S&OP White Papers & Articles

A CEO's Perspective S&OP and Forecasting an Interview with Phil Dolci
An Interview from Foresight Magazine - Winter 2012 - PDF
Phil Dolci has been a pioneer in the application of Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), which seeks to unite the demand, supply, financial,  and engineering personnel of an organization into consensus on its forecasts, demand plans, supply plans, and financial projections.

S&OP Eight Elementary Errors - an article by Tom Wallace
There's much misinformation about S&OP out there and that's too bad. Why? Because often this misinformation acts as an inhibitor to prevent companies from getting started with the process. This article identifies some of those errors and explains the realities behind them.

Change Management in S&OP: The Most Important Task in Making S&OP Successful - a white paper by Tom Wallace


Sales & Operations Planning, primarily its volume and financial planning component called Executive S&OP, is quite simple in its structure and logic. This often misleads companies into assuming that the process is simple to implement, while nothing could be farther from the truth.

By far the most important element in implementation is the mindset and attitudes of the people, and the changes that need to be made in that regard. Other elements such as software tools, data, and the specifics of the process may be essential, but they’re of far less significance.  Given this, we can conclude that successfully implementing Executive S&OP is essentially a matter of change management. The amount of change is significant. It’s not a matter of doing something better; it’s about doing things differently – to be better.           

A primary element in implementing Executive S&OP is people’s understanding, which enables people to see the what, the why, the how, and the what’s-in-it-for-me of this new way of doing things.

Sales & Operations Planning: Costs and Benefits - The Financial View of Implementing Executive S&OP  - a white paper by Tom Wallace


“How much does this S&OP stuff cost?” is a phrase heard more frequently these days.  This white paper addresses that issue, first by discussing the benefits achieved by real-world companies and then by identifying the relevant costs involved in an implementation. The basis for this analysis is thirteen companies – all successful users of S&OP, from all over the world, and in a wide variety of industries.

Two kinds of benefits are shown: hard and soft. Hard benefits can be readily quantified; soft benefits cannot.  Some of these companies indicate that their soft benefits they’ve outweigh their hard benefits.

Two sample Cost/Benefit Analyses are shown, one of which demonstrates that it can cost very little to implement Executive S&OP properly and that the returns are very high indeed.  The other shows a much more costly implementation, but here also the returns are sizeable.

Last, a “straw man” analysis is presented by cutting the benefits in half and doubling the costs; here also the benefits are quite attractive.    Click here to download a pdf of this white paper

Additional white papers:

Forecast Less and Get Better Results
A white paper written by Tom Wallace and Bob Stahl for Supply Chain Consultants - PDF

Sales & Operations Planning - The Next Generation
A white paper by Tom and Bob on the future of S&OP written for Interlace Systems. - PDF

Lean Manufacturing and S&OP: You Need 'Em Both
A one-pager by Tom describing the relationship between these two powerful sets of tools. - PDF

Columns written by Bob Stahl for Foresight Journal

S&OP Principles: The Foundation for Success
By Robert A. Stahl and Thomas F. Wallace - Fall 2012 - PDF
Bob and Tom summarize key takeaways from the many books they have written on S&OP. Including offering an organizational checklist on the proper implementation and tactics for overcoming pushback from organizational inertia.

Executive S&OP: Overcoming the "Catch 22" of Implementation
By Robert A. Stahl and Joseph Shedlawski - Spring 2012 - PDF
Bob and Joe ask why, in certain companies, &OP has failed to catch on. They believe the main culprit to be the "catch-22" of change management: if top management is involved from the start, changes required by S&OP implementation may cause organizational discomfort, but falling to involve top management undermines chances of the project's success.

Executive S&OP and the Cycle of Resolution: Resolving Conflict to Align Human Energy
by Robert A. Stahl and Stewart Levine, J.D. - Summer 2011 - PDF
Bob and Stewart team up to discuss The Cycle of Resolution model for promoting the behaviors required to turn conflict into collaboration, achieving a shared vision of the future. This article combines Bob's knowledge and experience with S&OP and Stewart's research and experience in human conflict, collaboration, and conflict resolution.

How S&OP Changes Corporate Culture: Results From Interviews With Seven Companies

by John E. Mello and Robert A. Stahl - Winter 2011 - PDF
John and Bob examine the cultural impact of S&OP in seven companies, interviewing individuals who were present before and after S&OP implementations. The interview results reveal remarkable changes in corporate culture and greater satisfaction with corporate performance.

Executive S&OP: Managing to Achieve Consensus 
by Robert A. Stahl - Fall 2010 - PDF
Bob addresses the framework for managing the final two steps of the five-step S&OP process, the Pre-Meeting and the Executive Meeting. Bob discusses the fact that success in using Executive S&OP comes not only from the proper application of its tools, techniques, and processes, but in large measure from the behavior of people with the willingness to get tough issues out in the open.

Resolving a Family Feud: Market-Facing versus Lean Manufacturing Families
by Robert A. Stahl and William Kerber - Spring 2010 - PDF
Two very important business processes are Lean Manufacturing and Executive S&OP. Both processes require grouping products into families but for very differentuses, so there is a sharp difference between how each process defines a family. In this column, Bob Stahl and Bill Kerber show how to resolve the family feud by converting market forecasts into production requirements.

How V&M Star Converts Family Forecasts Into Resource Requirements
With Executive S&OP
Robert A. Stahl and Amy Mansfield - Winter 2010 - PDF
Generating item-level forecasts can be complex, time consuming, and frustrating for forecasters, and can produce forecasts so inaccurate that they are not used in the planning process. In this case study of V&M Star, management uses Executive S&OP to refocus its forecasting process to family-level forecasts, which are then converted into resource requirements based on assumptions about product mix. This new approach has allowed V&M Star to gain bottom-line results of improved customer service with reduced inventories.

How Jarden Branded Consumables Made Forecasting Simpler & Better Through Executive S&OP 
by Robert A. Stahl and Brad McCollum - Fall 2009 - PDF
A case study of the demand side of the equation – forecasting – that shows how Executive S&OP facilitated significant improvements in the generation and use of sales volume forecasts.

These columns are from the Foresight Journal, published quarterly by the non-profit International Institute of Forecasters (IIF). Its mission is to help improve the practice of business forecasting. Click here to see a Foresight Sampler, and information about subscriptions and corporate site licenses. 

Executive S&OP: Simpler, Better, and More Needed than Ever

by Robert A. Stahl - Summer 2009 - PDF
Bob lays the foundation for understanding what the executive component of S&OP is – and where it fits in the organizational hierarchy.

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