Building best in class Planning & Analytics teams : An S&OP Example

Note: As a standard practice, I will include a plagiarism detection link in all the articles on my blog site. You can use the online tool below to evaluate any article published on the web for plagiarized content. All you have to do is to paste the url of the article there and it will go through every sentence in the article and flag any plagiarism. I believe as a follower of “writer’s integrity” I should include this tool in all my articles:

It is all about collaboration and teams

A highly collaborative process like S&OP is all about the team. How you have put together your core S&OP or integrated business planning team may end up determining the magnitude of effectiveness of your S&OP process.

My this post is the first ever application of the “Ten faces of innovation” profiles in proposing an approach to form best in class S&OP and can help you build a team that is holistic, one where each team member supplements as well as complements the skills of others.

Ten Faces of Innovation: The Book

The approach suggested in this post is based on a book “Ten faces of innovation” by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman . The book is one of its kind in several aspects:

  • Identifies the types of employees you need in your organization to propagate innovation
  • Describes how it is a MUST to have ALL these types to drive true innovation
  • Helps you with ideas on how to structure teams using these types to create innovative teams

The book borrows its title from the ten skillset types/employee types described in the book. The ten types are shown in the illustration below. Though the illustration was created by me, all the terms used in it are from the book. I will explain these types as we start building the team structure of the S&OP process with these types.


Note that these skill sets are not the only skills an individual may have. What it means is that if someone is in the category of “The Experimenter”, that is their predominant skill set that sets them apart.

A quick recap of the elements of a best in class S&OP process

In order to understand how and why of building the team, we first need to envision what the best in class process S&OP process should look like. The left part of the illustration below (Pre S&OP Processes) is an adaptation from Robert P. Burrow’s book -“The Market Driven Supply Chain” whereas the core S&OP process representation on the right is based on my experience establishing such processes, combined with my perception of best in class approach of a continuous S&OP Process.


The left hand part of the illustration will not be the focus of this article.

Team Building Step I : Evaluate the Skill set requirements and roles

Now let us break down the key activities depicted in the core S&OP process in the illustration above into skillsets/roles for each of the four buckets (Executive S&OP, Portfolio Review, Demand Review and Supply Review).


As you can see in the representation, there is a S&OP Governance Manager sitting in the midst of the cycle. We will discuss the specifics of that role in a subsequent section.

Step II : Align each skill set with one of the faces of innovation and determine a S&OP team role

Now we will start aligning each skill set with a face of innovation, translate that into employee profile you can use to fill that role and start building the structure of a best in class S&OP team. For each such assignments we will use the following structure:

SKILLS: Identify the skill sets required

INNOVATOR FACE: Map the skill set with the type of innovative skill types that are required

DESCRIPTION: Provides a brief description of that skillset

EMPLOYEE PROFILE: The traits of the employee who will be successful in that role, based on the mapping done using skills and Innovator face.

Executive S&OP Champion


We can start building the team structure with this executive level position, as shown below.


S&OP Governance Manager

This is the person who holds the Holy Grail of your S&OP Process. Finding the individual within your organization who has all the capabilities illustrated below may be a challenging task but not impossible. This role reports directly to the Executive S&OP champion and only answers to him.

This type of authority is critical since they have to establish the final consensus in the process.


We will now add this role the S&OP team structure. As mentioned earlier, this role will report directly to the Executive S&OP champion.


S&OP Analyst

Reporting directly to the S&OP Governance manager, this person plays two critical roles:

  • Maintains S&OP Data repository, Dashboard and related documents. Analyzes the plans received from different teams
  • Plays the role of a project coordinator for the recurring S&OP meetings

We will add this role to our S&OP team structure:


S&OP coordinators in Supply and Demand planning teams

Each of these teams (Demand and Supply Planning), will have individuals who devote a significant percentage of their time on S&OP planning process (managing and continuous improvement) – a minimum of 50% of their time.

The person on the demand planning side definitely needs to more analytical, since one of their role would be forecasting.Though the forecast numbers requirements for S&OP may not be extremely granular, still, a significant aspect of the process relies on this forecast. You need a person with very good depth in forecasting and understanding forecasting accuracy metrics.


On the Supply planning side, the coordinator may not be an Analytics expert (like the demand side) but they still need to be fairly analytical, to be able to take the consensus built demand forecast and translate it into various elements of a Supply plan.


We will now add these two roles to our S&OP architecture. Note that these two do not report directly to anyone in the core S&OP governance but rather have a dotted line to them.


The New Product Introduction (NPI) Program Manager

The NPI Program Manager should play the role of S&OP champion in the product review team depicted in the high level process diagram in the beginning. Considering their role, at least 25% of their time should be devoted to closely collaborating with S&OP core team to make sure that new product introduction nuances are covered in the process.

The Final Team structure and concluding thoughts

The final team structure should look something like the one shown below. With the traits and skill sets mentioned above for each of these roles, you should be able to build a best in class team.



The approach indicated in this article has been kept generic on purpose since each company in every Industry needs to tailor their S&OP team and process based on their specific and unique aspects.

However, this approach can be used as a framework to plan the team structure. As I consistently emphasize in my posts and articles, the very first step of transformation initiatives should be to restructure your Supply Chain team. Leveraging an approach where you build a team that leverages different strengths from various individuals will put you on the path to a successful transformation.


Views my own

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