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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

Is S&OP Necessary? The Jury Is Out …

Posted by Michael Thompson on Mon, Sep 12, 2022

I would like to present the Story of MANCO, a manufacturing-based FMCG Multinational Organisation.

The organisation is currently struggling with various aspects of their supply chain. Part of the Senior Management Team are:

  • Xavier – Chief Executive Officer
  • Malik  – Head of Supply Chain Development
  • Darius – Head of Supply Chain
  • Jamal - the Head of Quality Assurance.
  • Sarah – Head of IT

The story begins at the Annual Business Review Meeting, which coincidentally is soon to happen for many multinationals. The subject being discussed is Sales and Operational Planning (S&OP).



...said Xavier the (very frustrated) CEO at the Annual Business Review Meeting.

Silence fell in the room; that uncomfortable silence with nervous body movement and avoidance of eye contact.

“Well, it gave us structure to our supply chain operations” said a rather quiet voice from the back of the room.

“Well ... OK ... I’ll give you that”, responded our CEO. “The supply chain is more organised than it used to be”, he continued.  “But apart from more structure to our supply chain operations, what has S&OP ever done for this company?”.


said the man at the end of the table.  “Before S&OP we didn’t really have a way of measuring things” continued, Jamal, the Head of Quality Assurance.  “You can’t improve, what you don’t measure ....”, as he warmed to a theme encouraged by nods from colleagues.

“Fair enough”, Xavier responded. “KPIs have made a difference”, he continued, “ but apart from more structure to our supply chain operations and KPIs, what has S&OP ever done for this company?”.


a rather confident sounding Head of IT added.  “If it wasn’t for S&OP, we would still be all over the place with data ... remember when we had all of those spreadsheets, and three sales forecasts.  It was because of the S&OP programme ..”

“Yes, yes”, interrupted the CEO.  “I suppose one set of numbers has helped .... kind of .... ”


Sarah, the Head of IT interrupted.  Embarrassed by her apparent insolence, he paused. 

And was saved from a new silence by CEO Xavier.

“OK, but apart from more structure to our supply chain operations, KPIs, and one set of numbers, what has S&OP ever done for us?”

The debate continued.

If you would like to share your S&OP experience, that would be very welcome indeed.

To be continued...

Inspired by Monty Python’s film “Life of Brian” - What have the Romans ever done for us?  For this, a grateful "thank you".

Tags: Michael Thompson, Supply Chain, S&OP

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