Enterprise business planning: Uniting silos for success
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Enterprise business planning: Dissolve silos, embrace agility, and thrive

Global disruption is never far away. And when it hits, supply chains feel the full force, be it geopolitical tension, terrorism risk, or cybercrime. While distressing, these challenges push businesses to rethink their operating models, accelerate product roadmaps, explore new markets, and delight more customers. The roadblock? A disconnected business.

This isn't a new obstacle. Functions and departments across a business struggle to connect and work collaboratively, end to end, toward common organizational goals. How often are you caught off guard when making inventory decisions by sudden changes in sales strategies? Regularly? You're not alone.

One in four senior executives surveyed by McKinsey believe their company processes effectively balance cross-functional trade-offs. Why? One reason is poor data. Just over half of supply chain leaders surveyed separately have sufficient quality data in their planning systems.

So, what's the solution? Enterprise business planning. It unlocks a new operating model in which a CEO and a CFO lead cross-coordination at an enterprise level, integrating product planning, strategy, and execution. This allows clearer visibility of upstream and downstream risk outside the four walls of a business.

Predictive forecasting and planning across all key functions – supply chain, finance, and sales – and real-time responses to market fluctuations activate a connected, insights-driven approach. The result? Enhanced standardization and scalability of processes, centralized data, and shrinking operational costs.

Setting objectives to drive the right cross-functional behavior

There's no denying that technologies such as advanced analytics and generative AI are potent enablers in aligning functions and explaining forecast and budget variances. But that's not enough. You need the right behavior across departments for coordinated results.

If your objective is to increase revenue, you must cut operational and inventory costs, trim commercial staffing, and work with other departments. But you won't meet your ultimate goal if you prioritize one functional objective while pushing costs to other functions. So, how do you make functions work in orchestrated harmony?

You bring governance and consensus to your annual operating plan (AOP) and goals. And align them across different functional silos. Build an iterative process in which each participating function builds an action plan for achieving the top-line goal. That way, everyone has agreed on the necessary key performance indicators (KPIs) to reach your organization's strategic objective. Use a balanced scorecard as a tool to keep your functions honest while responding to the objective.

For example, your finance function agrees that growing 20% year over year is an AOP goal. Sales responds by pushing for more inventory. Procurement runs a check to establish if they have enough materials to support this goal. While all this happens, tracking your inventory growth is essential to avoid risks and unhealthy buildup of assets – something you can measure and proactively address through a balanced scorecard. Plus, indirect functions, such as your HR, must be ready to support this 20% growth with the right set of skills and strengths. This is how you design and run a robust enterprise business planning strategy – like a set of well-oiled gears working in tandem to run a machine.

Enterprise business planning in action

Supply chains need enhanced visibility, analytics-driven systems, and sustainability to be autonomous and networked. The ideal scenario sees each function connected and sharing data with minimal human intervention. By embedding a global demand and supply perspective, enterprise business planning allows profit and loss (P&L) owners across a value chain to make fact-based, informed decisions. It takes account of any top-line impacts driven by capacity constraints and inventory targets.

Over the years, we've seen companies across sectors with apparently well-connected supply chains only to discover poor processes, structures, and planning. Here's how the companies plugged their planning loopholes to boost visibility, accountability, and forecasting accuracy.

Consumer packaged goods

Building seamless collaboration to streamline inventory planning

This global CPG enterprise had no standardized processes. Structures ran on short-term firefighting. Mid-term and strategic planning were limited. Long-term capacity planning needed to be more connected.

So, we integrated demand and supply signals, enabling the organization to create a cross-functional operating model encompassing process, data, technology, people, organization, and governance. A one-vision mindset became possible.

The result? Automation and centralization increased efficiency for planning for full-time equivalents by almost 14%.

Life sciences

Empowering teams with accurate process visibility

Ambiguity and indecision plagued this medical equipment manufacturing company's sales, inventory, and operations planning (SIOP) process. Roles and responsibilities were unclear, product life cycle management ran in silos, and the company suffered from low line-item fill rates, high inventory levels, and high shutdowns.

We partnered with the company to adopt a new SIOP targeting operating model, streamlining demand and supply planning. And we embedded standardized KPIs built on a solid change management program for more than 700 members of the workforce.

The company now has a robust SIOP process across its entire network. Visibility of revenue risk and opportunities stretches across 24-month periods. And accountability, process governance, and exception management have increased.


Embedding seamless planning to cut customer wait time

Global manufacturer Terex's operations had no real-time data on its service parts inventory. Customers faced delays, and competitors made easy gains as a result. Terex needed solid collaboration with its vast global network of dealers to increase service part availability and simplify the order process.

We rolled out an AWS-hosted global supply chain planning solution to connect the manufacturer with dealers. The solution captures machine telematics data to help dealers identify service opportunities. And it increases parts availability by embedding plan services into the parts planning processes. It also establishes direct order interfaces.

Terex has reported up to an 80% reduction in planning efforts at dealerships and service partners. Over 100 dealers are now connected. And there are over 1,000 service opportunities a month.

High tech

Soaring internal and external collaboration to tackle risks faster

Qualcomm, a global high-tech semiconductor manufacturer, embarked on an upgrade of its complex supply chain to transform business planning and diversify revenue streams. But planning processes were disconnected, and demand priorities weren't clear. Plus, on-time deliveries and supply capacity suffered.

We designed a new target operating model for supply chain planning, with an integrated business planning team working on a single plan. It ties tactical actions to strategic and financial goals and is empowered to make cross-functional decisions. We helped it create and communicate its supply chain vision to boost executive commitment to the long-term plan.

Business planning is now more stable, accurate, and agile. It can model different scenarios using real-time data with change and commit analysis down from over five weeks to under 24 hours.

Getting it right is hard but worth the trip

The reality check: This kind of planning transformation is hard. And getting everyone aligned is even harder. Integrating multiple planning processes into one well-designed and robust approach takes time. It's not a process for process' sake. The benefits are real, tangible value.

A mature enterprise business planning process helps to drive revenue, empower employee and customer satisfaction, and boost shareholder value. And it boosts decision-making accuracy and velocity for sustainable growth and resilience. So, the next time your function struggles with leveling up its KPIs, remember the journey gets easier as you change one functional behavior at a time.


Gaurav Goel, global supply chain planning leader, Genpact | Follow on LinkedIn

Joshua Heubner, global life sciences solutions leader, Genpact | Follow on LinkedIn

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