Surviving the economic downturn is easier said than done. However, with integrated business planning, that is planning and remediation of company processes across all departments towards mutual goals, your business’ chances of survival are much stronger. Learn how to implement this powerful planning tool at your business and reap the benefits of a more streamlined and resilient organization.
You may be hearing some of the most promising news that’s come along in
months, however. Yes, the bleak outlook that companies had just a few
months ago is transforming into a positive, though cautious, attitude.
While economic experts have noted a five percent growth in the economy,
your segment may not fall within one of these industries. Regardless of
whether your industry is included or not, Integrated Business Planning
or Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) remains a necessity not only
to surviving an economic downturn but also succeeding, both now and in
One of the few perks of a recession is that it eliminates
underperforming players, practically wiping the slate clean for your
company, helping it to gain a better foothold in the market, and
effectively evaluate business initiatives and goals. This downtime is
key to winning customers and ensuring you have systems robust enough to
weather any other potential storm along the way. With a well-positioned
Integrated Business Planning, or Sales and Operations Planning
(S&OP) process in place, flare-ups can be dealt with immediately,
and issues can be managed without constant monitoring. Not only are
short-term solutions presented, but long-term tools for surviving
another economic downturn are addressed as well.
Key Points to Remaining Successful
In terms of weathering this or any other recession, management is the
glue that keeps the company together. When management spends excessive
amounts of time addressing daily issues rather than focusing on the big
picture, however, a lapse in meeting market and customer demand occurs.
With so many factors in play, what can management do to ensure the
company beats the competition and identifies ways to deal with the
eventual uptick in business? Following are three key points to remaining
1. One way to weather the storm is to make preparations that are
specific to your business. Luxury items, for instance, are taking longer
to rebound in the market; and while people are finally cracking open
their wallets, these funds are usually spent on lower-priced items.
How has the recession affected long-term consumer expectations? Part of
Integrated Business Planning involves an in-depth evaluation of your
business model, including asking:
2. Another solution to surviving an economic downturn is to introduce
stress through technology. Technology can provide data models that
identify gaps in plans or aggregate data from multiple sources that save
the company time and money. These are important tools for successfully
surviving an economic downturn. During this period of introducing new
technology and evaluating new processes, it’s possible that the company
may either lose or gain market share.
Over time, your Integrated Business Planning processes will mature,
helping you and your team pinpoint supply and demand goals, understand
financials in greater depth, identify acquisitions, and improve cash
3. It is the responsibility of executive management to take the time to
challenge themselves to think differently about their business.
Oftentimes, however, cultural factors within the work environment can
prevent positive breakthroughs. It falls on the shoulders of the
management team to challenge pre-existing notions and beliefs about the
business. Sure, the economy will change, but nothing is guaranteed,
which is why having the proper Integrated Business Planning tools in
place ensures the company will continue to profit and push ahead.
Strategic Integrated Business Planning, if implemented in every element
of the company, should address the following:
Winning (and, for the time being, surviving) in an economic downturn
means that you must evaluate your bottom line with open eyes and
honestly assess the situation. In many cases, the outlook may still
prove bleak, but times are getting better. Integrated Business Planning
and preparation ensure you have something to fall back on when the storm
gets too rough. Addressing both the short- and long-term issues that
plague your business in a downturn through various Integrated Business
Planning tools also ensures you’ve evaluated all aspects with a mind
responsive to change and growth.
Evolution of S&OP into Integrated Business Planning
Sales and Operations Planning is evolving into what many companies are
now calling Integrated Business Planning. It is no longer just a process
for aligning product portfolio plans, demand plans, and strategic
The key driver of this evolution is the benefits companies realize from
integrating ALL company processes into an Integrated Business Planning
process that the executive team uses to manage the business.
The key differences between S&OP and Integrated Business Planning
Integrated Business Planning, Integrated Business, Business Planning, Economic Downturn, Operations Planning