S&OP Director Job Description

S&OP Director Job Description

By Published On: October 11, 2022

Sales and Operations Planning Director Job Description

This is a highly specialized position that typically requires up to 10 years of planning experience within supply chain. Given current trends and supply chain volatility, this experience should also include lots of exposure to the latest planning and operations technologies.

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. S&OP has developed into a major business process that manages the balance between conflicting preferences of the supply and demand side of the supply chain. It is one of the most important business processes used to achieve “best in class” performance for global multinationals or even domestic operations organizations.

The S&OP process is a forward-thinking plan that integrates demand, supply, and financial planning into a schemata based on input from the organization’s key functional areas. These areas include 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 world-class cross-functional participation. The S&OP Director oversees the entirety of the S&OP process and ensures a seamless operation and cross-functional communications process.

Once a candidate reaches this level in supply chain, leadership becomes much more of an emphasis. After all, the supply chain is people. 

Leadership Responsibilities:

  • Create a culture of performance, continuous improvement, and collaboration – internal and external – within department and across Materials Management
  • Focuses on employee development, succession planning, and employee retention for department
  • Develop department-level performance goals and standards
  • Initiate and participate in department-level engagement activities
  • Encourages open & candid communication
  • Provides empowerment opportunities for department
  • Inspires direct reports through coaching and candid feedback

Sales and Operations Director Skills and Responsibilities

There are many required skills for an S&OP Director. The ability to work across silos with people from different areas to communicate common goals, solicit information, and gain consensus and buy-in seems to be one of the most important. The Director will ensure that all team members are operating in this manner as well. Earning respect from the team members and building trust is critical in breaking down silo walls.

The S&OP Director 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 Director may also need to lead technical initiatives to improve data analysis such as implementing planning software. Reporting to the Head of Sales & Operations Planning, the role is a key function to deliver an ongoing commercial review process and expedite the transformational steps required by the Kearney review.

Some core responsibilities of the S&OP Director include:

  • Execute the monthly management of the S&OP process 
  • Capturing the status and challenges in a monthly dashboard to the S&OP, Committee teams. 
  • Ensure standardized templates and data sources are developed and executed each month within the agreed calendar allowing issues and actions to be raised holistically to each department and ultimately OPCO. 
  • Execute the key “Control Tower” sequence with Finance ensuring buy-in from each Finance sub-team, and consistent story/message build on the S&OP issues and actions. 
  • Preparation of a variety of monthly S&OP reports suitable for presentation for senior management, combining demand and supply topics. 
  • Responsible for compiling data from different sources, analyzing data, and providing insights. 
  • Develop insightful reporting to measure business performance and provide business recommendations for improvement and/or innovation. 
  • Liaise with the different departments and outside stakeholders and partners to follow up on any challenges or discrepancies within the data. Participate in/lead ad-hoc analytical projects as needed.

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, and project management skills, with an ability to openly convey information to team members in a timely, concise manner.
  • Must be able to work independently while still functioning well in a team environment. 
  • Able to communicate effectively with senior management, peers, and colleagues cross-functionally. 
  • People management experience including strong interpersonal and leadership skills: meeting facilitation, skill sharing and training, organization, conflict management, change agent, manage relationships.

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 Director 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 Director 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 Director

The Sales & Operations Planning Director’s day is definitely not boring. The role is focused on gathering and analyzing data used to forecast the 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. 

Any day may find the Director 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 Director may find part of his/her day interacting with Directors 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 Director has meetings constantly with these different areas to communicate, get information, and facilitate reviews. Any day can find the S&OP Director 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 Director:

The S&OP Director works inside either in an office, in meeting rooms, on a manufacturing floor, or in a warehouse. Director-level personnel often have to travel up to 20% annually in order to personally engage with relevant stakeholders.

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 Directors have a wide range based on the size of the company, geographic location, and experience level. Salaries can range from $117,000 to $176,000 with a median of about $147,000.  

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

  • Relocation assistance
  • 401(k) matching
  • Health, Vision, and Dental Insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • AD&D insurance
  • Annual cost of living increases
  • Annual performance-based bonuses
  • Gym reimbursement
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Wellness benefits including nutrition, sleep, executive coaching, etc

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