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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

S&OP – that’s Sails & Operational Planning

Posted by Michael Thompson on Fri, Jul 30, 2010


It’s amazing how the mind wanders when one is stuck.

Sailing and S&OP

In my case I have just started a sailing holiday with family in tow.  Here we are in the South of France west of Marseille, boat at the ready & raring to go.  Problem – there is a Mistral blowing.  The Mistral is the prevailing wind in these parts that whistles down the Rhone & fans out into the Mediterranean, and when it blows it sure does blow.  And when it blows it’s c’est la vie & no sailing.

So we are stuck. 

So the mind starts to wander.  For reasons I cannot explain, my mind wandered to supply chain & my challenge to continue the blogging while on holiday – thanks Nora. 

Then I thought about Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) & its application (or otherwise) to sailing.

The demand side – I have an eager family (customers) waiting to be satisfied.  There is a KPI in there somewhere.

The supply side – I have a boat ready to sail with all scheduled maintenance complete, fuel tanks full, water tanks full, safety gear checked & all other checks complete.

The plan (ok, I admit that it is vague) – sail to Italy & back to Port Napoleon (Rhone Delta).

Any constraints?  Well there is the Mistral of course.  And for the time being this is a show stopper.  So I need a Plan B, so to speak. 

Always remember the customer & demand side – “satisfy the family”. 

So off I go to the Capitainerie (Harbour Office in France) & discover that we are very close to the Camargue that borders the Rhone delta & is full of nature, salt flats, flamingos & a whole world of adventure. 

So I hire a bicycle & go for a reconnoitre.  I discover a route to the Camargue via a ferry river crossing & visit a local tourist office on ‘the other’ west side of the Rhone.  Plan B is formed & off we all go the next day for a wonderful day trip.  Lunch is partaken, a salt museum is visited (yes one does exist), flamingos are spotted, exercise is had and the family are happy (if a little weary & saddle sore). 

I could claim that S&OP, as it currently applies to our family, has worked for now, albeit not to the original plan ....

More later ....


In this series:

Oscar Supply Chain Blog

Tags: Michael Thompson, KPI, S&OP, Forecasting & Demand Planning

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