Sales and operation planning (S&OP)

Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) 

Why sales & operations planning (S&OP) is crucial for success

Imagine waking up one day and deciding you wanted to go for a drive. Not just any drive, though; you want to go to a town that you’ve been meaning to visit for years, but it’s a 10-hour journey. 

So you pack up the car, slide in behind the steering wheel, and set off. 

Except you didn’t check a map or set it into your phone to take you there. 

Relying on luck or intuition, how likely is it you’ll actually arrive? And if you do make it there, would you get there in the easiest and quickest possible way?

Clearly, the answer is no. You need to not only know where you’re going, but also that you’re on the right path to get there.

And that’s exactly the purpose of sales and operation planning (S&OP) in your business.

What sales & operations planning (S&OP) can do for you

To continue with the above analogy, sales and operation planning is a key part of your roadmap. It’s an integrated business management process that enables the decision-makers of an organization to know where they currently are and whether or not they’re on track to meet targets.

The sales and operation planning process includes determining demand for the product or service, and capacity to meet this demand. It also features a forecast, from which sales, production, inventory, backlog, and strategic initiative plans arise. 

Ultimately, sales and operation planning allows leaders to focus on the key supply chain drivers, and associated software aims to make it easier for those leaders to make informed decisions. It facilitates cross-team coordination, improves inventory management and the customer experience, and makes profitability a realistic expectation.

How Vena can help the sales and operations planning (S&OP) process

To most effectively undertake sales and operation planning, it’s beneficial to take a step back and view the bigger picture. The sales numbers are useful, but in isolation they only tell part of the story, and it’s like trying to understand a movie by watching 12 minutes near the end. You’ll get some information, but it won’t enable you to predict supply and demand trends, from which you can have an appropriate asset management strategy. 

Besides, sales figures themselves only show how much was sold. To know what influenced the sales and what their impact was, you also need to consider what marketing efforts were most effective, how engineering and manufacturing contribute to the biggest successes, and also the impact of finance and procurement. Knowing these things means you can adjust accordingly, and directly affect the ROI. 

With Vena Solutions, this information is available all the time, to all users who need it. It leverages Excel, so there’s no requirement to learn new proprietary software or navigate a steep learning curve. In fact, all of your existing spreadsheets connect to the centralized data repository, and in turn this means there’s no longer a need to manually collect and consolidate data. It’s all just available instantly, and stakeholders can view real-time data at their convenience.

Not only is the data available to all stakeholders, it also updates for all users as soon as a change is made. No longer will team members need to email the latest file version to each other, nor lose time trying to track down what changes were made and by whom. Vena automatically logs this information, so the entire team has access to the same information, complete with changelog.

User case study: faster processing and increased collaboration

When Nutanix needed an integrated software solution that gave a holistic view of operational data and permitted agile decision making, Vena was the natural choice. Connecting seamlessly with existing data sources, and working within Excel, there’s now a full team who contribute to the demand and supply chain plans, utilizing the single source of truth that Vena provides. As a result, the team no longer loses days poring over offline spreadsheets and trying to rectify problems with data integrity, and they work more efficiently with accurate outlooks.

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