Sales and Operations Planning – Essay Example

The paper "Sales and Operations Planning" is an outstanding example of a business essay. Research is consistent that sales and operations planning (S&OP) is increasingly gaining currency as one of the most important strategies that leading organizations are implementing to respond to contemporary business challenges and at the same time maintain their growth, profitability, competitiveness and customer satisfaction (Muzumdar & Fontanella 1; Paganini & Kenny 2). One of the most salient issues that come across upon reading the articles is that contemporary S&OP practices lead to firm competitiveness. This paper is a reaction to this critical issue. Most of the readings confirm the clear and direct relationship between contemporary S&OP practices and the realization of competitive advantage. Organizations implementing modern S&OP practices, according to one of the readings, are able to achieve and maintain competitive advantage through reducing production costs, improving order lead times, identifying and addressing production overruns, developing a more accurate forecast and increasing forecasting accuracy, improving delivery performance and cost management, enhancing efficiency, increasing visibility into their supply chain, introducing cross-functional metrics, as well as aligning all areas with the view to making superior business decisions (Upton & Singh 6-7). These findings are consistent with the views of other researchers, who posit that contemporary S&OP practices lead to firm competitiveness in terms of dramatic increase and consistency in forecasting accuracy (“Sales and Operations Planning” 10), alignment and execution of an overall corporate strategy (Bower 3), strategic planning and decision making aimed at enhancing profitability (Chopra & Meindi 252-253), as well as avoidance of margin loss and customer dissatisfaction (Paganini & Kenny 2). At a personal level, I agree with the claims made in the readings about the potential of S&OP to leverage firm competitiveness. From theoretical as well as practical experience, I am inclined to support the authors’ assertion that contemporary S&OP practices lead to competitive advantage. The capacities of organizations to not only improve order lead times but also to develop a more accurate forecast and increase forecasting accuracy are some of the most important factors that have been cited by business practitioners and mainstream commentators as leading to firm competitiveness, customer satisfaction and growth. These factors or outcomes are well documented in most of the readings (e.g., “Sales and Operations Planning” 10; Upton & Singh 6-7). Global retailers such as Wal-Mart and Tesco, in my view, have been able to achieve and sustain leading positions in the market due to the deployment of effective S&OP strategies which ensure that they are able to plan their decisions for the best combination of products, customers, and markets to serve. At a personal level, I have had the opportunity of reading case studies on how automobile companies such as Toyota and Isuzu have successfully used S&OP to leverage competitive advantage through enhancing responsiveness as well as increasing visibility. Consequently, I support the claims made by the authors of the readings regarding the critical role of S&OP in achieving firm competitiveness. Overall, it is evident that S&OP will play an instrumental role not only in actualizing my dreams of being a professional business practitioner, but also in ensuring that the companies I work for are able to achieve and sustain competitive advantage by ensuring that I employ S&OP strategies with the view to responding more effectively to demand and supply variability with deep insight into the most favorable market deployment and most cost-effective supply chain approaches. As has been suggested in the readings, effective implementation of contemporary S&OP remains one of the most tenable approaches that companies could use to achieve competitive advantage as it enhances those critical factors that give enterprises sustainable competitiveness.