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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

Communication & more communication gives S&OP a fighting chance

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Feb 05, 2014

Ok, here we go again on another merry-go-round of Supply Chain stretch, strife, strain but hopefully success.

All the decorations should be back in their boxes by now. The lights where the red set doesn’t flash and the white set that only work when you bend the plastic coated wire in two and stick it with tape - fix them before next year? No, I doubt it too. The Father Christmas toilet seat cover - what do you mean you don’t have one? – has been returned to its protective bag in the loft which makes everyone feel a lot more comfortable in the bathroom. Father Christmas always sees what you are doing, remember…..

So how did your season of goodwill go? What about the company Christmas party?  Such events are usually good for morale and a laugh even well into the following year. Who danced with the young blond/e receptionist – choose your own gender here? Why did the electrician and the canteen lady leave rather early? Who asked the DJ to pay The Lambada again and again and again? All will be revealed in vending machine gossip in the coming months.

S&OP communication resized 600You get a decent glimpse of your company reality when different departments ask for separate Christmas party events and this is compounded only by your agreement to the request. Ok, if you have your various functions in all corners of the country or even globe then local events are obviously cost effective. By the same score if you employ thousands of staff you are not going to find a venue large enough within a reasonable budget. However, isn’t it sad that some smaller organisations allow each department to skulk off and do their own things?

Small groups of people quaffing the foaming ale, alco-pops and fizzy wine inevitably results in a slow but sure eruption of their pent-up tensions about colleagues. Gossip, criticism and bitterness all escalating to the depressing bass beat of Do They Know It’s Christmas?.  What if you could harness all that energy behind your Sales & Operations Planning  (S&OP) process and persuade people to “prove colleagues right” rather than highlight failings?

All your initiatives to improve sales and supply chain performance within S&OP are bound to fail if people do not communicate or communicate negatively. How many times do you see employees having a real conversation with a colleague? A rarity in my view – as rare as an honest politician. People are usually concerned with their own similarly unhelpful politics and protecting their own backsides and departments rather than doing what is best for the company.

You can have the biggest budgets, the best supporting IT systems, brilliant brands, stunning marketing but if your people are communicating negatively or not at all then any attempt to grow your business with the aid of S&OP is doomed to failure. Futile!

CEO's should get this sorted out before the lights go dim on their own careers!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net

Tags: Christmas, Dave Jordan, CEO, Supply Chain, S&OP, Sales

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