SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

July 08, 2008 10:00 ET

Sales and Operations Planning: Enabling Successful Alignment of Business Goals With Supply Chain Tactics

Research Reveals That Best-in-Class Companies Are 2 Times More Likely Than All Others to Have Their S&OP Plan Aligned With Their Company's Financial Goals

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - July 8, 2008) - Aberdeen, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), announced the release of its benchmark report entitled, "Sales and Operations Planning: Aligning Business Goals with Supply Chain Tactics." Aberdeen is continuing its research on the S&OP process, with over 300 respondents taking part in the May 2008 survey dedicated to S&OP. The goal of this year's report was to identify how the S&OP process is helping corporate executives accomplish their overall business strategy. The four broad strategies being considered were: product differentiation, customer service differentiation, cost reduction, and profitability.

The concept of Integrated Business Planning as the end goal of S&OP is highlighted in this report with a specific focus towards areas associated with demand management, response management and scenario planning, among others. The metrics that were benchmarked as an indicator of Best-in-Class performance with respect to the process are Increased Return on Net Assets (RONA), Customer Service Levels, Average Cash Conversion Cycles, and Average Forecast Accuracy at the Product Family Level.

Best-in-Class companies are able to obtain significant competitive differentiation through maturity along different dimensions of process, organization, performance measurement, and knowledge management. For example, Best-in-Class companies are:

--  50% more likely to adopt advanced demand sensing and management
    capabilities
--  More than twice as likely to have the ability to align the S&OP plan
    with the company's financial goals
--  50% more likely to have a full-time S&OP coordinator managing the S&OP
    process
--  Three-times as likely to proactively monitor daily performance against
    S&OP metrics
--  Twice as likely to understand business systems (ERP, advanced
    planning, BI) and utilize them effectively
    

"Sales and Operations planning processes should be enabled by technologies that have the ability to start at the business planning level and then drill down to supply chain operational metrics," said Nari Viswanathan, research director, Aberdeen. "The S&OP process should be complemented by a strong root cause analysis and execution framework that ensures that the S&OP plan is continuously tracked with respect to the financial goals set forth by the company. In other words, the S&OP lifecycle should precede the financial reporting lifecycle of a company and should be in lock-step."

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the following underwriters: Adexa, Demand Solutions, Kinaxis, Oracle, RiverLogic, and Supply Chain Consultants. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit: http://www.aberdeen.com/link/sponsor.asp?cid=4905.

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen http://www.aberdeen.com or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to http://www.harte-hanks.com.

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