Outside-in thinking in S&OP/IBP

Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), advanced analytics, machine learning and blockchain are often mentioned as the leading trends driving competitive advantage for supply chains. These trends and developments will change the way we do our business and also how we will design our supply chains of the future.

Question is, do these emerging developments also have an impact on the S&OP/IBP processes? I would say yes; if the business is changing, sooner or later it will have an impact on your S&OP/IBP.

More general, outside-in thinking will become more and more important in (business) planning processes. This means using all kinds of information to predict your business and the future demand. Utilising quantitative and qualitative information from different sources that can have an impact on your business. Think about business drivers from sales, leading indicator forecasting, collaborative forecasting and scenario planning. Planning tool software is making big developments in these topics and technology can definitely help to exploit these emerging developments.

I see that a lot of companies still rely on the inside-out way of thinking. There is noting wrong with that if your business is predictable. But the world is changing faster and faster and this probably impacts your business as well. Outside-in thinking will help you to adapt to his changing world. Be aware, recognize it and anticipate in time. Especially in your S&OP/IBP process!

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction
Albert Einstein