Nearly the year end. Have you started planning for that party? Are the presents all sorted out? Cards ready before the final posting date? No, I thought not. All the fuss will be over before you know it and then January will see the usual raft of short-lived New Year resolutions made with all the best intentions.
What are the favourite resolutions? Top 3 contenders could be losing weight, stopping smoking and cutting down on booze. Exactly! Attempts to make any progress on these three challenges are futile after 14 days or so of excess in all cases. Having spent the holiday eating far too much and far too much of the worst possible food combinations hoping to make waistline inroads is very optimistic.
When your behaviour has been defined and ingrained over a number of years making a sustainable change is extremely difficult. Yes, of course there are always exceptions but they are few and far between and they usually have the added incentive of impending death!
Similarly, imagine the difficulty and indeed resistance in implementing a new practice, way of working or IT in a company that has NEVER planned even remotely sensibly. Fire fighting, OOS, write offs and declining sales are some of the symptoms seen in FMCG & Pharmaceutical companies. Add a liberal sprinkling of failed “this one will work” initiatives and you can imagine the chaos under which some companies operate.
While a wise decision would be to introduce Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) if you do not plan the change you will fail to reap the benefits. Asking your team to work in a different way will meet with scepticism and resistance if there is a history of failure.
Top 10 tips for facilitating S&OP change:
- The CEO needs to understand what S&OP is and how it operates. No, I really do mean the CEO should have thorough knowledge and not just top line awareness.
- Ensure your Board colleagues are equally briefed and committed.
- Attend only the meetings you should attend and give the junior team the space to grow.
- Appoint a dedicated employee to lead and ensure quality leadership. The person must be of the right seniority and with wide experience.
- Appoint a dedicated employee to run the discipline side of implementation and ongoing operation – at least in the early stages. This includes ensuring meeting calendars are set and meeting minutes are issued in a timely fashion.
- Train yourself and all employees. While a small number will be intimately involved in the S&OP meetings it is important everyone in the company knows what is happening and why.
- If you do not already have a KPI booklet or a Balanced Scorecard create one quickly so progress can be measured.
- Publish your KPIs widely and celebrate the success which will come after some time and effort.
- Review progress regularly and make any tweaks to the process to suit your changing needs and improving business.
- Never give up! S&OP will make a step change in how you operate and how you perform in the market place.
Image credit: HikingArtist.com