Interlace Systems, a leading provider of integrated business planning software, announced survey results that clearly articulate critical, problematic issues that sales and operations planning (S&OP) professionals face on a daily basis. The survey targeted senior level S&OP planners in consumer goods, industrial manufacturing and high technology equipment companies.The results indicate several trends: a majority of respondents are dissatisfied with their existing S&OP and are making investments in both process and software tools to address critical gaps."The results of this survey reflect that, while S&OP is well understood and in place at many companies, there is still a high degree of dissatisfaction among S&OP practitioners, " stated Jim Lodestro president and CEO, Interlace Systems. "The good news is that companies across many industries are re-focusing on improving their S&OP efforts. In fact, 60 percent of the companies surveyed indicate they have funded initiatives to improve both processes and tools in 2006."

Survey Highlights

The survey assessed the relative satisfaction respondents have with their existing S&OP processes and tools and profiled specific areas where improvements are sought. Highlights include:

  • 80% said S&OP is not working as well as they would like;
  • 60% said S&OP is not effective in aligning operations with their companies financial plans;
  • 60% of the survey respondents said they have funded new S&OP initiatives for 2006.

Respondents stated improvements are needed in:

  • Executive reporting and visibility
  • Integration with company financials
  • What-if scenario modeling and analysis
  • Access to data

The top three issues respondents indicate they have with executive reporting are:

  • The time spent developing and maintaining the Executive S&OP reporting package
  • Having consistent data for creating accurate views across functions
  • Managing and tracking actions items from the Executive S&OP meeting

The top two issues respondents indicated they have with their S&OP software were:

  • Difficult to do what-if scenario planning in a timely manner
  • Difficult to model the financial impact of plan changes

"The overwhelming response to this survey is proof that S&OP has emerged to become a strategic business process that has captured the attention of CFOs and CEOs alike," said Bill Odell, vice president marketing, Interlace Systems. "The fact that broad investments are being made across many companies and industries indicate that many S&OP experts understand that a combination of new processes and software are required today."
Results from this survey were gathered from 147 respondents from corporations across a variety of manufacturing industries. 81 percent of the responses came from representatives in the consumer goods, industrial manufacturing and high technology equipment industries. All companies surveyed had annual revenues in excess of $200 million.

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