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  • Doug Dedman

The Executive’s Role in S&OP: Management and Participation

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

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How many times have you heard: “The President your company has a critical role to play to the success of… insert project name here”? For any major change project that impacts culture, crosses departments, and/or requires significant resource, the business leader is typically highlighted as a critical resource. In S&OP, your role is different.

S&OP doesn’t just require your executive sponsorship – S&OP is YOUR process. You should expect the process to help you identify and arbitrate conflicts between sales and operations and have confidence that your team is able to move from strategic objectives to operational execution.

To achieve this, there are two aspects to your role: Management and Participation. Management encompasses how you enable your team to be successful in their roles. Participation includes the tasks or activities you have to perform as part of the monthly cycle.

Let’s look at your management role first. This includes:

  1. Having overall accountability for the S&OP process. As stated before, this is YOUR process. You are the only one that can take accountability for getting it in place. It needs to work for you.

  2. Providing resources to get the process in place. The key resource, especially starting out, is the S&OP coordinator. The coordinator needs to be organized, proactive, and able to bring the proper people to the table. Someone you can trust. In addition, consider outside expertise to provide the direction and experience to move your organization through this significant change.

  3. Holding your team accountable. Establish clear RACI and expect your team to deliver. In simple terms, sales need to be accountable for bringing in the orders and developing the booking plan, while operations have accountability for production performance and future plans. Be specific, expect answers, and