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Effective S&OP: Responsibility and Accountability

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

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In this series we are identifying the key characteristics required to have an effective Executive S&OP process. In this article, we will outline how to establish and maintain clear responsibilities and accountability at each step of the S&OP cycle.

An effective Executive S&OP process is one where everyone who is engaged or touches the process knows what is expected of them. A good way to define this is using a RACI matrix or framework. The acronym RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed. This is how each of the 4 components is defined:

  • Responsible: a manager or team member who is directly responsible for successfully completing the task.

  • Accountable: the person with final authority over the successful completion of the specific task or deliverable.

  • Consulted: someone with unique insights the team will consult.

  • Informed: someone who may not be directly involved, but should be kept up to speed.

To keep things simple, we recommend focusing on the Responsible and Accountable. This means having a clear definition of who is going to put together the plan, or make sure the meeting is happening (responsible), and a clear understanding of who ensures there is a plan and ultimately makes sure the plan is executed (accountable).

The basic accountabilities and responsibilities can best be looked at by thinking about the outputs or plans developed. We are not covering additional details that may be part of your plan such as budgets, financial plans, staffing, and new product introductions (NPI), but focusing on the core requirements.

  • Unconstrained Demand Plan: Accountability for the unconstrained demand plan should sit with the sales leader (VP of Sales). This is the person who signs-off on having the plan they can commit to. The plan should include both bookings and shipments not constrained by supply. It is the external view of the demand at the demand stream level, consolidated to the S&OP family. Responsibility for getting the plan together typically lies with a demand planner, or individual sales representatives.

  • Supply Plan: Accountability for the supply plan lies with operations (VP of Operations or in some cases VP of Supply Chain). This is the person who signs off on what the organization is capable of supplying and committing to for each family. Typically, the master scheduler or S&OP coordinator is responsible for developing the plan.

  • Constrained Shipping Plan: This is the shipping plan developed following the supply plan. Accountability for this plan lies with the team and more specifically the sales and operations leaders. If constraining is required, decisions around constraining (allocation, use of upside flexibility, lead-time push outs) need to be made. These are critical decisions that should come out of the S&OP process.

  • Inventory, Lead-times, Capability (including upside flex): These plans are an outcome of the process. How you plan to use these strategic buffers for each family is ultimately signed-off on by the Senior Executive (CEO, President) when they sign off on the plan. Accountability lies with Senior Executive.

  • S&OP Process: The S&OP Coordinator is responsible for the monthly process. They are the ones making sure the meetings are happening, roles and responsibilities are understood, and data is available. As noted in the previous section, the Senior Executive is ultimately Accountable for making the process work for their organization. It is their management process.

Documenting RACI for your Executive Process is necessary for the Senior Executive to really hold the team accountable. The RACI matrix can be extended beyond the basic supply and demand to include such areas as NPI and financial plans. The responsibility and accountability may be different for each family or production site and may change depending on the planning horizon.

Responsibility and Accountability
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Not quite sure how to incorporate these best practices into your S&OP process? We can help! Reach out to us. We can help you unlock the power of S&OP in your organization.

DBM Systems provides organizations with the coaching and tools to quickly start and sustainably run an effective S&OP process. Through the Virtual Accelerator process, you can implement a Executive S&OP process in just six months.


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At DBM Systems, our consultants have over 20 years of experience providing S&OP leadership to businesses worldwide. We equip teams with coaching and the tools to quickly start and sustainably run an effective S&OP process. Learn about our process and unlock the power of S&OP in your organization.


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