Between Supply Chain and Sales, it’s a bit of a love/hate relationship!
Supply: I can’t trust you! You don’t respect me, and you don’t appreciate everything I do.
- Sales: What?
- Her: First of all, the forecasts you give me are inaccurate, and you know it! It’s an ongoing headache in terms of managing inventory and service, but you don’t care!
- Him: Seriously? I get yelled at about my projections at every meeting! I wish I had time to give you the information you need. But I don’t. Could you give me some credit for the money I bring in?
- Her: How about you give me some credit for everything I do? You have no idea how hard it is to plan and manage new products, distribute, procurement, and deliver what you need for you to make your sales. All I ask for is a little more consideration and PRE-CI-SION!
Conflict seems to be an integral part of their relationship, right? Yet they both need each other to move forward. So, is a truce possible? How can they rekindle their flame? Well, a little therapy is necessary…
Sales vs Supply Chain: the reasons behind the conflict
The Supply Chain’s role is to manage all flows according to demand planning. It manages supplies, controls stock levels, and pilots the production plan… Its objective? To have the right products, in the right place, at the right time.
The salesperson’s role is to… sell! They prospect, find new customers, and offer products best suited to their customers’ needs… Their objective? To sell the right products, to the right customer, at the right time.
To manage flows, Supply Chain needs forecasts. And who better than the salespeople to provide forecasts? They know what they have sold, what they plan to sell, and the potential customers they’re about to sign… However, it’s not their job to do forecasts. Between customer meetings, prospecting, and portfolio management… they don’t necessarily have time to think about sales forecasts. And aside from time, they don’t have the information to provide accurate supply forecasts. Sometimes, it’s challenging to evaluate which customer will come in at what time, which products will be ordered, in which quantity, and at which frequency…
But without reliable forecasts, Supply cannot be sure that the right products will be available in the right place at the right time. Then you risk being out of stock. And without inventory, sales cannot sell.
The complexity of the relationship between Supply and Sales lies in this mutual dependence and the fact that it’s difficult for them to reach each other’s needs because of the uncertainties linked to their tasks…
Sales & Supply Chain: will they ever get along?
You may have noticed: Sales and Supply Chains have the same objective. Therefore, they must get along for the company’s and their own good! The more they are aligned and collaborate, the easier their life will be.
If Supply has the correct information, their planning will be more reliable, and the products will be available in order of magnitude and on time, which makes it easier to sell.
The one condition to achieve this is communication! Often oblivious to market needs, the Supply Chain faces fluctuating forecasts. They must manage a much larger flow than usual, not knowing if it’s a mistake, an increase in activity or a strategic decision.
This lack of visibility is the main problem for the Supply Chain and is the primary source of conflict with Sales. The common ground would, therefore, be communication and collaboration for better data centralization and visualization.
Colibri is a great therapist for reconciling Supply Chain and Sales
Colibri is a complete Sales & Operations Planning tool. The multi-module allows you to manage the S&OP process from A to Z. Sales forecasts, procurement, inventory management, business assumptions…
With Colibri, the entire chain becomes more consistent, efficient, and visible.
What’s the software’s advantage? It’s collaborative! Thus, Colibri creates an honest discussion between Supply and Commerce:
- Supply has key business features: simulations and historical calculations for reliable forecasts, working with exceptions to manage emergencies better, splitting into planning groups for a specific setting, multi-vendor management for anticipated flow management, data centralization, and visualization for dynamic analysis in real-time, etc.
- As for the business, it has a dedicated screen: forecasting in just a few clicks, sales indicator analysis, and budgeting thanks to the price planning feature…
Thanks to this standard tool, Sales and Supply Chains speak the same language. Collaboration is made more accessible. Supply Chain employees can subscribe to their priority products: they receive an alert in just a few seconds by notification and email when a salesperson changes the tool. Everyone gains visibility and transparency. Moreover, each party has access to the same information, which limits conflicts and misunderstandings. Colibri allows you to move from a conflictual relationship to collaboration, exchange, and productivity. The Supply Chain plans are based on the figures provided by sales, which have better market visibility. Colibri encourages discussion and joint strategies… which rekindles the flame between Supply Chain and Sales! So, ready for your therapy? Request your personalized demo today!