Forecasting, procurement, production, sales: how to avoid a fight?

In a perfect world, each employee would have access to all the information they need and would be able to exchange ideas with other departments to make concerted decisions. All with a smile! But the reality is often very different… The working atmosphere between forecasters, suppliers, production, and sales teams is only sometimes ideal. What are the best ways of keeping things together and avoiding a fight? Here are a few tips to follow!

Forecasting, purchasing, production, sales: war is declared!

Everyone has a role to play in the company:

  • Forecasters produce sales forecasts.
  • Purchasers follow the inventory management policy and implement supply plans using the forecasting database.
  • As its name suggests, the production team manages and manufactures products, ensuring the correct number of goods are available at the right time.
  • Sales teams seek to find new customers, assist and support the act of buying, and follow up on the sale.

But even if everyone’s role is distinct, no one can make progress if they do it alone. Interconnected, these different company departments need to exchange and work together regularly.

Forecasters, for example, constantly collaborate with sales staff to refine their knowledge of customer needs and, thus, sales forecasts. Production depends on the supply department, which must have sufficient raw materials to manufacture. Procurement relies on forecasters to order the right quantities of products… In short, these different functions are closely linked because they are interdependent.

However, relations between these services are complex due to mutual dependence and the impossibility of meeting each other’s needs due to the uncertainties inherent in their respective missions.

If, unfortunately, communication and exchanges are not optimized, not only is the company unlikely to achieve its objectives, but it also runs a high risk of seeing multiple tensions and conflicts arise within departments… and between departments.

As every manager knows, conflict in the workplace can lead to a host of problems. These include increased stress, pressure, ill-being, demotivation, and absenteeism. There is also increased staff turnover,resulting in lost productivity and a significant financial burden for companies. And to cap it all, there needs to be more efficiency in the supply chain: out-of-stocks, over-stocks, emergency management…

white paper s&op

How to avoid a fight?

In short, each employee needs the others to be more effective. But to ensure that daily exchanges don’t turn into a power struggle, here are a few tips:

  • Communication and collaboration are key! Ideally? Adopt well-defined communication rituals. For example, the various functions can meet every month to discuss their respective issues and problems. This way, everyone can consider each other’s imperatives, and processes will run more smoothly. 
  • Information needs to be centralized. This is crucial if collaboration is to be facilitated. Nothing is more frustrating than not having easy access to the data you need at any given moment. Or worse, having to copy and paste it for hours on end into Excel spreadsheets… with the risk of making mistakes or losing everything if you make a mistake!
  • S&OP must involve every function. S&OP is a process for drawing up tactical plans to direct a company’s activities better. However, for this process to deliver the desired results, it must involve all departments, from sales and marketing to development, production, and procurement; S&OP requires regular meetings to reach consensus.
  • And for these processes to be successful, it’s in every company’s interest to implement tools that facilitate employee exchanges and communication. A single philosophy: break down the silos between functions and the barriers that separate partners from different departments, who must move forward together in the same direction.

Colibri S&OP: the ideal mediator!

Technology plays a key role in employee well-being at work. When well chosen, it boosts performance by reducing the drudgery of specific tasks and enabling teams to concentrate on more rewarding, higher value-added missions.

Thanks to a high-performance S&OP solution, information from all departments is centralized and easily accessible. This simplifies the employees’ tasks and enables the organization to react more fluidly to market changes.

Say yes to technology! And avoid – among other things – the urgency, unnecessary stress, and loss of efficiency at the root of so many conflicts…

Colibri S&OP is cloud-native software specialized in Demand, Supply, and Strategic Planning, designed to optimize your processes and promote collaboration and employee well-being. Multi-modular it is a tool that ensures the continuity of the value chain.

This tool benefits employees from error-free data centralization and 360° visibility for all. Everyone can work in the unit of their choice and at the level of granularity they need. This way, Colibri S&OP creates a common language for all business lines, easing tensions and improving harmony while optimizing supply chain processes!

Would you like to find out more? Request your Colibri S&OP live demo!

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