Inspiring S&OP Insights from Supply Chain Innovations 2024

Alfred den Besten
Mar 27, 2024 5:28:10 PM

On March 14, 2023, the Supply Chain Innovations (SCI) event offered an extensive program of diverse seminars on innovative topics in Supply Chain Management. Solventure was also present at Antwerp Expo, where our CEO Bram Desmet gave a keynote speech and our customers Poppies, What’s Cooking and Wolf Oil shared their experiences. Before and during the event, we also polled our audience of supply chain experts on their view on S&OP challenges, effectiveness and integration. Finally, Bram also gave a small teaser to his new upcoming book, ‘Rethinking Supply Chain’.

A new and improved take on Supply Chain 

During his morning keynote, Bram Desmet first went into the key S&OP challenges plaguing companies 20 years ago and now, and by all accounts, these challenges were still the same, even after all these years. Especially the lack of adoption or buy-in from other departments, as we see below, is quite concerning. Bram: “As silo-thinking is still very predominant in most companies, I wanted to explore how to integrate supply chain planning into the heart of the overall planning processes and bridge the gaps between those siloes.” 

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Integrating planning processes end-to-end

How do we manage that white space in an organization and cross the divides between siloes in order to improve the health of our S&OP?”, Bram continued. “When you take a look at the diagram below, you see how much value flows between the siloes and with external stakeholders as well.” As every silo is so thoroughly connected, the need to integrate them has become more apparent throughout the years – especially during and after the pandemic.

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“The starting point is a true and native integration of financial planning and supply chain planning”, as Bram also mentions in his second book. “Up to 80% of these planning processes already overlap, and – even though Finance and Supply Chain may not like it – it’s a necessary step with the current volatility on both the demand and supply side of the supply chain. It's basically irresponsible to not have proper financial information in supply chain planning, or have proper supply chain information in financial planning.”

Integrated Value Planning: The New Way Forward for S&OP 

Bram finally dove further into his future vision for S&OP 2.0: “Once we have integrated those two we need to think through how we will connect marketing planning, sales planning, product planning and resource planning. The key thing here will be to share long-term planning data and keep everyone aligned. Then we will need to connect with key customers and key suppliers to create a collaborative forecasting process. And when we have that connectedness, we need to think through how we include sustainability and social metrics in our core decision-making of our planning processes.” 

This vision for S&OP Bram has dubbed ‘Integrated Value Planning’, which you can read more on in his third book, Rethinking Supply Chain’, released later this year on June 3rd. 

Solventure customers on different steps of their S&OP journey 

During the day, three valued customers of Solventure took the stage to give the audience a taste of their experience with the recent evolution to a more effective and integrated S&OP. 

Poppies Bakeries showed that they are already seeing the first results of their implementation of SAP and the link to Arkieva, the planning tool implemented by Solventure. “Poppies is becoming a big, multinational food group,” Nic Dufoort, Supply Chain Director, states, “but it still is comprised of multiple smaller companies, operating individually. Our challenge is to combine all the different tools, processes and sales teams into one group and grow to one centralized S&OP.” 

Following Poppies, Ali Eulaers, Supply Chain Process Improvement Manager at What’s Cooking?, served up a great APS (Advanced Planning & Scheduling) dish by explaining how the S&OP project at What’s Cooking? wasn’t simply a Supply Chain project, but a fully integrated business project. “We involve different stakeholders, try to work together with Sales and Operations, and integrate separate planning processes with a central S&OP so everyone can benefit from it.” With Arkieva as the advanced statistical engine, What’s Cooking? can build planning scenarios which are used by Purchasing, for instance, to build reliable tenders for their suppliers. Ali: “What I like with Arkieva is that you can try and change on the fly as it’s very flexible, and you can convince people to try out new things!”. 

To wrap things up at the SCI event, Frederic Van Delm, Supply Chain Planning & Logistics Lead at Wolf Oil, explained the critical factors that prompted the need at Wolf Oil for a supply chain change and the strategic decision to adopt a new S&OP approach. Frederic: “With the out-of-the-box Arkieva+ planning solution as a strong basis, the structure in our supply chain allowed us to manage different external challenges throughout the years, during which the Supply Chain team helped to focus on the right rules and structure. The results we’re seeing from Arkieva+ are very promising, and I believe it will make our supply chain future-proof again.” 

Looking for a deep dive into these Success stories?

Poppies, What’s Cooking?, Hero, Duvel, Wonderful Brands, Neuhaus and Perfetti van Melle have summarized their S&OP challenges and victories within the Food & Beverages realm into practical cases. Solventure couldn’t be prouder to be their partner to support their S&OP journey.  


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