By Demand Solutions
Have you ever launched a new manufacturing or distribution company? Or have you ever joined a small but growing company in one of these industry sectors? If so, you will know what it's like to work under pressure to contain costs.
New enterprises often see major business software platforms as an unnecessary cost, therefore when they first start out, they'll ask their employees to work with basic applications that are already installed on their hard drives. That generally amounts to products such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.
These applications are feature-rich, affordable and familiar to most business users, with ease of use an obvious benefit but they do come with a disadvantage; they are designed for communication and basic analysis. If you are serious about growing your company into a midsized or large business, you'll need something more powerful.
Professionally developed S&OP software is a far better option than spreadsheets and email. Here's why:
- S&OP software enables actual business processes. When you send an email, it only reaches the recipients you specify. When you use a spreadsheet to track and communicate data, it is available only to users who are granted access, and make the effort to seek out that information. By contrast, S&OP software lets you use powerful scheduling and workflow functionality to codify your unique ways of doing business.
- It increases accountability. Just because you've emailed someone doesn't mean they'll follow through with the next step of a business process. But when you use software to enforce business rules, it is easy to see when business processes have stalled and determine who's responsible for bottlenecks.
- It gives you a single source of the truth. Does your spreadsheet conflict with your colleagues? Is time being wasted waiting for an error to be found and rectified? S&OP software eliminates this by providing a centralised repository for business data.
- It protects your business knowledge. As employees move role or company, there is a natural tendency to resort back to manual data entry or re-do work already done, as expertise is lost and this means extra cost in time and money to your business. Invest once with a software system and it becomes much easier and less costly to recruit and empower new employees with systems knowledge for the years that follow.
- It closes the loop between supply chain planning and execution. If your supply chain planners and production staff are "collaborating" by sending spreadsheets back and forth, there's going to be a limit to their effectiveness. S&OP software makes it easy to incorporate execution data into each new supply chain plan for greater accuracy.
If you'd like to learn more about the value of S&OP software, we highly recommend reading "Five Ways S&OP Enables Collaboration and More Intelligent Forecasting," a research brief from Industry Week and Demand Solutions. Download your free copy.