Sales and operations planning (S&OP) has been around for decades. At the time it was created, the emphasis was on a process that would facilitate collaboration between the commercial departments (e.g. sales, marketing) and operations (e.g. manufacturing, procurement, inventory, distribution). The objective of this collaboration was to agree on one plan, such that the company made the products it was planning to sell in the most efficient manner. But efficiency is no longer enough to be competitive.
Constant innovation is required to keep up with the increasing rate of change impacting every aspect of the value chain. In this new competitive landscape, management must redefine the objectives of S&OP to maximize the value generation for shareholders, while appropriately balancing strategic objectives and risk. Redefined as Integrated Business Planning (IBP) by many in the industry, this evolution of S&OP is the lynchpin of business innovation and competitive advantage for a company.
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