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Researchers will help companies perform better

A new project will shed light on the human aspects of companies’ Sales and Operations Planning. This holds great potential for businesses.

Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) has been a well-known concept in the Danish business community for many years, but the step from understanding the concept to actual structured action can be massive and unmanageable for many companies.

According to Professor Jan Stentoft at the University of Southern Denmark in Kolding, there is a great untapped potential in many Danish companies, which often have a tendency to focus too much on technology and too little on people and process design.

Inadequate research

In order to reap the full benefits of the S&OP tools, employees need an extensive revision of their thought-patterns – however, it can be done, Jan Stentoft believes.

This is the point of departure for him and his team at the University of Southern Denmark in Kolding, where they will research the possible roads to S&OP success up until the end of 2018, this to ensure timely and necessary decisions regarding production volumes and required capacity – to the benefit of the entire Danish business community.

- Existing research focuses on the technology behind S&OP, but there is nothing about the purely human aspects. This is strange, because – the way we see it – the vast majority of problems occur between people," says Jan Stentoft.

Notable companies participate

The University's research team will take its point of departure in the 'best practices' of five specific and well-known Danish companies, including: Toms Group, Pandora, Arla Foods, Lantmännen Bakery and JBS.

The common denominator is that they all have gained useful experience with the implementation of S&OP, which hopefully will pave the way for ten other companies which the research team will follow closely – from the very start-up to when the tools are fully implemented in the workflows.

- The participating companies will gain improved performance in terms of increased market understanding and supply capacity, while also reducing costs to the benefit of innovation and growth," says Jan Stentoft, who expects that the project will raise awareness of how competitiveness can be improved in Danish industrial companies via S&OP.

Support from the business community

Besides Jan Stentoft, the research team at the University of Southern Denmark in Kolding consists of Professor Per Vagn Freytag, Postdoc Lone Kavin and Assistant Professor Ole Stegmann Mikkelsen – and the project is carried out in collaboration with Mercuri Urval, New Core and 4IMPROVE.

The research project is funded by the Danish Industry Foundation, and it is mainly aimed at top and middle managers from sales and operational offices in Danish companies. During the project, others can learn about the practical importance of S&OP for the participating companies through video features on the project’s website.

The project is funded with DKK 3.2 million from the Danish Industry Foundation.

Meet the researcher

Jan Stentoft is a professor in supply chain management and supply chain innovation at the Department of Entrepreneurship and Relationship Management.

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