No. As much as most companies get lost in analyzing data and putting together packets of information, it becomes meaningless without the tenets of SIOP. Of course it is preferable to have systems and reporting capabilities; however, it will not make or break your success.
So, how do you move forward with SIOP with minimal to no systems support? I’ve thought through a few strategies for success:
- Talk with the demand experts: Clearly, someone knows your customers’ expectations. Ask Customer Service what they see with your key customers. Ask Shipping about specific customer requirements. Ask Planning about trends. Pick up the phone and talk with your Sales team. Last but not least, call the customer. You never know what information they might share until you ask.
- Talk with the supply experts: Who better to know if you are likely to have a bottleneck area within manufacturing than the people living and breathing schedules on a daily basis? Planning is another good source as they have a pulse on both the demand and supply side. Don’t forget Purchasing. If there are no purchased parts and materials, you will not be able to achieve your demand plan.
- Facilitate an executive discussion: Certainly, I’ve yet to see a system that would provide zero data and so you are bound to have something. Start with what you have. If you wait for perfection, every single competitor will pass you by. More importantly, facilitate a discussion of the key points based upon your pre-work. Align demand with supply and sync up the related parties.
I’ve seen even this rough SIOP process achieve vastly more in terms of margin improvement, inventory reduction and service improvement than 80% of other initiatives. It’s worth taking the plunge.