In order to survive in the oft-tumultuous marketplace, best-practice organizations cannot spend too much time planning for the future. When pressed, few enterprises would deny that they struggle with supply chain planning. The process of balancing supply and demand is a fickle one, requiring no small amount of market acumen, foresight, and monitoring.
No industry is safe from the ebb and flow of the supply chain. Oversupply and shortages often hit retailers where it hurts. Seasonal shopping curves present a lofty challenge to consumer products manufacturers. Customer and supplier unpredictability can make or break a high-tech company's supply chain plans.
To counter the various and sundry challenges that supply chain planning presents, many organizations are integrating the concept of sales and operations planning (S&OP) as a core component of their overall planning processes. S&OP is the "magic" ingredient in supply chain planning, a mix of processes and technological tools that can enhance an organization's ability to effectively respond to variability in supply and demand.
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