Research is consistent with the idea that sales and operations planning (S&OP) is increasingly gaining repotation as one of the most important strategies that leading organizations are implementing to respond to contemporary business challenges and at the same time maintain their growth, profitability, competiveness and customer satisfaction (Muzumdar and Fontanella 1; Paganini and Kenny 2).
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One of the most salient issues that come across upon reading the articles is that contemporary S&OP practices lead to firm competitiveness. This paper is a reaction to this critical issue. Most of the readings confirm clear and direct relationship between contemporary S&OP practices and the realization of competitive advantage.
Organizations implementing modern S&OP practices, according to one of the readings, are able to achieve and maintain competitive advantage reducing production costs, improving order lead time, identifying and addressing production overruns, developing a more accurate forecast and increasing forecasting accuracy, improving delivery performance and cost management, enhancing efficiency, increasing visibility into their supply chain, introducing cross-functional metrics, as well as aligning all areas with the view to making superior business decisions (Upton and Singh 6-7).
These findings are consistent with the views of other researchers, who posit that contemporary S&OP practices lead to firm competitiveness in terms of dramatic increase and consistency in forecasting accuracy (“Sales and Operations Planning” 10), alignment and execution of an overall corporate strategy (Bower 3), strategic planning and decision making aimed at enhancing profitability (Chopra and Meindi 252-253), as well as avoidance of margin loss and customer dissatisfaction (Paganini and Kenny 2).
At a personal level, I agree with the claims made in the readings about the potential of S&OP to leverage firm competitiveness. From theoretical, as well as practical experience, I am inclined to support the authors’ assertion that contemporary S&OP practices lead to competitive advantage.
The capacities of organizations to not only improve order lead times, but also to develop a more accurate forecast and increase forecasting accuracy are some of the most important factors that have been cited by business practitioners and mainstream commentators as leading to firm competitiveness, customer satisfaction and growth.
These factors or outcomes are well documented in most of the readings (e.g., “Sales and Operations Planning” 10; Upton and Singh 6-7). Global retailers such as Wal-Mart and Tesco, in my view, have been able to achieve and sustain leading positions in the market due to deployment of effective S&OP strategies, which ensure that they are able to plan their decisions to serve customers with the best combination of products and markets.
At a personal level, I have had the opportunity to reade case studies on how automobile companies, such as Toyota and Isuzu, have successfully used S&OP to leverage competitive advantage through enhancing responsiveness and increasing visibility. Consequently, I support the claims made by the authors of the readings regarding the critical role of S&OP in achieving firm competitiveness.
Overall, it is evident that S&OP will play an instrumental role not only in actualizing my dream of being a professional business practitioner, but also in ensuring that the companies I work for are able to achieve and sustain competitive advantage by ensuring that I employ S&OP strategies with the view of responding more effectively to demand and supply variability with deep insight into the most favorable market deployment and most cost-effective supply chain approaches.
As has been suggested in the readings, effective implementation of contemporary S&OP remains one of the most tenable approaches that companies could use to achieve competitive advantage as it enhances those critical factors that give enterprises sustainable competitiveness.
Bower, Patrick. “12 Most Common Threats to Sales and Operations Planning Process.” Journal of Business Forecasting. 24.3 (2005): 1-10. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.
Chopra, Sunil and Peter Meindi. Supply Chain Management: Strategy, Planning and Operation. 5th ed. 2012. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Print.
Muzumdar, Maha and John Fontanella. “The Secrets of S&OP Success.” Supply Chain Management Review. 10.3 (2006): 34-41. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.
Paganini, Bill and John Kenny. “The Supply Chain as Growth Driver.” Supply Chain Management Review. 11.4 (2007): 49-55. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.
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Sales and Operations Planning: Aligning Business Goals with Supply Chain Tactics 2008. PDF file. 7 Jul. 2015. <https://www.adexa.com/>.
Upton, Harold and Harpal Singh. “Balanced S&OP: Sunsweet Growers’ Story.” Supply Chain Management Review. 11.2 (2007): 51-59. ABI/INFORM Complete. Web.