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Why establish a Sales and Operations Planning (SOP) in pharmaceutical industry ?

Many operations of the sales and operations planning in the pharmaceutical industry already exist but are managed independently by different pilots and often without coordination. The systemic approach remains unused because the organization has to be mature. From the outside and as we seek to optimize coordination with its suppliers and customers, the industrial and commercial plan in the pharmaceutical industry will become the cornerstone of a true Supply Chain approach.

From the inside, the process “industrial and commercial plan” in the pharmaceutical industry allows to regulate the input data of the operational planning process: Program Director of Production and Calculation of Net Requirements. This will help to filter the jolts of customer needs to somehow reduce peak loads and protect resources from erratic functioning. It is therefore also a key element of the Lean Management approach which places irregularities as the first waste because it generates much more and the opposite of the “standard”.

Generally stuck in solving everyday problems “we are late to deliver X, it lacks articles for the order Y, we must relaunch Z otherwise we will not deliver W, etc…”, most companies ignore or neglect the process “industrial and commercial plan” in the pharmaceutical industry which could however limit, with a few exceptions, the daily fever excesses.

What is the Sales and Operations Planning (SO&P) in the pharmaceutical industry?

The sales and operations planning in the pharmaceutical industry is a process of developing tactical plans that gives Management the means to lead the business in order to gain a continuous competitive advantage by integrating current or future products business plans into the supply chain.

The process integrates all of the company’s plans (sales, marketing, development, production, supply and finance) into a single package. It is carried out at least once a month and validated by the President at the product family level.

The process must bring together supply, demand, new product developments, both at the detailed level and at the product family level, and it must be consistent with the company plan.

The statement of company plans prevails for the short and medium term, with time enough to plan resources. Properly executed, the sales and operations planning in the pharmaceutical industry links the company’s strategic plans to its execution and to the extent of its performance with an objective to continuous improvement.

How build a sales and operation planning in pharmaceutical industry ?

Share the same data in each company department

All services share the information  : CEO, Sales, Purchasing, Production, Logistics, Finance, etc.)

Improve customer service

By taking into account changes in sales forecasts and a preventive adaptation.

Optimize and improve the use of resources

All resources of the company: human, machinery, storage space, financial are optimized by:

  • Loading/ capacity adequacy according to the constraints and objectives of the company,
  • Anticipation of potential mismatch issues between the company capacity and the commercial needs load,
  • Definition of the resulting smoothing strategy (“level”, “chase” or “compromised” strategy),
  • Decision of investing to cope with a foreseeable business increase,
  • Decision between the MAKE and the BUY,

Make shared decisions by all the managers

For every managers involved in processus, it’s necessary to :

  • Interest them in the process,
  • Make sure that they take their responsibility,
  • Get them to prepare their elements (sales forecasts, available capacity, critical supply resources, stock value objective, physical storage capacity, etc.),
  • Beyond preparing their elements, being able to justify them so that the final decision is the optimal decision.

Have a coherent approach

Between the strategic vision of the company (its business plan) and its ability to achieve its objectives.

Oblige the company to take a step back

At least once a month, to take a step back, to leave the daily tasks, to try to look what happens upfront or what it risks to happen …

Compare sales and production trends versus the budget

On a monthly basis and, if necessary, update the budget.

Develop the idea of ​​”prevent rather than cure!

That is to say avoid meetings and actions” firefighters” that mobilize many people from different departments to make decisions / provisions in the rush that have ultimately very little effects.

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