Cognos Unveils Solutions to Improve S&OP, Trade Promotions Management

New Performance Blueprints latest in a series of industry-specific solutions

Burlington, MA — June 16, 2006 — Cognos, a provider of business intelligence and performance management solutions, has launched two new performance solutions designed to help manufacturers drive more effective sales and operations planning (S&OP) and trade promotions management.

Cognos said that matching product demand with production and supply chain capabilities is a key driver among manufacturers looking to improve business performance in today's dynamic marketplace. Yet, organizations have struggled with their S&OP processes due to a lack of coordinated planning, metrics and reporting across all departments.

Cognos said its new Sales and Operations Planning Blueprint enables management to reconcile sales and demand forecasts with supply plans using a single, integrated performance management framework that ensures enterprise-wide alignment. Users can model and assess the financial impact of supply/demand scenarios to create a multi-plant S&OP view, and then monitor the plan on an ongoing basis using scorecarding and analytics, making right-time adjustments as needed.

"As new opportunities arise, manufacturers need to plan quickly and in detail, said Colin Snow, vice-president and research director of operational and supply chain performance management at Ventana Research. Success is contingent on a number of ingredients — enterprise-wide integration of systems, ubiquitous information visibility across the supply chain, a strong 'what-if' capability and deep analytics for comparing outcomes, so management can anticipate the impact of potential actions across business functions."

He added that the Cognos Sales and Operations Planning Blueprint empowers organizations to react quickly to ad-hoc exceptions — like changes in demand, supply, capacity and product — plan effectively and measure the progress of responses against key performance objectives."

Another significant challenge for manufacturers, according to Cognos, is the inability to understand and measure the effectiveness of their retail trade promotions, given limited information access and an increasingly complex marketing and promotions mix. The provider said its Trade Promotion Management Blueprint enables brand and category managers as well as sales executives to evaluate multiple trade promotions scenarios, so they can plan promotional activities that lead to the greatest sales and margin lift.

The solution provides an automated vehicle to consolidate input from all stakeholders at the corporate, regional and district levels, including finance, sales and marketing management. Past promotion results can be analyzed and used as the basis for future plans. Various scenarios can also be tested to determine the best promotion investment model to maximize return on investment.

"The Cognos Performance Blueprints are probably the most valuable tools available to Cognos customers. They take standard business problems that organizations are modeling for, and provide a head start, allowing them to get more from their investment in their Cognos software," commented Robbie Kaplan, director of business intelligence at Constar International. With 19 plants worldwide, Constar is a global manufacturer of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic containers for food, carbonated beverages, sports drinks, juice, new age beverages, flavored alcohol and bottled water. "Cognos provides us a tool where we can capture assumptions, make them visible to the people who need to see them, and provide a methodology where we can disseminate information quickly to the people who need to react to it. The Cognos Sales and Operations Planning Blueprint, in particular, addresses issues and constraints that must be considered in developing an effective plan."

The Cognos Sales & Operations Planning and Trade Promotion Management Blueprints are available immediately to Cognos customers.

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