2 Table of contents Executive summary... 3 Overview of S&OP and financial planning processes... 4 An in-depth discussion... 5 What are the benefits of S&OP and financial planning integration?... 5 Why is the integration of the S&OP and financial planning process difficult?... 5 PwC perspective... 7 What is integrated planning?... 7 Moving toward integrated planning... 8 Conclusion... 11
3 Executive summary In today s competitive consumer and industrial products and high-tech industries, the ability to rapidly respond to changing market demands and accurately forecast earnings is a competitive advantage. Earnings surprises have a direct impact on a company s stock price, and organizations that do not react nimbly to unexpected market shifts can lose competitive standing. Our experience shows that a lack of integration between financial planning and sales and operational planning (S&OP) processes can be a contributing factor to poor forecast accuracy and delayed response to changing business conditions. Why does my S&OP plan call for higher inventory levels than the financial plan (which was provided as street guidance)? The S&OP plan called for higher revenue attainment and on-time performance, but finance never factored the cost to support revenue." Consumer, industrial, pharmaceutical and high-tech manufacturing companies, in particular, have significant requirements for robust S&OP processes due to demand and portfolio variability. Industries requiring strong S&OP capabilities often will have difficulty integrating them with financial planning processes due to inherent differences in level of detail, timing, and key stakeholder goals and incentives. These differences complicate comparison of S&OP and financial planning results and hinder a company's ability to understand the financial implication of S&OP outputs. A high-tech COO Based on our work with dozens of companies in these industries, PwC has observed that the ability to integrate the S&OP and financial planning processes allows a company to: Quickly understand the implications of changing supply or demand on financial results Minimize revenue and earnings surprises Improve accuracy of both S&OP and financial plans Gain organizational and process efficiencies (by more quickly understanding financial implications of changing financial targets) Drawing on our deep expertise with both financial planning and S&OP, we ve developed a point of view for integrated planning that describes how clients should drive integration between these two key business functions in order to realize a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Based on our experience, improvement in the following four areas is key to realizing the benefits of integrated S&OP and financial planning functions: 1. Process: Balancing and aligning S&OP and finance goals to create a consensus plan 2. Data: Align product data structures 3. People: Minimize organizational silos and align incentives 4. Technology: Create an end-to-end planning system that supports both S&OP planning and financial planning activities This paper takes a look at characteristics of successful integrated planning cycles within the consumer, industrial products, pharmaceutical and high-tech industries and suggests viable steps to drive improved integration between S&OP and financial planning processes.
4 Overview of S&OP and financial planning processes While sales and operational planning and financial planning aren t new concepts to most large companies, the line between the two processes can vary from organization to organization. To set a baseline for our discussion, the following is an overview of how we define S&OP and financial planning: Sales and operational planning process The S&OP process typically begins with the generation of a sales forecast, marketing forecast, and product transition plans, as well as any forecasts from collaboration with key customers. These multiple forecast streams are rationalized using various analytics and business rules to generate a consensus demand plan essentially, the common demand signal that the entire company will operate against. This demand plan is typically generated for the next 15 to 18 months, with emphasis on accuracy at the detailed product level in the near term and emphasis on directional accuracy at the aggregate A lack of integration between financial planning and S&OP processes can be a contributing factor to poor forecast accuracy and delayed response to changing business conditions. level in the outer months and quarters. Ideally, it is an estimate of the supply required to meet true market demand and is unconstrained by the company s ability to meet that demand. The supply planning organization then generates a supply plan in support of this demand. It also identifies material and capacity constraints that create supply shortfall against this plan, along with recommendations for allocating constrained supply based on priorities established ahead of time by the demand organizations. At this point, two types of discussions tactical and strategic occur in the process. The tactical S&OP discussions between sales, marketing, operations, and finance organizations focus on nearterm (typically current and next quarter) product- and customerspecific supply/demand imbalances and on approaches to close gaps with customer delivery performance, shipment volume, and revenue targets. Discussions and decisions typically occur at the functional level with critical issues escalated to executive management for resolution. The strategic S&OP discussions typically focus on the medium term (seven to 18 months) with emphasis on alignment of resources (human, physical, and financial), as well as additional investments required to achieve the company's medium- and long-term financial and business goals. Discussions and decisions typically occur at the executive management level, with directional guidance and priorities being incorporated into the near-term demand and supply planning processes as well as into the financial planning process to project revenue, gross margin, and CAPEX spend. Financial planning process The financial planning process begins with a multi-year strategic plan process that is responsible for setting annual plan targets. Within a particular year, the financial plan process typically consists of an annual budget that sets company goals and compensation-
5 related financial targets, as well as a periodic forecasting process (typically quarterly and possibly monthly) that provides benchmark comparison points for actuals and ultimately drives quarterly and annual earnings guidance. Companies use the annual budget and periodic forecasts to support profit and loss (P&L), balance sheet, cash flow, and capital plan creation processes. The results of the S&OP process are a key input into the financial planning process. For example, from a P&L standpoint, the revenue and the cost of sales information should in theory be derived financially from the output of the S&OP process. The reality for many organizations, however, is that there are significant timing and level-of-detail constraints and competing organizational incentives that must be cleared before an S&OP process can feed cleanly into the financial planning process. As a result, there isn t always a direct correlation between the two processes. While the intention for many companies is for the financial planning process to leverage outputs from the S&OP process, the reality is that most organizations end up using historical data and projections to develop a financial plan, in some cases completely disregarding the S&OP outputs. An in-depth discussion What are the benefits of S&OP and financial planning integration? In today s competitive global marketplace, companies are in constant search for a competitive advantage. We have found the integration of S&OP and financial planning processes to be a potential source of considerable competitive advantage, often leading to: Improved accuracy of both S&OP and financial plans Quicker response to changing supply or demand business conditions Reduction of operating costs, inventory, and CAPEX spend (by more quickly understanding operational implications of changing financial targets) Minimized revenue and earnings surprises Why is the integration of the S&OP and financial planning process difficult? As discussed above, there are many benefits to integrating the S&OP and financial planning processes, but often companies struggle to do so. Based on our experience working with industrial and consumer products and high-tech companies, PwC has consistently observed the following challenges: Operating objectives differ between S&OP and financial plans Because S&OP is more focused on the supply chain, the objectives of the S&OP process differ from those of financial planning. While the supply-chain planning portion of S&OP focuses on what a company needs to make, where it should be made, and when it should become available in unit terms the financial plan typically focuses on monetary issues such as how many purchase orders will be cut, what s the average selling price of your product, what s the unit cost, and how does that impact
6 margins. Because there are divergent objectives and focus, both planning processes start off with a very different intent. S&OP and financial planning cycles operate on different planning timelines The timing of the various cycles also differs between the S&OP and financial planning processes. Financial planning calendars are driven by external and internal reporting deadlines (e.g., monthly close, quarters, year-end, board meetings), with companies typically going through an annual budgeting process and periodic forecasts (as frequent as monthly, but more likely quarterly). S&OP planning cycles, on the other hand, are much more frequent and operate on a much shorter-term horizon. They are driven by frequently updated (weekly) sales force projections and demand commitments that can quickly become outdated and out of sync with financial plans and forecasts. Differences in the product hierarchies Companies often have significant complexity and lack of standardization between SKU-level detail that is used to support the S&OP process and product-family-level detail that can be used to support the less-detailed financial planning process. For example, on the production side, engineering and R&D could use six levels of product hierarchy (e.g., product, product family, product lines, SKUs, etc.) to support the production process. Financial planners generally only plan based on product categories in aggregate (i.e., product line or family) and they develop different revenue and cost models at that higher level. Sales and marketing usually fall somewhere in between, opting to manage sales based on promotions of particular models, package sizes, or configurations. This lack of alignment can be even more complicated in companies that organize sales, marketing, and supply chains geographically, and financial plans by global business unit. Challenges translating between volumes and dollars. S&OP plans are typically driven by units and prices, and calculate sales revenue. The financial plan on the other hand takes into account units and prices at higher level aggregates and averages, and also factors in recognizable revenue as well as other adjustments required to comply with externally reported financials. As a result, companies often struggle to efficiently translate between the different types of revenue on a timely basis. Organizational silos create challenges for collaboration. Traditionally, planning teams in operations and finance have functioned in an insular manner, generally avoiding deep collaboration with each other. Recognition that integrated plans require finance and operations teams to come together and agree on common models for planning can challenge traditional norms of communication, trust, and understanding. Operations may find it difficult to believe that their partners in finance really do have an interest in understanding the business beyond "bean counting." Finance teams may find it challenging to relinquish control to operational leads of key inputs and assumptions used to derive core reporting and planning lines such as margin, average selling price (ASP), etc.
7 Market GEOGRAPHIC INTEGRATION Region PROCESS INTEGRATION Group PwC perspective What is integrated planning? Despite the hurdles, companies can get closer alignment between the S&OP process and the financial planning process by utilizing integrated planning. As depicted in the figure below, an effective integrated planning environment integrates process, functional, data, and geographic components so that outputs of the S&OP process feed cleanly into the financial plan process. By linking S&OP with the financial plan, integrated planning enables the finance and operations team to work closely and perform strategic and financial modeling and analytics. FUNCTIONAL INTEGRATION S&OP Financial Planning Strategic Planning Annual Budgeting Operational Planning
8 The following matrix describes the various levels of maturity within integrated planning, with the first phase (traditional) being the least mature state, having minimal technology enablement and little alignment or integration between S&OP and financial planning processes, and the fourth phase (best in class) the most mature, utilizing a full set of integrated technologies and having strong alignment between the two processes. Integrated planning maturity phases Moving toward integrated planning With extensive experience in helping clients improve efficiency and performance in both finance and operations, PwC has developed a point of view on some key areas of integrated planning. We have observed considerable improvements in planning performance when these areas are addressed. We present these view points below aligned with our Integrated Planning Maturity Framework dimensions of process, data, people, and technology. 1. Processes: Balancing and aligning S&OP and finance goals to create a consensus plan The sales forecasting process should drive an unconstrained view of demand from sales and marketing teams. These forecasts should not be affected by supply constraints. We have observed that the most successful integrated planning processes are ones that drive consistent end-to-end alignment between three forecasting approaches:
9 Sales and marketing forecasts that build up unconstrained view of known demand Production/supply chain planning that focuses forecasting supply constraints Financial planning focused on macro-economic assumptions and awareness of the unconstrained total market opportunity This is typically achieved by allowing independent bottom-up S&OP forecasting processes to co-exist with top-down financial modeling forecasts and driving consensus alignment through a series of agile cross-functional forecast meetings that occur at coordinated times within each month. 2. Data: Align product data structure Aligning processes only works when all parties have agreed to common driver models and use consistent data definitions. Although certain segments of the business may warrant more detail than others, it is imperative that the product data structures used throughout the organization be aligned. For example, if a company s financial planning process leverages the top two levels of a product structure, the more detailed S&OP models used to support sales forecasts and demand commitments must roll up into the same two levels used by the financial plan. This sounds intuitive but the reality in many companies is that product taxonomy discussions and decisions occur simultaneously in multiple areas, leading to diverging views of products from top to bottom. Without clear taxonomy alignment, consolidation into a single financial plan is challenged. A single product master that is aligned across S&OP and financial planning processes and that is managed under a robust data governance process is required. In our experience few companies have perfected this master data governance, although many recognize the importance to do so. We have found that companies who do well with master data alignment are those who have implemented cross-functional governance teams that meet regularly to discuss and update a unified product taxonomy. These teams have support from data administrators who manage master data changes using master data management systems (MDM software). Consistent driver models matter as well. Most companies acknowledge and strive towards unified models for price and volume revenue calculations across the business but modeling often diverges between bookings and sales metrics as well. For many companies this is a key hurdle in the integration of S&OP and financial plans. Financial planners typically build models based on actual sales conversion patterns or high level book-to-bill ratios. S&OP planners tend to model bookings and backlog by product and client, and consider intra-period production and supply chain optimizations that can considerably impact revenue. It is important for financial planners to be aware of the detailed S&OP planning models and use outputs of these plans to drive intra-period sales forecasts wherever possible. High level ratios are still important for target setting and longer term planning and these metrics must also be calculated in a consistent manner across the business. 3. People: Minimize organizational silos and align incentives In non-integrated planning processes it is common for S&OP organizations to be incentivized by revenue, volumes, and margin. Finance on the other hand will be interested in accuracy of EBITDA forecasts and in a view of fully recognizable revenue and the corresponding volumes. In many situations we ve seen challenges in building
10 integrated plans that incorporate these two competing sets of KPIs. Typically, the existence of misaligned incentives can create organizational silos and inhibit integration in S&OP and financial planning outputs. Companies that seek to align at least a few KPIs between these two processes have much better success delivering integrated plans and breaking down the organizational silos that exists between the functions. The tracking of both real revenue attainment (finance view) and volumes/cost of goods sold/gross margins (business view) to ensure that both the business and finance are incentivized to perform against a common set of KPIs will result in strengthening the integration of the functions. 4. Technology: Create a end-to-end planning system that supports both S&OP planning and financial planning activities Once you have an aligned data model, an unconstrained view of demand, and confidence in the numbers being generated from your integrated planning process, you can better understand the financial implications of changing supply or demand constraints. To accomplish this, you need robust technology capable of storing and calculating the integrated models quickly and regularly and so that planners can assess the financial impact of changing demand and supply targets. These planning/modeling systems should have the following attributes: Multi-user environments where planners across the business can collaborate on a common platform and share common versions while also managing their own working versions Provide aggregation of S&OP models into higher level financial results quickly and regularly (bi-weekly or even daily) Display variance and exception reporting of top-down models against bottomup models to support forecast alignment conversations Focus on a much shorter time horizons (e.g., one to two quarters out) but integrate forecasts with annual and multi-year plans. Contain historical actuals data set that permits multi-quarter and multi-year trending to help validate financial impacts of changing demand plans The ability to easily move between units, dollars, and revenue to clearly bridge the implications on the financial side for demand and supply changes The ability to model demand as a distribution, allowing simulations to determine sensitivities of multiple variables
11 Conclusion By taking the necessary steps to create consensus views of demand and supply, align data structures, minimize organizational silos, and create a financial planning model that can accept S&OP inputs and deliver both financial and operational impacts, your organization will have moved a long way toward integrated planning and true alignment between S&OP and financial planning processes. The integrated planning environment with integrated process, data, organization, and technology capabilities will allow your finance and operations team to work closely and strategically, ultimately enabling your company to accurately forecast earnings and respond with agility in the rapidly changing landscape of today s consumer, industrial products, and high-tech industries.
12 To have a deeper conversation about any of the issues in this paper, please contact: Gary Apanaschik Partner (860) Randy L. Brown Principal (617) Prakash Arunkundrum Director (408) Nicholas Kaposhilin Director (408) Nirmal Hasan Director PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. In this document, "PwC" refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each member firm of which is a separate legal entity.
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