From S&OP to Integrated Business Planning
Perstorp is one of the world’s leading speciality chemicals companies. Founded in 1881 by Wilhelm Wendt in the small municipality of Perstorp in southern Sweden, the company has evolved into a global business with seven production units across Asia, Europe and North America serving a wide range of industries with sustainable solutions and products.
Perstorp’s success builds on a strong culture that promotes collaboration and transparency. The strategic use of integrated business planning (IBP) is a great example. The process sets the pace for the business and synchronizes sales and finance with production and logistics – ensuring everyone is working toward a common goal. It was also IBP that first brought Perstorp and Optimity together.
IBP – it’s only as good as your demand plan
In 2019, Perstorp had decided to expand its existing S&OP process with IBP. Katrin Åkerlindh, Director of Customer Demand Planning, recalls the challenge. “We needed a better forecast to support our new IBP process. I started by reading articles about IBP and demand planning to get fresh ideas. We then went on to document our existing and to-be demand planning processes. Quite a bit of effort went into this, but it was time well spent and helped us stay focused along the way.”
Perstorp decided to replace its annual budget with a rolling 12-month forecast to better support the company’s supply-side planners and financial controllers. Unfortunately, the existing demand planning system couldn’t support this move, so they had to look at alternatives.
Following a formal evaluation process, Perstorp selected Optimity’s demand planning solution. Katrin explains why it was an easy decision. “It came down to usability. Optimity is extremely strong in this area. The system does everything we need without the complexity of other solutions.”
Getting sales onboard
The new IBP process needed a demand plan that the business could unite around. Katrin used her sales, business development and operations experience to approach the challenge: “My starting point is always People, Process and Technology. All three have to harmonize, but I firmly believe People are the most important.”
Katrin realized that success would hinge on sales taking ownership of the forecast, so she involved them in the project from the outset. “Our sales reps are best placed to provide accurate numbers. We had to take advantage of that. At the same time, salespeople are pragmatic, and they will only put in the effort if they see value in it. The upside is that when they see that the business is working to their numbers, commitment comes automatically. This is why the user experience was our top priority. We have over 70 sales reps spread across the globe, so accessing information and making adjustments had to be easy. So far, we’re getting great feedback from the users. They love the simplicity. They have everything they need right at their fingertips.”