What my dad told me about Sales and Operations!

So, a long time ago, when I was a kid, I asked my dad, “What is the best way to make money?” I expected an answer in the lines of “Become a Politician or an Actor or an Entrepreneur”. But what he told me was completely different and it still stays in my mind. He told me, “The best way to make money is to save money!”

piggy-bank - SAve money to make money


It has been years and now I understand the in depth meaning that it holds, not just at a personal level but also at an enterprise level. When the enterprise is going through the days of trouble, the first check would be on the operations and then on the sales. Aberdeen group published a report about the organizations which neglected the sales and operations and the results of the report are pretty shocking!

Aberdeen classified 30% of all companies as “Sales and operations (S&Op) laggards” and they gave their analysis based on that.

Driver S&Op Laggards Best in Class Performer
Customer service 16%  lower than the best in class competitor  Data not available
Forecast Accuracy 60% 86%
Cash Conversion Cycle 4 Months <15 days cycle

But if the laggards are able to bring in process and “analytics” around S&Op, it is said they would be able to make a profit margin of 12% above the industry norm, they can do an order fill rate of 11% better than the average industry fill rate and agility towards market increases by 5x.

Okay, that’s fine. But how to improve on the sales and operations processes?

How about an S&Op process that would give an ability to review the current plan? How about having an option to see how the new products are performing? How about enabling a review of the current demand and create a demand plan that includes marketing and sales forecasts? How about a scenario analyser? Woah, how about an ability to create an operation plan that can satisfy the demand plan and visualize the different types of backlogs?

These are a huge laundry list of requirements but if solved at a go, there is nothing like it, right?

BRIDGEi2i worked with the sales and operations team of a Fortune 500 company to help them build a visualization tool to streamline their demand and revenue planning initiatives. The whole idea was to build a common platform for stakeholders across revenue and demand planning teams and help them visualize their previous quarter progress as well the current quarter status.

The important feature was the ability to show the demand, supply and revenue together. BRIDGEi2i went one step further by providing the ability to see the backlogs across the multiple hierarchies and time zones in the organization.

So what were the results? The cross functional dashboard became an agent of change in the organization bringing about key benefits such as:

  • Ability to build consensus among all the financial planners, revenue planners and demand planners.
  • Ability to identify their good, bad and ugly business units drilldown across all hierarchies.
  • Ability to visualize the “4 quarter ahead” forecast in comparison to the previous quarter in a single view across the demand, supply and revenue.
  • Last but on the least, they were able to PLAN, PLAN and PLAN for the quarters to come based on the view.

Yes, what my dad told is still true for me as well for an enterprise. “The best way to make money is to save money!” What he didn’t tell me was about the cross functional dashboard!

We are going to talk more about the process that takes to build a cross functional dashboard in the upcoming posts. Keep an eye out for them!


This blog is written by Alagiri Samy, Analytics Consultant at BRIDGEi2i

About BRIDGEi2i: BRIDGEi2i provides Business Analytics Solutions to enterprises globally, enabling them to achieve accelerated business impact harnessing the power of data. Our analytics services and technology solutions enable business managers to consume more meaningful information from big data, generate actionable insights from complex business problems and make data driven decisions across pan-enterprise processes to create sustainable business impact. To know more visit www.bridgei2i.com

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of BRIDGEi2i.