The sun is shining high in the sky and you are driving your Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet 2.0 TDi with the top down on a six lane highway. There is a long drive ahead for you and your three friends but with this car on this road things should turn out fine. The only emissions you are bothered about are coming from the quadrophonic surround-sound speaker system.You can see far ahead down the highway into the distance in the direction of your objective. You can see all the potential hazards in good time from your comfortable leather bucket seat. Traffic is starting to build up but you are ready and move down the gears gently before the road clears and you equally gently depress the accelerator and resume cruising. You can see a bumpy stretch of road ahead and position the car so the hazard disappears directly between the front wheels of the VW causing nil discomfort for those on board.You can see the policemen ahead with a radar gun and you diligently slow down and adopt a speed 1 click below the limit. You even give the officer a jaunty wave and onwards you drive. Ahead is a hazard caused by a broken down lorry so without any desperate braking you indicate early and move into the next lane to pass the vehicle that is not going anywhere soon.Your passengers are relaxed, comfortable and enjoying the ride. You are approaching your destination and looking forward to successful evening at the beach.That is how your FMCG S&OP or Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process should look. Planning and executing your actions in good time and well into the future. Perhaps this is how your process works?The same VW, same driver and passengers, sun, road and the same destination objective. Instead of relaxing back into the leather you are gripping the steering wheel like it was about to fall off. You are leaning forward in the seat looking at the road directly in front of the bonnet/hood (delete as geographically appropriate). Every single stone or bump or holes felt by the passengers as you try to avoid driving over hazards that present themselves at the very last second before they slip under the tyres.Seeing everything so late you are lurching the car one way and then the other making the passengers uncomfortable and probably a little concerned. Clearly, you are not incontrol of the vehical or your destiny. Looking just over the bonnet at the road surface you also miss the broken down truck in the near distance and smash into the rear at speed. You and your company are having a terrible journey and you do not achieve your objective. You missed the radar gun earlier and now have a hefty fine and penalty points on your licence.Following a rigorous IBP process allows you to plan your innovation, promotional and routine and tactical sales activities in good time ensuring everyone is on board and knows what they have to do well in advance.
If you recognise your company in the chaotic driving example then you have quite an opportunity!Image courtesy of Bill Longshore at freedigitalphotos.net