November 18, 2015

I’ve been partnering with clients to design and implement SIOP (sales, inventory and operations planning) programs the last several years as I’ve found them to be a GREAT way to achieve several results simultaneously:  1) Support growth  2) Improved service levels/ quicker turnaround of deliveries (shorter lead times), 3) Improved margins and efficiencies,  4) Accelerated cash flow; and 5) Improved employee morale and teamwork.  Although the technical side plays an important role (figuring out future demand and aligning with manufacturing, staffing, suppliers etc.), the aspect that generates the best results is that it aligns the executives and functions within the organization (and can even go to customers and suppliers).

We’ve achieved significant results in all sorts of industries and company-sizes, and Marketing always plays a key role in the process.  One of my innovative clients renamed the process SMIOP (with an added M for Marketing) as they wanted to highlight marketing.  I thought that was a great idea.  If you don’t have your marketing processes in full force, your demand plan will be lacking and you won’t be synced up with your supply side.  Thus, I wanted to share the importance with you.

One tip to implement this week:
Many of you probably think you are not responsible for marketing; however, in the best companies, all employees relate to marketing.  What is your brand and perception in the marketplace? Each employee can have an impact on that.  Also, how well are you engaging your customers?  Do they see you as the experts in your industry?  If so, they will be more likely to partner with you.  From a SIOP perspective, marketing has invaluable input into the demand plan.

Take a step back and think about how you affect your customer (even via internal customers on the way to the customer)?  Start there.  What ideas and suggestions do you have?  Could you read up on industry news and share it with your supply chain team?  It could be invaluable insights.  One of my aerospace clients had a GURU when it came to knowing the industry.  He was extremely valuable in areas that were related to his position but could be overlooked if his manager didn’t value marketing.