- IBP is a collaborative cross functional process that engages all functions to produce an integrated set of plans that all are committed to support.
- The purpose is to balance demand & supply in the extended supply chain.
- IBP is performed periodically – monthly or weekly cycles.
- IBP aligns operational plans to high level business & strategic plans.
- IBP can be implemented at a market, regional or global level.
- At its core is a single set of numbers for the entire business.
- IBP uses standardised processes, calendars of events & meetings, data and information requirements plus Key Performance Indicators.
Some meetings in the IBP cycle are deadly serious affairs with strong and controlling leadership while others are jollier with team members encouraged to throw in the odd guffaw in support of team bonding and morale. I personally prefer the latter as you tend to see far less use of damaging WMD – Wrecking Market Deployment – ordnance (yes, check the spelling if you must!).
What sort of morale, process and performance wrecking ordnance can be seen in the worst examples of an IBP process? Here is a selection:
Delayed Action Information Grenade – usually deployed after 20.00 on the evening before an important IBP meeting. Deliberately timed to provide no opportunity for debate or analysis before the information is revealed to the wider team. Usually aimed into a neighbouring silo and accompanied by the defensive “but I sent you an email” and much useless debate.
Blame Thrower – As the name suggests this weapon indiscriminately apportions blame to anybody but the person delivering the accusations. The usual outcome is that the deliverer is really the one to blame and this tactic is used to divert attention from their own failings.
Bouncing Bomb – This is deployed far in advance of the meeting with the full awareness that a problem is coming and the knowledge that this will explode much further down the process when it causes maximum disruption to the business.
Err to Err Missile – A lethal weapon which fails to correct known faults within the process and sees them repeated time after time. Eventually the error, whether data or behaviour, can become embedded thus consistently undermining performance.
UxB or Unexpended Budget - a passive weapon brought to the table by Sales and Marketing colleagues. Plans built on a certain level of market support have no chance of success when budgets are cut after business planning decisions have been made. Usually results in excess stock, lost sales and ultimately, write offs.
Unclear Bomb – Perhaps the most terrifying weapon of all and although deadly it is in frequent use in FMCG, Pharmaceutical and Agri IBP processes. This bomb is commonly deployed when participants have not adequately prepared for their part in an IBP meeting. A lack of clarity in data interpretation and the resulting information undermines the process and in-market performance.
There are many more weapons able to cause mayhem and disruption in IBP processes and they are used by all involved departments. Success comes only when the weapons are permanently decommissioned and people start to “prove people right” rather than work hard to prove them wrong.
Image courtesy of Ambro at freedigitalphotos.net