It takes more than simply luck or just better foresight for a business to hit its financial forecasts. Indeed, the idea that the sales and marketing teams can provide a perfectly accurate forecast of customer buying behavior at individual product level is clearly a myth

Commercial organizations therefore need an operating model capable of detecting changes in customer demand and sales trends and then flexing the sales activities and production to secure the equivalent financial result. In recent history, integrating the planning and operations of Sales, Marketing and Supply Chain has delivered significant benefits to many organizations; this is usually achieved through a considered process of Sales and Operational Planning (S&OP).

This process has driven improvements across important areas such as product availability, markdown expenses, production costs, working capital levels and inventory holding costs. However, only best-in class organizations have succeeded in integrating this activity with both strategic and financial planning. The additional financial dimension ensures that the S&OP delivers the organization’s top and bottom-line targets and that the business does not operate outside defined financial parameters.