Sales And Operations Planning | 3 mins read

6 Key Steps to Sales and Operations Planning

6 key steps to sales and operations planning
Lauren Christiansen

By Lauren Christiansen

Financial planning and chain management planning are essential requirements for running a successful business. Startups typically have frequent meetings to ensure an original supply plan is meeting expectations, and then adjust any processes to minimize inefficiencies.

One important planning process is discerning how to manage supply and demand. Because the number of available products should not exceed market demand, it's important to regularly analyze consumer needs and optimize inventory management. This is a delicate and meticulous process that requires meetings between leaders and analysts so they can generate the most accurate forecasts.

By ensuring a successful planning OP process, an organization will optimize the reordering process, generate more profit, and improve customer loyalty. Read ahead to know the 6 steps required for managing supply chains and monitoring demand through integrated business planning.

  1. If demand increases and supply stays unchanged, it results in higher prices and a higher quantity of goods produced
  2. If demand decreases and supply stays unchanged, it results in lower prices and a lower quantity of goods produced
  3. If supply increases and demand stays unchanged, it results in lower prices and a higher quantity of goods produced
  4. If supply decreases and demand stays unchanged, it results in higher prices and a lower quantity of goods produced

6 Steps in the S & OP Process

Sales and operations planning refers to the meeting between business leaders and other involved stakeholders to make sure every process and business activity in their startup aligns with supply and demand business needs. It demands collaboration by high-level executives across an entire organization to optimize the forecasting of future sales.

The purpose of sales and operational planning is to improve transparency by increasing coordination across departments. It also assists in balancing supply and demand so an organization can improve profit margins.

S & OP process meetings happen each month or year, depending on what the business's objectives are. OP software is typically used during the OP sales operations process to improve the accuracy of data and analysis. The top benefits of sales and operations planning include-

  • Improved collaboration and transparency between business units
  • Optimized decision-making processes regarding supply and demand
  • Improved capacity to manage inventory
  • Enhanced predictive analysis regarding sales and budgeting
  • More efficient business activities, which increase client satisfaction
To understand the benefits of the sales and operations planning process, it's essential to know how it works. Here are the various components and functions of S & OP-

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1. Predictive Analysis

This step of the sales and operations planning process requires collecting historical OP sales data to predict future outcomes. It's essential to factor in various considerations that could potentially affect sales, such as shifting market needs or a new competitor. Each pattern in OP processes is verified and analyzed by individuals in the planning process.

2. Organizing for Demand

High-level executives will then collaborate with various business units to analyze each prediction. Then, they will adjust the ordering process and any customer service procedures according to market needs and who the customers are. Market demand is assessed by how much revenue a company brings in or the number of items produced.

3. Organizing for Supply

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During this stage of the planning process, executives in the accounting, financial, inventory, and operational business units come together in an OP meeting to assess business capabilities. They will pinpoint which factors will negatively impact internal operations, relationships with customers, or contracts with vendors. Then, a supply chain policy is generated to factor in these bottlenecks.

  • Categorize inventory into groups and prioritize it according to need and price
  • Track and monitor all product information
  • Conduct regular audits and analysis
  • Practice the 80/20 rule
  • Track sales
  • Invest in inventory managment software solutions
  • Utilize technology that integrates with other systems

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4. Preliminary Meeting

Business executives from every major department in an organization will collaborate to compare predictions to any S & OP plans while considering how much the plan will cost the company. It's important that a representative from marketing, sales, inventory, and HR is there to gain feedback and receive an optimal outcome.

5. Approval Meeting

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During this stage of the process, business leaders will come together to assess the predictions, plans, and any solutions discussed in the preliminary meeting. After reviewing every piece of information and talking to each representative, the company will approve its finalized sales and operations plan.

6. Implementation of the Plan

After the executive OP is finalized, business executives must identify the best methods to implement it. This requires reviewing the plan with department leaders and reworking business processes so they align with each detail in the plan. After the S & OP policy is put in place, executives should regularly review it to make certain it is successful.

Key Takeaways

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In conclusion, here are the 6 key steps to planning supply and demand in operations planning -

  • The sales and operations planning process first requires performing predictive analysis to analyze each historical pattern to forecast future sales.
  • High level executives will then perform supply chain planning and business planning across business units to adjust inventory management and customer service so they meet market conditions and client needs. They will also assess business capabilities and determine which supply chain policies are used to mitigate any problem areas.
  • A preliminary meeting is held with executives across different departments so they can compare all predictions and consider the cost of the demand plan. It's essential to have an executive from the major departments to ensure the best outcome.
  • An approval meeting will take place to analyze all forecasts and solutions discussed in the previous strategic planning session. The tactical plans will then be finalized after gaining any additional feedback from stakeholders. Finally, the plan will be implemented and regularly reviewed to ensure it was successful.

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