The current fast changing demand and supply world does not wait for next month’s S&OP cycle. There is a big need to increase speed and quality of decision-making and to reduce data latency. To cope with the abundance of signals influencing the supply chain, there is also the need to reduce human cognitive bias. This can only be achieved by adopting more data-driven planning principles.

Are companies embracing this new digital reality of Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)? At the Marcus Evans event ‘Cross-Functional Alignment through S&OP/IBP’ last week in Amsterdam Edward Versteijnen and Yulia Meshalkina facilitated a workshop on this subject. Most participants agreed: it starts with getting access to the right data and creating powerful insights. Modeling and optimizing is a logical next step, but the challenge is to embed it fully in the planning processes.

Only then S&OP/IBP meetings will transform from tedious meetings in which 80% of time is wasted on data discussions, into vivid data-driven meetings where clear decisions are taken.