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An investigation of the factors affecting successful sales and operations planning activities in the UK

By Bryn William Sharp


With the advantages of globalisation and global sourcing, UK businesses have to manage longer, more complex, supply chains whilst facing increased competitive pressures. Such an environment has lead to a renaissance in Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP). S&OP is a decision-making process concerned with aligning the capacity of organisations with market demand whilst integrating the process with business strategy. LCP Consulting, a leading specialist in customer-driven supply chain management, has recognised that companies formally implement some level of S&OP but for reasons unknown the process is often not sustained and the full benefits are not realised. Therefore, this research investigated and identified the principal factors that enable and inhibit the successful execution of S&OP. The research first analysed literature to enable a four-phase S&OP model to be constructed that depicts the typical evolution of an S&OP initiative. Through a quantitative survey of 26 companies in the aerospace, automotive, and pharmaceutical sectors, twelve influential factors grouped into three categories: behavioural, technological and organisational, were identified. Their level of impact on each phase of the S&OP initiative was subsequently quantified. From conducting structured interviews, the varying levels of success and maturity for seventeen key S&OP activities were detailed. Finally the research findings and analysis were consolidated into a simple, practical tool that enables users to understand how to improve the success and sustainability of an S&OP initiative. The conclusion of the research states that a good understanding of the process, committed top-level management, holistic performance measures, and data that is accurate, timely and pertinent, are the key factors that help ensure successful S&OP. Organisational complexity was found to inhibit successful S&OP, and aligning people’s behaviours to the values of S&OP was found to be the hardest issue to address when embarking on an S&OP initiative.Masters by Researc

Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2006
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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