Sales and Operations Planning Manager Position Overview Job Description

Top-tier companies that are successful in meeting demand with supply and maximizing profitability more than likely have a Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process that is actively managed. S&OP has grown into a major business process in order to manage the balance and trade-off between conflicting preferences of the supply and demand side of the supply chain. It is one of the most critical business processes used to achieve “best in class” performance for companies to consistently outperform competitors.

The S&OP process integrates demand, supply, and financial planning into a forward-thinking plan based on input from the organization’s key functional areas, including sales, marketing, manufacturing, distribution, and finance. S&OP links strategic plans to operational plans and strives to develop the most beneficial product portfolio and product mix to maximize sales and profit. The best S&OP processes include superior cross-functional participation and engagement from across the organization, working as a team with a specific person in the role of owner.

Similar Job Titles:

  • Sales Planning/Planner
  • Supply Planning/Planner
  • Demand Planning/Planner
  • Demand/Supply Forecasting

There are many required skills for an S&OP Manager to be successful in the role. One of the most important is the ability to work across silos with people from different areas to communicate common goals, solicit information, and gain consensus and buy-in. The person in this role engages all levels of the organization and guides each functional area in understanding how it impacts the S&OP process. Earning respect from the team members and building trust is critical in breaking down silo walls.

The S&OP Manager is the subject matter expert for demand planning, network optimization, and capacity planning while supporting various projects including monthly demand plans, consumption models, network and production strategy optimization, integration of new businesses, and new product launches. This leader also facilitates each S&OP meeting to ensure the team is focused on the plan. The S&OP Manager may also need to lead technical initiatives to improve data analysis such as implementing planning software.

Some core responsibilities of the Sales & Operations Planning Manager include:

  • Participate in the development of statistical models to optimize safety stocks without negatively affecting customer service levels
  • Review and analyze the forecast demand versus actual demand, understanding changes and trends
  • Collaborate with Sales and Marketing to ensure that the promotions, visible impact orders, and new product forecasts are included in the aggregate demand
  • Notify Scheduling and Manufacturing of significant forecast or capacity changes in a timely basis
  • Communicate with Manufacturing about promotions, new products forecasts, and launch timing updates
  • Assist in the resolution of key supply-demand/service-cost issues
  • Document assumptions, promotions, and adjustments to forecasts using Sales and Marketing teams’ input
  • Analyze and upload timely and accurate periods of 18 months’ forecasts on a monthly basis
  • Facilitate monthly demand forecast aggregation, including consensus between functions and stakeholders
  • Assist with the coordination, facilitation, and documentation of regularly scheduled  planning meetings
  • Review, store, and backup final adjusted and unadjusted statistical forecasts
  • Create and drive continuous improvement of world-class demand planning and S&OP processes
  • Measure, control, and improve S&OP plan accuracy through clearly defined metrics
  • Lead network optimization process to mitigate costs and maximize service
  • Develop capacity simulation processes to run sensitivity analysis for growth

 Soft Skills:

  • Strong intellectual curiosity
  • Strategic and tactical thinking
  • Communication (both oral and written)
  • Interpersonal strengths
  • Strong organizational skills in strategy, communication at all levels and execution.
  • Strong leadership skills. Ability to lead, contribute, and influence others in a team-based organization
  • Excellent people skills, project management skills, with an ability to openly convey information to team members in a timely, concise manner.

Technical Skills:

  • Working knowledge of modern manufacturing, material flow and improvement strategies (e.g. ELS, continuous flow, cellular etc.) and the ability to integrate those into the operation
  • Demonstrated understanding of financial systems and the key drivers within the manufacturing environment
  • Understanding of applicable computer systems, such as Google Suite, Microsoft Office, and function specific software
  • IBF or APICS certification
  • Proficiency with SAP software
  • Proficiency in Microsoft excel, and other programs such as Access and Tableau

Required/Desired Education and Qualifications:

A Sales and Operations Planning Manager needs to have a depth of knowledge in all areas of supply chain such as demand planning, supply planning, and inventory planning. An S&OP manager must have excellent communication skills in order to work with different stakeholders in the areas that are integral to meeting the company’s goals.

Being organized and having strong facilitative skills are important in leading members of the team in monthly meetings and communicating with upper management. Leadership and interpersonal skills are necessary to drive results in fast-paced and demanding environments.  Making decisions in keeping strategies and tactics aligned with the goals of customer satisfaction, profitability, inventory, lead times, and working capital. Central to this role are both the ability to analyze needs based on capacity and capability as well as the ability to develop solutions where there are problematic issues.

  • Bachelor’s degree in Business, Supply Chain Management, or Logistics
  • MBA or Master’s degree in Business, Engineering, Supply Chain Management, Finance or equivalent
  • 5-10 years of experience in Supply Chain (Demand Planning, Supply Planning, and Inventory Planning in an environment of both manufactured and sourced finished goods) and/or related supply chain management including design, implementation, and execution of S&OP related processes

A Day in the Life of a Sales & Operations Planning Manager

The Sales & Operations Planning Manager’s day is definitely not boring. The role is focused on gathering and analyzing data used to forecast proper deployment of resources. A large part of the day is spent on planning, managing, and controlling a portfolio of products from forecasting and demand to plant output in order to support commercial, financial, and operational plans. 

The S&OP Manager spends a great deal of time working with other departments who are stakeholders in order to translate the commercial objectives relative to product supply into executable plans for manufacturing sites. In a large international company, the Manager will work across regions to ensure global demand is planned and supported; as a result, he/she would need to be available for different time zones.

Any day may find the Manager working with manufacturing sites in developing appropriate fulfillment models that are adaptive and scalable, anticipating future business requirements. In meeting this objective, the S&OP Manager may find part of his/her day interacting with managers working in manufacturing and supply chain areas. An important task involves analyzing supply constraints and identifying innovative solutions to quickly resolve them. He/she is always communicating and in problem solving mode. 

So many areas at a company come into play when planning sales and operations–areas like sales, marketing, manufacturing, inventory, and finance. The S&OP Manager has meetings constantly with these different areas to communicate, get information, and facilitate reviews. Any day can find the S&OP Manager gathering data from these areas and analyzing it for current status, future needs, and forecasting for demand. He/she is continually utilizing software that presents leading indicators and data analytics when aligning with financial plans, minimizing back orders, and positioning inventories to meet targeted customer service levels. 

Typical Working Conditions for an S&OP Manager:

The S&OP Manager works inside either in an office, in meeting rooms, on a manufacturing floor, or in a warehouse.

Technology Enhancements:

Using technology for S&OP improves and streamlines the process by smoothing out unreliable data, information silos, and scheduling challenges, all of which can make planning difficult. Many cloud-based technologies like collaboration tools and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software are commonplace. Analytics tools turn data into actionable insights for demand forecasting, price management, inventory management, scenario modeling and market trend analysis. 

Collaboration tools like Slack, Basecamp and Office 365 are also popular technology enablers for S&OP. These tools improve productivity and give leaders quicker insight into resource availability.

S&OP Salary Range and Benefits:

Salaries for S&OP Managers have a wide range based on size of the company, geographic location, and experience level. According to ZipRecruiter, annual salaries are as high as $126,000 and as low as $21,500, with the majority of S&OP Manager salaries in the range between $80,000 (25th percentile) and $99,500 (75th percentile). Top earners in the 90th percentile are reported making $109,500 annually across the United States.

Benefits are a complete package with an S&OP Manager position, including:

  • Relocation assistance
  • 401(k) 
  • 401(k) matching
  • Health insurance
  • Dental insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • AD&D insurance
  • Vision insurance

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