how we can help you improve your Sales and Operations Planning
process, or how effectively you manage your Supply Chain, call:
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Party's Over - The Real Aftermath of Y2K
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Software: Valuable Tips for Selection and Implementation
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Lean And Software Co-exist?
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software packages deliver the best results?
There are a variety of ERP software packages
used by companies successful with S&OP. So by definition, all
these various packages "support success", even if they don't
specifically have functions for S&OP and leave it to their users to
develop or buy S&OP functionality.
Many companies successful with S&OP today do
NOT use any commercial software package or module for S&OP.
Instead they developed their own S&OP functionality based on
customized Excel spreadsheets, and Access databases. Of course
this is more a reflection of the historical implementation of these
tools, since for many years there were no commercially available
software modules for S&OP.
This seems to be changing rapidly as more and more software suppliers
claim support for this important function, and the problems with
managing an application of this size using spreadsheets becomes more
and more obvious.
However, even today there is no one software
package that has a significantly better track record than any other.
More often than not, the critical success factor is not the software
tool itself, but rather how effectively a company has implemented both
the processes and communications structures to make S&OP work.
Generally we find the following:
- Most ERP
systems offer only incomplete tools to support S&OP, but each of
them would be the source of the raw data needed for S&OP such as
forecasts, production plans, actual sales, inventory and
functional S&OP functionality typically exists in “bolt-on”
modules, similar to the bolt-on forecasting modules that companies
have used since the late 1970’s.
Though we don’t have enough data to endorse any specific
set of software tools, there are some software vendors that appear
to offer more complete sets of S&OP support tools. You can
find them at the Gray Research website:
To evaluate commercial S&OP software, the best
description of how the basic functionality needs to work can be found
in our recent book, The Sales and Operations Standard System.
It includes software templates (reference software) that can be
used to complete and effective a given software package might be.
More information on this book and software is available at:
S&OP Standard System
Over the years, software suppliers have
delivered innovative extensions to S&OP functionality.
One specific and recent example is McConnell Chase Software
For innovative extensions to the standard
logic of S&OP, check out McConnell-Chase’s latest release FD7.
While the “Holy Grail” of S&OP software has been the promise of
an aggregate sales and supply plan integrated with financial
projections, simulation, strategy and business development, many
software suppliers have struggled with the basic supply-demand
balancing logic of S&OP and can only speculate about S&OP as a true
company game plan.
McConnell-Chase has developed comprehensive
S&OP capabilities for make-to-stock, make-to-order and finish-to-order
manufacturing environments and incorporated that into their already
full function forecasting software.
At the same time, they’ve integrated ground breaking functions
for tracking assumptions, events, measurements, scenarios and both
expected and actual outcomes into both the demand planning (both
detailed and aggregate forecasting) and the supply planning functions
of their system. This kind
of functionality exists nowhere else in packaged S&OP software.
With extensive simulation capabilities, a
company can use FD7 to evaluate various of its tactical alternatives
and base its future S&OP plans on realistic game plans, consistent
with product and market strategies as well as desired financial
results. For any company
who wants to be a “learning organization”, there is no better way than
learning from past assumptions, events and consequences.
This is the great promise of FD7, and something whose progress
we will be following with great interest.