The companies reporting the largest gains in revenue, margin and customer satisfaction are those where top executives sponsor the process, new research on Sales and Operations Planning from Ventana Research reveals.

"Previous studies have not focused on the critical role that sponsorship and financial planning plays in determining the success of sales and operations planning," said Colin Snow, Ventana Research VP and research director for Operational Performance Management. "This new research and industry benchmarking study reveals that top performing companies have executive sponsorship and a rigorous review process that merges sales and operational plans with their financial outlook on a monthly basis."

Among the key research findings, Ventana Research found that:

  • Most companies are new to S&OP. Even though best practices have existed for almost 20 years, research reveals 65 percent of companies have been doing S&OP for less than five years.
  • Most companies lack strategic focus. The bulk of those surveyed (63 percent) practice S&OP at a relatively low level and ignore corporate performance goals.
  • S&OP leads to improved company performance. The alignment of financial plans and S&OP was the single most significant contributing factor to what participants characterized as "overwhelming" financial gains.
  • Software is critical and often needs upgrading. Most respondents (76 percent) told us that software is an important element of S&OP, but they also expressed dissatisfaction with it and identified difficulty in doing what-if analysis as the number one software issue.

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