The Initial Review

It all starts with The Initial Review.  You can think of this as an S&OP assessment but it goes much further.  We assess the current state of your S&OP process, we work with you to develop a vision for the future state, and put together a plan to improve or implement your S&OP process. 


While each situation is unique, coming out of the Initial Review you will most likely fall into one of the two broad catagories:  

  1. You don't have a functional S&OP process and need to start or re-start the process from scratch.  This is The Accelerator path, a standard framework we've developed to quickly implement S&OP.

  2. You have a functional S&OP process and just need some help to enhance or improve.  This is The Focused Approach which is a customized project(s) based on the prioritzed plan. 


You also may decide that the Initial Review has given you enough focus to continue on the S&OP journey on your own.  The output from the Initial Review;  a prioritized plan, baseline metrics, future vision, and Executive Involvement, might be all you need to re-assure yourself that you are on the right path.    

The Accelerator 
A standard approach - not a canned solution

The Accelerator framework is structured iterative approach to implement change.  Using this framework we can quickly get your S&OP process up and running for a pilot family.  The processes developed in the pilot are then be rolled out to the rest of the business. 

The Accelerator framework includes:

  • The Initial Review

  • Iteration 1:  The Data Build

  • Iteration 2:  The Course

  • Iteration 3:  The Pilot

  • Iteration 4:  The Roll Out

The Initial Review


During the Initial Review we work with you to develop a desired 'end state' or definition of your S&OP process, and identify the family or families that will be used to develop that end state.  

Iteration 1: The Data Build


Now that your future S&OP process has been defined and the pilot family chosen, it's time to build the family presentation. We work with you to collect the necessary supply and demand data.  The data is incorporated into the 5-Section sheet which will become an integral part of the The Course.  This takes place over one or two months during which we simulate the S&OP process using actual data. ​

Iteration 2:  The Course


This is where the magic happens.  With all the liars in the same room.  Sales, Operations, Finance, Engineering, Customer Service and most importantly, the Senior Executive, all experience The Course together.

What differentiates what we do from all other S&OP courses is that the examples and exercises are not generic.  Information from The Initial Review and The Data Build, is used during the training session to engage participants in their first real S&OP cycle.  Your team is not just learning the concepts but are putting them to use. 


The output of The Course is the S&OP plan for the pilot family.

Iteration 3:  The Pilot


Once you've run through  your first S&OP cycle in The Course, it's time to make the changes stick.  During the next couple of cycles you will work on refining the process by running S&OP for the pilot family.  We guide your team through these iterations and help you address the issues that arise.  We also coach team members, including your senior executive, on how play their role.

Iteration 4:  The Roll Out


Once the pilot is on track, you are ready to roll out to the process to the rest of the business.  By this time you should be self-sufficient in the process and able to manage most of this on your own.  Our role shifts to one of advisors, and we will help you address specific issues as you add new business to the process.

The Focused Approach

If you already have a mature S&OP process in place but still want to improve,  we will work on focused projects to help you increase the value you are receiving from S&OP.  During the Initial Review  we will work with you to identify and prioritze these projects.  Typically the requirements and approach are unique for each situation.   Below are some examples of areas we've worked on in the past.

Demand Planning Improvements

Company A had a mature S&OP process. All of the primary components of the process were working well and it was an integral part of the management process. However, in our review we found that the errors in the demand plan from their European Distribution Center was creating problems for their North American production facility.


A large portion of their sales were coming from Europe and their European sales and distribution organization was not well integrated into the S&OP process. Their primary focus was to maintain a high level of customer service with a minimal amount of inventory. The solution was to include them in the S&OP process, improve the demand planning in Europe, treat the distribution as a planning site and use their supply plan as a demand stream for the North American plant.


The improved communications brought about by including Europe in the process resulted in immediate benefits. Over the next few months, Europe made major steps forward in improving their demand planning and setting the correct inventory buffers for their Distribution Center.

Backlog Tracking

Company B was a long time S&OP user and had an effective process. In our review, we identified that they were not tracking bookings and backlog and that they spent an inordinate amount of time focused on the first couple months of the plan.

The company was build-to-order with a relatively short lead-time (about 3 weeks on average). In effect, 75% of the first month was already sold and there was really very little reason to discuss it in the S&OP meeting. However, because they didn’t track bookings and backlog, this information was not readily available.  As a result, during their monthly S&OP meeting they become bogged down in detailed discussions about the demand plan for the first month.


By adding bookings and backlog to their S&OP process, they were able to monitor if the backlog was close to the 75% target in the first month.  If it was they would move on to the future months. They eventually developed a weekly backlog tracking process and used this to communicate with and manage their sales force.  

Demand Shaping

Company C was an engineer-to-order business and an effective S&OP user. When we reviewed their historical performance it became clear they were shaping demand with lead time by default. As they got busy, their backlog increased and they extended their lead time driving customers to seek other sources. As their backlogs decreased, their lead-times became shorter and they picked up business.

They made a major step forward when they started using pricing as a demand shaping tool. This was integrated into their S&OP process and depending on their backlog, they would determine what multiplier they should use on each bid. If they needed to increase the backlog, they reduced the multiplier and bid lower and conversely if they needed to reduce the backlog they increased the multiplier and bid higher.


The net result was that their output remained the same but they increased their revenues and margins as a result of shifting the demand shaping emphasis from lead-time to pricing.