How to Most Quickly Move to a Realistic S&OP

Executive Summary

  • Companies universally want S&OP, but often think they need complex software or detailed spreadsheets.
  • S&OP in a non bucketized way is available as an average within S&OP.


S&OP is the Holy Grail of planning. Frequently proposed as an objective, but rarely attained. One reason for this is that S&OP projects often consume so many resources that the company runs out of energy and patience.

The Relationship Between S&OP and Visibility

Companies that want true S&OP should start at attempting to get visibility. However, visibility is sorely lacking in the vast majority of supply chain planning applications n the market.

Many (most?) companies complain about not having a “strong” S&OP process. However, most companies lack visibility into the supply chain to understand or see the implications of how specific targets impact the supply chain. Without this, it is challenging to move to “S&OP.” S&OP requires (although does not guarantee) at the very least that visibility.

Companies that want S&OP should first see if they can obtain visibility. Visibility shows the relationship between the service level provided and the resources required to obtain that service level.

Complexity often undercuts S&OP.

  1. Putting together spreadsheets is a lot of work and does not work very well as one is limited by the power of the spreadsheet versus an application.
  2. Applications in S&OP tend to be complex and single-purpose so that they only do S&OP.
  3. The standard demand and supply planning applications normally cannot do S&OP.

So the company is caught between using straightforward spreadsheets versus high effort specialized S&OP applications.

Getting Inventory, Service Level, S&OP All from One Source

Brightwork Explorer is multi-purpose. It calculates forecast error, sets inventory parameters in conjunction with service level or days of supply targets, and it also does S&OP. It does all of these things in a minimally invasive way versus the other surrounding systems.

Many S&OP applications focus on having the executives reperform forecasting that has already occurred and by bringing in multi-period analysis into the equation. Brightwork Explorer does the opposite of this. We provide a simple adjuster for executives to increase or decrease the forecast. Any period can be loaded into Brightwork Explorer, but we create an average set of values that can be applied for the year.

Brightwork Explorer can bring visibility and the connectivity between the goals of the company and the constraints of the company extremely quickly.

  • Need an Easy to Use Way to Tune Forecasting and MRP Systems?

    Highlights of the Brightwork Explore include the following:

    • It contains our customized dynamic safety stock calculation, tuned after finding the limitations of the standard calulators.
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    • It can provide visibility to tradeoffs related to service level and inventory in the most direct way we have ever seen in any application....and much more

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