Planning for 2018

As 2017 draws to a close, I think we can all be thankful for health, family, and the many blessings we have enjoyed this year. The improved business climate offers hope for an even brighter future even as economics and international relationships continue to shift and present new challenges for all.

As we sum up the accomplishments of 2017 and work on the forecasts for 2018, keep in mind that the best forecasts are often wrong and success may well depend on our ability to adapt to the changes as they occur. Agility is dependent on both flexibility and how much time we give ourselves through the earliest possible detection of the impending changes. By all means, put your best efforts into developing the best forecast you can but constantly monitor actual results and be prepared to update that forecast regularly throughout the year. Make your plans in line with that forecast (S&OP can help with detailed planning) but also consider how you can and should react to errors and changes. Contingency planning is a powerful tool in conjunction with risk assessment to determine the best responses for each potential situation (see Related Articles for more ideas).