Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)

Sales and operations planning (S&OP) is the set of business processes and supporting technologies that enable an enterprise to effectively respond to demand and supply variability with timely decisions regarding the right supply, demand, and manufactured product mix.

Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) Challenges

The most important business challenges facing manufacturers today is how to proactively manage gross margin performance in support of profitability. In order to do this, companies must focus on:

  • Optimizing demand planning cycles and productivity
  • Automating and enabling trusted and collaborative communication between all functional operational silos both inside and outside the enterprise
  • Obtaining detailed, real-time visibility into your extended manufacturing operations
  • Monitoring and continually optimizing plans to drive profitability
  • Enabling a trusted and verifiable exchange of data via a blockchain

The problem is that actively managing gross margin means gaining a cross-company insight into the real-time operating processes of different departments. In most manufacturing companies, gross margin tends to be evaluated using manual, spreadsheet-based processes with historical data and at an aggregate operating level. This type of process does not provide clear insight into what detailed operational improvements can be made and what their impact will be on the company's gross margin and profit picture.

Effective Business Process Automation

The key to effective business process automation for S&OP at an account and product level of detail would be to find a way to mitigate the limitations of today's manual methods. This means letting users still leverage their current spreadsheet data models, but now have them enabled with digital ledger collaborative data management capabilities. With this capability, rather than expending company resources on manually collecting, rolling up, and assessing the numbers in the first place, management could instead focus on the field and operating information that is used to develop the numbers. They could even add their own assessments to the information and conduct what-if analysis to determine impact of changes on profitability. With this deeper insight and capability, companies could spend more time making effective management decisions and driving their business to greater profitability.

The Boardwalktech Solution: Boardwalk-Driven S&OP

Manufacturers are increasingly looking to automation to increase operational efficiency throughout the organization including digitally transforming legacy processes. Using the Boardwalk Digital Ledger, manufacturers can digitally transform existing spreadsheet-based processes without re-platforming onto a digital ledger providing the time critical visibility and blockchain trusted insight into the detailed operational data they desire.

  • Access to detailed planning data: Detailed unit-driven production plans means companies are working with granular planning information including multiple products SKUs, prices, channels, and geographies across divisions and business units. There's also continuously evolving business rules for discounts, pricing, availability, and costing information. Boardwalk makes all this existing detailed planning information collaborative and readily available to all process participants.
  • Digitally transforming manual S&OP processes: Your business process experts have evolved & developed their spreadsheet-based process models using the power and flexibility of Excel. By using Boardwalk to digitally transform these processes, management can reduce the amount of time required to perform a process from hours to minutes and spend more time performing the what-if analysis needed to improve operating profit.
  • Unprecedented executive insight using existing tools: Most executive business process systems are really just reports that give executives little to no ability to work with the information. With Boardwalk, management can not only see what's changing and why, but can also add their own assessment to the information and conduct what-if analysis to determine the impact of any changes on profitability.