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Best Practices for Sales & Operations Planning for 2024

The webinar “Best Practices for Sales & Operations Planning for 2024” held by Keith Drake, Ph.D., along with Malcolm O’Brien, CSCP presented industry best practices for Sales and Operations Planning. Also, it unleashed approaches to define KPIs and critical elements for S&OP success. The speakers explained why S&OP should be accompanied by an effective and efficient solution platform a digital technology stack that allows us to maximize the value of our planning and collaboration and communication processes.

The webinar includes practical demonstrations of implementing these approaches using the Streamline platform.

Companies that implement S&OP reveal benefits that strongly support their objectives and achievement. How to make better use of S&OP? What are the S&OP’s primary purpose and key benefits? How does Streamline help to make this process more mature?

The S&OP process

The company can have a strict navigation plan for a year but there are changing situations that this company may face like demand and supply problems. The S&OP provides visibility and alignment of where the company is aiming and the plan for how to get there. It may look like this: Planned course >> New actual position >> Forecast error >> New course plan/New Forecast.

These are the common elements that you need to use for your model:

  • Demand planning
  • Supply planning
  • Material planning
  • Reporting
  • Collaboration
  • Here S&OP helps to gain efficiency at every step of this model.

    Connecting Execution with the Strategy

    There is a conceptual model to help your company frame our activities. There are three steps: business plan, tactical planning, and execution. Both of them are interconnected. The company should have S&OP on a tactical level in the middle as it is a binding process between the business plan at the top and its execution. Tactical planning entails coordinating between the parts of the team. Sales and operation planning typically operate on an up to 18-month Horizon.

    “This underscores the need for such a technology stack that can streamline these processes and improve overall efficiency. With the right digital tools in place, your team can focus on more strategic tasks and achieve better outcomes,”– said Keith Drake, Ph.D. “ Streamline can help you build a comprehensive digital technology stack that can automate critical activities, improve communication, and enhance collaboration.”

    Benefits of using Streamline AI for S&OP

    To achieve a resilient S&OP plan, more and more companies are relying on advanced data analytics and AI-enabled software tools. That is exactly what Streamline works for. There are several aspects in favor of Streamline:

    Time allocation

    In the traditional model, the company spends 80% of its time on data modeling using ERP, Excel or a combination of ERP and Excel. So 20% is left for analysis and action. While using Streamline AI, we have 100% for analysis and actions without data modeling.

    A Practical AI Impact on S&OP

    1. Large data and real-time visibility. Streamline allows to deal with large amounts of data which is integrated and the processing is very fast. The project can be updated in a few seconds. Streamline has a server and web application that can help incorporate and give suppliers visibility.

    2. Demand forecasting accuracy increase. AI is to understand what is economically achievable for a company in terms of demand forecasting. While using Streamline, departing from this demand forecast, all the downstream are integrated with the calculations.

    3. Instant dynamic simulations. Streamline allows users to change the information directly in the platform and make alternative plans, analyzing if something changes. So it is possible to play with alternative scenarios and see what the impact would be if some situations change.

    The bottom line

    Sales and operations planning is a critical process that involves aligning demand, supply, and financial planning. By leveraging the power of AI, Streamline can achieve a more mature and effective S&OP process that delivers results.

    “Many areas of the Streamline platform can be tailored to meet your business model and industry conditions,” – said Keith Drake, Ph.D. “ We suggest thinking about what works best for you, how you can make yourself more predictable, and how Streamline can add value to your S&OP process.”

    Still relining on manual work in Excel for sales and operations planning (S&OP)?

    See what Streamline can do for you

    • Achieve optimal 95-99% inventory availability, ensuring you can meet customer demand consistently.
    • Attain up to 99% forecast accuracy, getting more reliable planning and decision-making.
    • Experience up to a 98% reduction in stockouts, minimizing missed sales opportunities and customer dissatisfaction.
    • Cut excess inventory by up to 50%, freeing up valuable capital and storage space.
    • Increase margins by 1-5 percentage points, boosting overall profitability.
    • Enjoy up to 56 times ROI within one year, with a 100% ROI achievable in the first three months.
    • Reduce the time spent on forecasting, planning, and ordering by up to 90%, allowing your team to focus on strategic activities.