Too many organisations don’t have an S&OP process when they need one.

And too many don’t get the benefits they should from S&OP.

Watch the video to know the most common reason why S&OP is not delivering what it should.



Ensuring Effective S&OP: From Discussion to Decision-Making


Rob: Does your S&OP process deliver what it’s supposed to deliver?

So joining us again this week, we have Steven Thacker, one of our directors who’s a specialist in S&OP. Welcome, Steven! Thank you for joining us.

Steven: Thank you, Rob! Good to be here.

Rob: So I think you know this is a very common question that people ask S&OP isn’t delivering what it’s supposed to do. Why is that? What’s the most common reason?


Too Many S&OP Meetings


Steven: Certainly one of the most common reasons, Rob, is that we phrase it this way, too many S&OP meetings in the process. Our discussion meetings as opposed to what we think they ought to be, which is decision making meetings, that’s the key. There’s a significant difference between a meeting which is short and sharp. We’re all have preparation. This is how preparations done and people come to the meeting properly prepared and able to make a firm decision during the meeting because they have confidence in the data and the analysis and the recommendations to be able to make it truly a decision making meeting. We have a client that tell us that they have an S&OP process in place and some of their meetings go for three and four hours. Well, that’s a lot of discussion, but it’s not a lot decisions. We have on another video as you know, we have some details and maybe the links up here to be able to direct you to some of the ways of ensuring that your meetings are truly decision-making meetings .

Rob: Oh yeah, that was a great video. That was the 12 Success Factors, wasn’t it?


Here’s the link to that: S&OP 12 Key Success Factors


Steven: Fantastic! That’s the 12 success factor. So there’s a methodology to achieving this and there’s probably a half a dozen of those 12 that relate to specifically to how do we ensure that we have meetings where we can meaningfully make a decision. Now if you think about that, that’s essential for particularly the senior executive team and the MD. An S&OP process is designed ostensibly for one person in the business. It’s designed for the head of the business, the MD’s, the CEO, certainly the exec team.

And so we need to deliver to them enough preparation and enough homework and enough analysis and enough forethought to present a management deck that requires nothing more than an oversimplifying, but nothing more than, “I understand the data, I understand where it’s coming from. I see the issue! I can see why you’re recommending this. It’s all properly financialized. The CFO is seeing that he signed off on it. My entire exec team is saying this is a sensible solution we’d like you to endorse this.” That’s what S&OP meetings are all about. They’re different and need to be different to any other meetings. And the 12 success factors delivers this ability to ensure that they are truly decision making meetings, not a meeting that just ends up being a long discussion but haven’t prepared well enough to be able to make a decision on the day.

Now, having said that, there are certainly circumstances which are absolutely appropriate where a decision can’t be made. So if you think about it, when a recommendation comes to the executive team, they have three choices in terms of responses. One is to endorse the recommendation, the second is to disagree and maybe suggest something different. The third is also a viable option and that is to defer a decision. So we know we have to make one but we need more interrogation or we thought of another approach to this. So let’s defer it till next month, we’ve got the time to be able to do that, so discussion meetings versus decision-making meetings. S&OP has to be a decision-making forum in the business.


Watch the full video above for Steven’s insightful recommendation.


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Contact Rob O'Byrne
Best Regards,
Rob O’Byrne
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +61 417 417 307
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