Global sales and operations planning: A multinational manufacturing company perspective

PLoS One. 2021 Sep 21;16(9):e0257572. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257572. eCollection 2021.


The purpose of this paper is to analyse the global Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) process and investigate the steps to support consolidated business planning in worldwide operations and large-scale supply chains. The paper conducts a case study at a multinational manufacturing company applying an abductive approach. It combines the deductive logic from theory and the inductive logic from field observation in an attempt to elaborate further on theory on global S&OP. The analysis is structured and guided by a novel framework for global S&OP, which is developed based on the theoretical background and the case study findings. The research findings characterise the S&OP process for global operations and identify challenges related to the need to synchronise the subsidiaries' S&OP efforts worldwide to deal with different contingencies of these subsidiaries, and to manage and analyse a large amount of information gathered. The research reveals how the subsidiaries' performance is analysed by top executives along the global S&OP process, feeding strategic initiatives in the organisation and identifying business opportunities like benchmarking among subsidiaries, synergies with other management practices, and global gains. This paper offers a novel investigation of the global steps on S&OP in a real-life setting, offering a well-documented characterisation of the process that goes beyond the traditional local approach. Moreover, it is the first study to reveal challenges and expected outcomes of such a global perspective for S&OP. The theoretical advancements of S&OP research offered herein aid scholars, opening avenues for middle-range theorising, highlighting the cross-disciplinary nature of the domain, and discussing the use of concepts from related disciplines like Economics, Psychology, and Information Systems. The research findings can also assist executives, especially from multinational manufacturers, in their efforts to consolidate global planning.

Grant support

BH - Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (PROBRAL) - The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. LFS - Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Finance Code 001; Grant Number 88881.198822/2018-01), and Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (Grant Numbers 304931/2016-0, 404682/2016-2, 311757/2018-9) The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.