey to become one of the 33% of companies that made the transition to Stage 3 in the Gartner S&OP Maturity Model.

But processes alone will not do the trick. In order to measure, monitor and react, you need also to have systems in place to facilitate these processes. These systems need to be agile to the same extent that the processes do.

Old-school S&OP software packages tend to take too much time to implement, adjust to the specific needs of the customer, and changes to the software afterward are a source of frustration. Truly integrated Cloud tools can make the difference here. Cloud tools have no hardware to setup and maintain and leverage the data already in your operational systems by connecting to the cloud solution, which comes with predefined calculations, analyses and reporting capabilities.

Steelwedge offers a solution that supports a true integrated approach in managing the supply chain, internally and extended to your suppliers and customers. With the discussed four most important measures to watch in your S&OP, supported by tools like Steelwedge, you should be able to make the leap to the next phase in the S&OP maturity model and reap the benefits: better performance, lower stock levels, increased availability and happy customers and partners in your supply chain.

For more information, contact Jan Veerman – Partner, EyeOn Solutions at jan.veerman@eyeon.nl and Freek Aertsen, Partner, EyeOn Solutions at freek.aertsen@eyeon.nl.

Game On! Sony Plans for Biggest PlayStation Launch Ever With Steelwedge


Sony PS4In the world of video-game consoles, the Sony PlayStation is undoubtedly leading the pack. In January 2014, PlayStation 4 (PS4) sales were nearly double that of its nearest competitor. The release of new game consoles comes years after their preceding versions, so significant planning goes into the launch by their manufacturers.

Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) launched the much anticipated PS4 in November 2013. There was high complexity inherent to readying the system in time for the make-or-break holiday season; allocating to the right reseller channels; assembling the right combination of accessories and game bundles; and ensuring the product launches at right price point. Sony used Steelwedge integrated business planning software to connect all the crucial people,  processes and data to help it navigate their biggest launch ever—delivering an anticipated approximately 5 million units in the coming months—without cannibalizing the ongoing PS3 business.

The Steelwedge services team helped fast-track Sony’s internal planning process with the
implementation of the Steelwedge solution in a phased approach. The first phase incorporated demand planning and an executive engagement phase of the total sales and operations planning (S&OP) life cycle.

Phase two involved synchronizing Sony’s new forecasting strength via supply planning and collaboration with Sony corporate suppliers and telescopic planning. Telescopic planning is a Steelwedge feature that enables easy movement between weekly and monthly planning periods, allowing Sony a much closer, more frequent look at impacts to its supply and demand.

“Without the insights we gained from Steelwedge on channel and bundling optimization and well as potential PS3 cannibalization, we wouldn’t had as powerful a launch plan,” said Sree Vaidyanathan, SCEA’s  Director of Business Applications. ”Months ahead of the launch, we sold out $1.7 million in pre-orders. We are planning to sell approximately 5M units of the new PlayStation 4 console by April, and we are more confident in that forecast due to Steelwedge.”

Increased visibility from consensus planning at SCEA translates into better:

Profitability. SCEA forecast accuracy improvement from 60% to high ~90% immediately
drives better profitability—ensuring the right goods at right time and right place. Now,
Sony has enough data insight to push platform and SKUs to channels, more intelligently.

Market Share. Better consensus planning, powered by Steelwedge, helps SCEA make better supply/demand tradeoff decisions, due to more reliable data. The faster to market, the better the market share potential.

Scalability. The cloud-based solution from Steelwedge allows Sony to power its process
in scope with its evolving market.

Risk Mitigation. The proven, secure Steelwedge platform limits Sony’s IT exposure to
risks around data, business continuity and security.

To learn more about Sony’s implementation of Steelwedge, read the full case study here. Do you have any best practices to share around using the S&OP process to enable a successful product launch? Share your insights in the comments section!

Why won’t Sales participate in our S&OP process? Five tips to get Sales in the game


Change is a challenge. Implementing sales and operations planning (S&OP) is a massive challenge. We put recurring processes in place with meetings scheduled months in advance. We gather vast amounts of data and force it into predefined buckets. And we expect diverse functional groups to talk with one another and arrive at a consensus plan. But despite the most diligent efforts, every practitioner of S&OP—even those who are even best in class—encounters obstacles to true collaboration.

So, what’s blocking collaboration? Each functional group may have differing responses to these questions, based on their priorities:

  • Are we planning in units or dollars?
  • What’s our planning horizon?
  • What level of detail is needed?

In the table below, goals differ between functional groups. Sales wants to maximize revenue, thinks in dollars and is focused on the near term. The Operations group wants to know what to manufacture, when it’s needed and where it needs to go. Operations is focused on minimizing operating costs, thinks in units and is looking at the medium term. Meanwhile, Finance is trying to maximize profit, manage cash flow, thinks in both units and dollars and is focused on a much longer horizon.

Goals of Sales, Finance, Operations

So then, is it surprising that Sales does not want to participate? Here’s what we’re asking from Sales:

  • Provide your forecast much further into future
  • Tell us specific products you will sell
  • Tell us number of units of each specific product
  • For each product specific unit projection, tell us into which months they fall
  • And, by the way, if you don’t sell to meet your forecast, we’ll have a conversation about that, too

So what’s a salesperson to do? Well, the first inclination is to resist. “I gotta be out in the field, lookin’ my customer in the eye. I don’t have time to give you a detailed forecast.”

As an organization that sees the value of sales and operations planning, we must conquer the “Get me outta here” reaction. Mandating sales participation may be necessary, but that’s not enough. The organization needs to allow salespeople to do what they do best…sell. That means making S&OP easy and helpful to Sales.

Here are 5 tips for bringing Sales into the S&OP partnership:

  1. Provide a starting point. Salespeople are much better adjusting a forecast than creating one from scratch. The starting point can be a statistical forecast based upon historical demand.
  2. Make it easy to enter forecasts. Allow salespeople to enter their forecasts in a user-friendly tool. The tool should allow users to view actuals and forecasts at desired level of aggregation. That is, allow roll up of values by customer, by region, by product family or other levels as defined by planning hierarchies. Then spread the aggregate forecasts across the all other levels using sound business logic. The planning tool does the heavy lifting, not individuals.
  3. Share the value of a better S&OP plan. A more accurate consensus plan will translate into better customer service levels and improved customer satisfaction. Yes, it really works, and increased satisfaction usually bodes well for increased sales.
  4. Set realistic and achievable sales targets. S&OP requires one plan that the organization agrees to execute against. Sales should use the same approach to set sales targets. Stretch goals are fine provided it’s clear that these go above and beyond the S&OP plan.
  5. Put the thumbscrews away. Measuring forecast accuracy is a great way to learn from the past and make improvements. It should not be the means by which to call out underachievers. If a salesperson’s actual sales are significantly and consistently under or over forecast, look into what may be driving that behavior. Does the company demand stretch goals and set commission plans at levels that are unlikely to be achieved? Is the salesperson reluctant to share leads for fear of being held accountable if she does not close the deal?


Sales participation is critical for S&OP success. Make it easy and non-threatening and the challenge may become less massive.

Avoid the Most Common S&OP Mistakes: Here’s Our Top 5


Knowing is half the battleIn the wise words of G.I. Joe, “Knowing is half the battle.” And in the battle for sales and operations planning (S&OP) success, knowing where the potential pitfalls lie will serve every company well. Some of those pitfalls were recently outlined by Steelwedge Vice President of Industries Danny Smith in a Manufacturing Business Technology article entitled “The 5 Most Common S&OP Mistakes And How To Avoid Them.”

Recognizing that knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what one should do, Danny described the following mistakes that companies frequently make in their sales and operations planning initiatives:

1) Lack of executive ownership. The biggest problem I see is the executive leadership team not owning the S&OP process. If executive leadership isn’t fully engaged, the process won’t be as successful. If they aren’t engaged, find out why. Maybe you aren’t giving them the things they need to run the company: forward-looking, global visibility; timely, concise information that is digestible to them (e.g. their KPIs) and that is actionable; the ability to ask “what-if” questions so they can put boundaries around their risk. A good technology platform can help tremendously here. After all, the best people and process can only take you so far. Technology serves as a lever to speed up the process and shift the focus from calculations to analysis.

2) No cross-functional engagement. The whole point of S&OP is getting the entire organization moving in the same direction. That’s hard to do without the involvement of all the key stakeholders in the process. Research around S&OP failures right after the global downturn showed that a third of the respondents didn’t have Sales engaged in the S&OP process. That was the good news! Almost half didn’t have Operations or Finance engaged. Lack of a way to translate between different functional views of information tended to leave one or more participants out of the process. Sales would input revenues by account, Operations would need demand in units by product, and Finance wanted to see net margin. To really make S&OP work, you need to have the same information, but expose it to each stakeholder in the form they need and understand. Even if you start with a quick win/small project, extend the scope to just across the functional boundaries to provide the needed translation.

3) Focusing only on one consensus number. An S&OP mantra for years has been getting to a “one number plan,” but this simplifies things too much. And worse, it limits the value of S&OP for executives. Executives are paid for predictability. It’s their job to identify and proactively mitigate risk – to avoid the danger before it’s a reality. S&OP can be a great tool to help (i.e. GPS telling you to avoid a route due to traffic) but only if you don’t fall into the “one number” trap. Instead, you need to plan in ranges – worst case, best case and expected – all along the S&OP process. The ability to identify the impact of things not going to plan is priceless. As Eisenhower once said, “Plans are nothing; planning is everything.”

4) Complexity! Follow the “keep it simple” principle, especially with metrics. I’ve seen companies become paralyzed trying to make the right decision when they have to evaluate hundreds of metrics; the complexity prevents them from being able to ask the right questions. Pick your big 10-15 metrics (see Figure 1) and go with them. Track them, make performance transparent so everyone understands where they are, and learn from them.

Figure 1: Simple KPIs

Figure 1: Simple KPIs

5) Lack of documentation. How do you learn from your mistakes? You have to capture all the institutional knowledge and assumptions that go into your plans. Provide a mechanism to capture this information from every participant, and make it easy for them to contribute. For example, if you collaborate as a group using social media, automatically capture those chats and the context and embed it into the plan assumptions so you can understand the context of decisions or changes six months later. Remember, those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Do you agree with Danny’s top five S&OP mistakes? What lessons have you learned in your journey to sales and operations planning success? Weigh in with your “war stories” in the comments.

 

Is Your S&OP Ready for 2014?


Touchscreen 2014You and your company may be entering 2014 with an advanced integrated business planning (IBP) process in place. Or you may only be beginning to consider sales and operations planning (S&OP). Whether you’re well on your way, just getting started, or somewhere in between, undoubtedly every company can benefit from improved strategic and tactical alignment and increased agility.

That’s why you should join Steelwedge on Tuesday, January 28 for a free webinar entitled “New Year, New Approach: Take Your S&OP, Demand and Supply Planning Processes to the Next Level in 2014.”

Frank Kang, Managing Director, KPMG

Frank Kang, Managing Director, KPMG

During this webinar, Frank Kang, Managing Director, Supply Chain and Operations Advisory Services, KPMG, will address the many opportunities that best-practice S&OP processes and technologies offer. What happens when you capitalize on these opportunities? You meet financial targetsstrengthen customer relationships and establish accountability within your organization by integrating your demand/supply planning with long-term strategic business goals.

You will learn:

  • The questions to ask when evaluating the effectiveness of your planning processes and deciding where and how to start on an effective IBP journey
  • The opportunities offered by the right technology to continuously improve your business planning processes
  • Examples from leading companies who have embarked on a self-improvement journey and have succeeded in taking their planning processes to the next level

What are your S&OP plans for 2014? Let us know in the comments.

S&OP Beyond the Basics: Q&A Part 1


More than 800 people registered for a terrific conversation with industry pundit and author, Tom Wallace.  We simply ran out of time to answer all the questions live, so have captured common themes and answered them here. This is the first of a two-part series.

Q: How do you best manage the proliferation of S&OP meetings? People inherently object to having meetings for meetings sake!

It is important to differentiate between meeting and working sessions. Executive S&OP meetings are intended to be very efficient and structured, given the CXO level participants. These meetings should have a very specific agenda with clearly defined goals for the meeting.

Working sessions are more of a combination of structured agenda as well as unstructured time to discuss collaboratively on various topics. Demand review and supply review meetings are examples of these working sessions.

From a technology perspective, the solution should provide the ability to document business context, assumptions, action items and opportunities for further follow-up and tracking.

Q: How do you handle “what if” analysis & scenario analysis within Steelwedge?

Steelwedge provides a platform that balances supply, demand and finance and enables the end-to-end S&OP process. Scenario management and what-if analysis can be implemented at any stage of this process: demand forecasting, supply planning or executive S&OP. For example, as part of the out of the box application called Compass Express that is implemented by this platform, 26 scenarios can be created as part of the Executive S&OP process. These scenarios can be compared based on pre-defined metrics and the best scenario can be ‘promoted’ to be the plan of record for the organization.

Q: How do you do the Bill of Material explosion and how is SW exploding the confirmed demand plan to material requirements?

The Steelwedge S&OP platform has the ability to model both a standard bill of material as well as a statistical bill of material (attach rates).  As part of the Rough Cut Capacity Planning process, the consensus demand forecast at a finished goods level is converted into material requirements at a component level for the purpose of performing a build-versus-buy decision using the sourcing template. In cases of configured products,  the dependent as well as independent demand associated with components is computed as part of this process.

Q: S&OP is limited to quantitative views of supply and demand. How do you validate qualitative assumptions about external factors?

Steelwedge estimates that only about 50% of the decision making at S&OP meetings is based on quantitative factors – the rest of the decisions are made based on tribal knowledge or ‘gut’ feel. It is important to capture these decision factors as part of the process so that the validity of these assumptions can be tracked later. It is expected that over a period of time these assumptions are re-evaluated and quantitative approaches are incorporated instead. We understand that collaborative planning and S&OP is never going to be completely fact based and that the solution should support the ability of the end users to make informed decisions based on data as well as qualitative factors.

Q: How do we get end users more engaged in the process. What kind of reports / alerts are commonly presented at S&OP meetings?

Excel continues to be the most commonly used business planning tool. That is why Steelwedge provides a platform that utilizes Enterprise Enabled Excel, which powers the S&OP process on top of the Excel application. A familiar paradigm is one way to get end users more engaged in the process.

Another common problem that sales reps face as part of S&OP process is that they are asked to input data into very complex Demand Planning applications, resulting in loss of interest and use.  Also,  sales people are often completely mobile and don’t have the internet bandwidth to provide inputs into these Demand Planning applications.  Steelwedge addresses this two ways:

a) One Click Planning provides an event driven push based mechanism to alert sales executives of areas that require their input. When the users click on an email that they receive from the application, they are taken directly to a template that they can fill out for products that they have access to.

b) Offline tools – this allows sales reps to input data without being connected to the internet. Once they log into the internet, they can do a net change submit to the server to sync up the data.

Is Your Sales Pipeline Connected to Your Demand Plan? It Is Now With Salesforce.com and Steelwedge!


sales_pipeline_bridge_lpWhat happens when you pair the leading provider of cloud-based sales and operations planning (S&OP) solutions with the enterprise cloud computing leader? Your employees, customers and trading partners get connected in a whole new way.

No one is more enthusiastic about enterprise cloud solutions than we are here at Steelwedge, except perhaps our partner, salesforce.com. Steelwedge understands the power of partnership, and that’s why we’re so pleased to be an official salesforce.com ISV partner.

As development and testing of our new solution wraps up (Stay tuned: Sales Pipeline Bridge will be available on the AppExchange in early 2014!) we are preparing our customers for the integrated business planning (IBP) journey of a lifetime.

The Sales Pipeline is the “Missing Link” in Your S&OP Process (view the video here!)

Every company would love to have a scenario where they use a single system that:

  1. Reviews all sales pipeline data
  2. Provides alerts for significant pipeline changes
  3. Systematically manages and links sales, marketing and operations plans


The hard truth, however, remains that most companies have separate and manual tools and processes that put them at risk for inaccurate forecasts, delayed—or worse yet—lost sales, and lost productivity. What they need is a planning tool that enables them to extract, understand and operationally act on the critical information in their sales funnel

Collaboration at its Best

Steelwedge 100% cloud-based S&OP solutions are used by customers across the globe and across industries. Sales Pipeline Bridge enables a new and unparalleled level of S&OP collaboration by incorporating critical sales opportunity information from salesforce.com into the planning process.

After all, who knows better about what—and when—customers will buy than your sales team? No one.   They are your first line of sight into customers and prospects. They know where the opportunities arise, the competitive landscape and what challenges your product can solve.

Sales Pipeline Bridge systematically captures that critical sales opportunity information from salesforce.com, transforming it into a view that is meaningful for Finance, Product Management and Operations alike. Silos? Gone. Fragmented systems? Eliminated.  Better performance and forecast accuracy? Check!

The Final Word

Dynamic, competitive markets have changed the game. We all live with this challenge every day. Our new AppExchange solution will not only keep customers in the game, but help them play to win.

For more information on Sales Pipeline Bridge, click here.

What kinds of challenges do you have connecting your sales pipeline data to your demand plan? Let us know in the comments!