Supply Chain Salary & Employment Forecast Series – Sales & Operations Planning Manager (S&Op Manager)

Hunter Campbell’s Supply Chain Salary & Employment Forecast Series profiles jobs within the Supply Chain job family including jobs in demand, salaries, and employment prospects.

In our fourth instalment, the role of Sales & Operations Planning Manager (S&Op Manager) is in the spotlight.

Purpose of the role

S&Op Managers play a critical role in high-performing organisations. The main purpose of S&Op is to coordinate across business units, increase transparency, balance supply and demand, and to achieve profitability.

The S&Op process generally occurs monthly and incorporates key decision makers from Supply Chain, Sales, Marketing, New Product Development (NPD), Finance, and Manufacturing.

There are multiple benefits that drop out of a well-oiled S&Op process including improved inventory management, better sales and budget forecasting, as well as a clear understanding of a product’s lifecycle and its management. This enables informed decisions about a product’s demand and supply to be made as well as allowing processes to be streamlined to deliver an improved customer experience. Ultimately, this all improves the bottom line.

Key skills and qualifications required

There are a number of key skills required to lead a high-performing S&Op process and team and this list is not exhaustive. These skills can be broken into a couple of key areas.

Technical skills that include:

  • Experience leading a S&Op functional area (Supply, Demand and/or Finance).
  • Experience with planning and analytical tools such as Oracle Demantra, SAP, APO, BI, Tableau or similar.
  • A tertiary qualification is an asset, particularly a math, science, or statistics-based qualification.
  • Strong analytical, organisational, and decision-making skills.

Some of the softer skills include:

  • Leadership presence and the ability to lead a process in a highly matrixed environment.
  • Experience creating executive-friendly presentations on complex business and Supply Chain topics, and presenting to senior level audiences.
  • Capable of influencing and driving decisions through the S&Op process.
  • Proven ability to build and maintain productive cross-functional relationships.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Career prospects

S&Op Managers operate at the confluence of Supply Chain, Sales, Manufacturing, Finance, and Marketing.

They have a major influence on the ability of a business to improve key measurements across forecast accuracy, inventory control, DIFOT, and adherence to plan to name a few.

It can be a testing role with elements of cross-functional friction when people are held accountable for their role in the S&Op process.  As such, it is a high-profile position in an organisation that has a direct ability to influence profitability. Importantly, S&Op brings the key elements of people and technology together.

If an individual proves capable of bringing all these complex elements together and running a competent process, they will likely be earmarked for senior Supply Chain management roles in the wider organisation that can lead to the position of Supply Chain Director.

In addition, and depending on your skill set, there is the option to transition to becoming a consultant. This could be either as an independent consultant or working within an established organisation to give advice and implement advance planning and S&Op into other businesses.

Recruitment forecast 

S&Op as a function within business is here to stay. As a process it has been around globally for over 30 years.

However, in New Zealand there are still many organisations that would benefit from a formal S&Op process.  Executive teams are demanding total visibility across the organisation, often down to individual SKU level. Customers are driving the need to react quickly with faster planning cycles required to meet these customer demands.

The S&Op Manager through a well organised S&Op process can give visibility across the value chain, helping to mitigate risk and providing information for forward decision-making.

It could be said that COVID-19 has exposed some organisation’s forecasting and ability to react quickly to changing customer demand. As a result, businesses are refining their planning and forecasting models to alleviate risk. This means businesses are looking to future proof by employing skilled S&Op Managers who can lead a complex process and use the relevant analytical tools to deliver clear information to assist executive decision making. The long-term prospects are extremely positive.

Salary guide

  • Intermediate: $110,000 – $130,000
  • Advanced: $130,000 – $165,000
  • Leadership: $170,000 – $220,000

In smaller organisation the role of managing the S&Op process often falls to a Senior Demand Planner and sometimes the Supply Chain Manager. They have insight across the value chain and interact with the wider business. Salaries can vary widely here but a mid-point would be $110,000 – $130,000. The range is broad as it covers the role of both a Senior Demand Planner and a Supply Chain Manager, taking into consideration the wider responsibilities of a Supply Chain Manager.

Larger organisations may have a dedicated S&Op function where the process is formalised and has the executive agree and sign off on the monthly process. Individuals at this level are expected to be commercial, numerate, an advanced user of planning and forecasting tools, and they can manage and run a very formalised process. Salaries can range from $130,000 – $165,000.

Some of the large New Zealand-based multinationals require the leadership of substantial planning teams and the planning and S&Op oversight of multiple manufacturing sites. The leadership requirements and added complexities may see remuneration ranging from $170,000 – $220,000.

If you would like to find out more about the role of S&Op Manager, please contact Founding Partner Ken Webb. Ken specialises in the recruitment of Supply Chain, Procurement & Operations roles. For more news and views visit our website by clicking here, see what opportunities we have available here or follow us on LinkedIn.

Supply Chain Salary & Employment Forecast Series

  1. Demand Planner
  2. Maintenance Engineer
  3. Warehouse Manager
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