Defining Sales and Operations Planning Process in an Environmental Management Company
Sippola, Johannes (2015)
Sales and operations research publications have increased significantly in the last decades. The concept of sales and operations planning (S&OP) has gained increased recognition and has been put forward as the area within Supply Chain Management (SCM). Development of S&OP is based on the need for determining future actions, both for sales and operations, since off-shoring, outsourcing, complex supply chains and extended lead times make challenges for responding to changes in the marketplace when they occur. Order intake of the case company has grown rapidly during the last years. Along with the growth, new challenges considering data management and information flow have arisen due to increasing customer orders. To manage these challenges, case company has implemented S&OP process, though initial process is in early stage and due to this, the process is not managing the increased customer orders adequately. Thesis objective is to explore extensively the S&OP process content of the case company and give further recommendations. Objectives are categorized into six different groups, to clarify the purpose of this thesis. Qualitative research methods used are active participant observation, qualitative interviews, enquiry, education, and a workshop. It is notable that demand planning was felt as cumbersome, so it is typically the biggest challenge in S&OP process. More proactive the sales forecasting can be, more expanded the time horizon of operational planning will turn out. S&OP process is 60 percent change management, 30 percent process development and 10 percent technology. The change management and continuous improvement can sometimes be arduous and set as secondary. It is important that different people are required to improve the process and the process is constantly evaluated. As well as, process governance is substantially in a central role and it has to be managed consciously. Generally, S&OP process was seen important and all the stakeholders were committed to the process. Particular sections were experienced more important than others, depending on the stakeholders’ point of views. Recommendations to objective groups are evaluated by the achievable benefit and resource requirement. The urgent and easily implemented improvement recommendations should be executed firstly. Next steps are to develop more coherent process structure and refine cost awareness. Afterwards demand planning, supply planning, and reporting should be developed more profoundly. For last, information technology system should be implemented to support the process phases.