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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

S&OP:  Flying and S&OP Engagement

Posted by Dave Jordan on Fri, Aug 13, 2021

For a long time the sky above our house has seen very few vapour trails as COVID kept thousands of flights grounded. I can see they are slowly but surely returning but would you want to fly, anyway? I wouldn't.

Flying stopped being fun a long time ago. To travel even the shortest distance you have to check-in hours before the flight and then you seem to queue endlessly at various points until you finally arrive at your destination. Add in the current COVID protocols and it must be a nightmare at present.

sc-humor-sop-engagement-in-post1Security checks demand your coat, shoes, belt and false limbs. Your PC has to be taken out of the bag before you awkwardly rush to put it and the clothes, back in and on. I tried to speed up my security experience by wearing exactly 6 pieces of clothing and not carrying any metal but I still got beeped for a prod with the security sausage by the gold medal winner from the Olympic ‘being very miserable’ event.

Of all the nasties airlines do to passengers the worst has to be the tannoy announcement that Mr. (usually) X, Y and Z are delaying the departure of the flight. You then see 3 cheap suits with ties flapping and faces reddening due to far too much hand luggage and “free” food from the business lounge, walk-running to the gate. They are physically man-handled on board and the doors slammed shut......... before the plane spends the next 2 hours sitting on the tarmac waiting for a slot.

Airlines know this is going to happen but they still do it and then roll out the insincere apologetic announcements. Of course, now all the other passengers think the trinity of unfit business people is the cause of the delay and sit muttering behind newspapers and the rip-off 'duty free' magazine offerings.

When I travel alone I do not communicate unless I really must and when trapped on a plane the last thing I seek is a chat with another passenger. I was once sitting on the tarmac waiting for a “slot” when the lady next to me asked if I was going to the Zurich Hypertension Conference! What an opening gambit for a conversation with a stranger? I don’t recall answering verbally as my face apparently indicated that I was going to said conference but seeking treatment, not presenting.

Notwithstanding the above chat-up line, such discussions are all about the same topics. What do you do? Where are you going? Where do you live? Have you been before etc, etc? My last 7A to 7B conversation was with a very boring FMCG man on the steaming tarmac in Doha, Qatar. I asked if he wanted to hear any Supply Chain jokes but I was cautious as it is easy to offend people in the Middle East if you pursue a Les Dawson/Bernard Manning Mother-in-Law theme. You cannot upset anyone with a Supply Chain joke, can you?

I kicked off with the build up to a joke about Sales & Operational Planning (S&OP) and was immediately interrupted by the man smiling and saying “you should be careful as I am not a proponent of S&OP in FMCG”. I could not resist. My reply of “ok, don’t worry, I will tell the joke very, very slowly” did not go down too well but at least it drew the conversation to a quick closure. Job done, sit back and enjoy the delay!

Getting some people 100% on board with S&OP is like trying to put non-alcoholic beer into my refrigerator. The door simply refuses to open.

Tags: Dave Jordan, Humour, Supply Chain, S&OP

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