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School of Business | Department of Information and Service Economy | Information Systems Science | 2013
Thesis number: 13395
Use of analytics and information technology in sales and operations planning
Author: Paija, Tommi
Title: Use of analytics and information technology in sales and operations planning
Year: 2013  Language: eng
Department: Department of Information and Service Economy
Academic subject: Information Systems Science
Index terms: tietotekniikka; information technology; yritykset; companies; myynti; sales; tuotanto; production; kysyntä; demand; suunnittelu; planning
Pages: 84
Key terms: sales and operations planning; myynnin ja tuotannon suunnittelu; S&OP; SOP; demand forecasting; kysynnän ennustaminen; supply planning; tuotannonsuunnittelu; analytics; analytiikka; information technology; informaatioteknologia; supply chain planning software; toimitusketjun hallinnan työkalut
Objectives of the Study

Sales and operations planning (S&OP) is management process aiming to balance supply and demand. It functions as a link between strategic planning and operational planning. This thesis objective was to investigate the use of analytics and information technology (IT) within S&OP. The objective was further divided into three research questions: (1) How can analytics and information technology support S&OP process? (2) What tools are used within case companies and how well they support their S&OP process? (3) How use of analytics and IT is linked to S&OP maturity? These questions are answered by literature review and empirical case study.

Academic background and methodology

In the first part of the literature review, sales and operations planning process is presented together with potential benefits, success factors and implementation challenges. It also covers three S&OP maturity models presented in academic and professional research material. The second part of literature review focuses on analytics and information technology within S&OP. A technological framework is presented, which was later used in the empirical study. The empirical part of the study is based on case studies conducted in three Finnish companies. This study is qualitative research and the selected data collection method in the case studies was interviews.

Findings and conclusions

Three case companies were analyzed by describing their business environment (markets, products, production processes), S&OP process, and analytics and information technology used for running S&OP. Each company's level of S&OP maturity was assessed by using three maturity models presented in literature review. The main finding of the study is that mature S&OP process cannot be run without supporting information technology. Additionally, following findings were lifted from the literature and case studies as key findings: (1) mature S&OP process requires sufficient maturity from existing IT architecture; (2) profit optimization requires advanced capabilities from S&OP tools; (3) firm's business environment can affect remarkably to S&OP tool selection. In all, the study was able to answer the presented research questions, but limitation to three case studies makes generalizations to theory difficult.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.