Wagner, Stephan M., Kristoph Ullrich and Sandra Transchel

The game plan for aligning the organization

Business Horizons, 57 (2): 201-189, (2014).

Copy reference link   DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2013.11.002

Abstract: Better-aligned operational and strategic plans and a better balance of supply and demand bring tangible benefits to firms. However, functional departments in firms often operate without vertical and horizontal alignment. The outcomes are delays and amplification of the information flow, suboptimal corporate plans, uncoordinated reactions within the business, insufficient operational flexibility, and discrepancies in supply and demand. Sales and operations planning (S&OP) can circumvent these negative consequences and align the organization. Our multi-method research develops a holistic S&OP maturity model that firms can use for the assessment of their internal S&OP processes and shows the pathway to an integrated S&OP approach for the achievement of a better-aligned organization. We present a case study of a medium-sized, Swiss-based pharmaceutical company that has recently implemented S&OP to highlight why companies implement S&OP, the prerequisites and roadblocks encountered during implementation, and the benefits envisioned and achieved. Finally, we reveal the great relevance of the topic by means of a questionnaire survey which shows that organizations’ current S&OP performance is underdeveloped and that many improvements are indispensable to enjoy all benefits associated with the alignment process.

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