We are asked this question in a number of workshops and public forums. That is not surprising - after all the question is worth at least $50 Million to a typical large corporation, and at least 2 years of intense effort.
And, while the rewards of success are lucrative, the costs of failure are even more onerous.
With more than 30 years of experience of assessing information technology tools for supply chain management - not only prior to their implementation but also after the implementation, we have developed a good nose for these tools, and an impeccable reputation for calling the shots as we see them.
S&OP Tool Sets Used To Archaic
Guiding the communication of traditional S&OP process, and setting the tone of the whole event, is a set of archaic check lists and formulistic process charts, designed by the process consultants that certify these processes.
While in the 70’s and 80’s they were a huge step forward when none of these things existed, their newer versions of 90’s and 00’s are barely adequate to guide the supply chain process of a modern global corporation through some of the most important decisions that their executives routinely make every month.
The Newer Collaborative Tools Are Still Being Forged
However none of the old guard, who are well set in their ways and are in a way victims of their own success, have the motivation or capacity to provide them.
Dynamic, light, open, collaborative, balancing tools are the way forward. We expect to see a few more of these in the future, but probably not from the existing suppliers of standard supply chain processes.
In a traditional S&OP meeting, each silo sends its most battle hardened corporate warrior to fight it out with the competing interests in the other silos to maximise its chances of getting the glory and resources that it needs to flourish. And they play this role with relish.
However, in the process, the shared goals of the organisation are frequently forgotten. Collaborative, forward looking teamwork requires positive, pragmatic business leaders to jointly sit down together and solve problems by building on each others’ ideas. We find this is frequently missing in the traditional S&OP tools.