Business planning makes an important contribution to the steering of the company. However, dealing with the future, the customer and the question of which actions should lead to the desired outcomes is usually not what happens in the typical planning process.

 

beeBlum can help you to create a planning system that is really future-oriented. We do not replace your existing software, but complement it in a meaningful way. With beeBlum you won't just plan x% more in the future, but you will move forward strategically. Together with other knowledge workers you discuss assumptions, compare different activities and develop early indicators that really help you to achieve your goals. 

"Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans."

Peter F. Drucker

Planning - in the conventional sense - is obsolete.

Let's be honest. Planning - in the conventional sense - is obsolete. What could be a collaborative effort of shaping the future has little to do with what happens in the annual planning process. Corporate planning is usually not much more than extrapolating the past into exactly one possible future. The management provides the target figures for this on a very aggregated level - and in the best case also a few assumptions on which it is all based. The typical "planning" then takes place "top-down" in the different departments by adjusting quantities or prices, distributing them among product groups and target customers. Because otherwise it is not practicable - and would require much more effort... So the sales department gets the target to sell x% more, allocates this over its product hierarchy - and then the annual madness of managing dependencies in other departments continues in the so-called integrated corporate planning. A bottleneck in deliveries affects production, which in turn affects sales, resulting in the postponement of a sales promotion and impact on production and the supply chain... The time between annual planning is then spent explaining the deviations from plan. All too often this mechanism represents a massive waste of resources without producing significant impact. Because there is no real discussion of activities that relate to the objectives set. Instead, efforts focus almost exclusively on results such as EBIT, budgets, costs, etc. These so-called Lagging Indicators are key figures that are output-oriented, easy to measure, but difficult or impossible to influence directly. They are the result of many different activities and measures.

 

In the 2020s, the handling of logical dependencies and their effects should be better mastered by algorithms and software systems than by humans. This would allow those people who have been burdened with these tasks to concentrate on the factors that have a decisive influence on shaping the future. In other words, an approach that is more performance- and activity-oriented than result-oriented could be tackled. That fosters creativity, collaboration and the use of creative freedom. For example, if we want to increase sales, a predictive idea or activity could be to run more (creative) marketing campaigns or increase the "number of customer contacts per day". 

 

Leading Indicators

The focus on actions in the planning process results in a number of lead indicators "incidentally". These are forward-looking and crucial to ensure that employees act proactively, e.g. identify risks at an early stage and initiate countermeasures instead of reacting only when the risk has occurred. Lead indicators are input-oriented and therefore easier to influence. They are predictive and therefore offer no guarantee of success. This not only makes it difficult to decide which lead indicators to use, but also tends to lead to heated debates about the validity of the measurement. 

 

If implemented consistently, an impact chain is obtained from the objectives through the actions to the leading indicators and lagging indicators. Such a systematization of the cause and effect relationships can be realized linearly, or similar to a value driver tree. The key figure orientation allows deviations from the plan compared to the planning premises to be detected earlier and the effects to be estimated. Value driver-oriented planning also provides a direct docking point for sensitivity analyses ("stress tests") and simulation models. In this way, possible advantages and disadvantages of different options can be weighed up and, especially in top management, the favoured alternative can be selected.

 

Thanks to the constantly increasing possibilities of artificial intelligence, forecasts can be easily made on the basis of the decisions made, if desired on a daily basis for the various business areas. Plans then only need to be revised "event-based" on the basis of the current situation. This allows companies to pursue strategic goals and still adapt quickly to current changes. 

beeBlum is the perfect communication framework for an effective planning process. 

A good communication framework is a prerequisite for the implementation of state-of-the-art planning scenarios. It must convey the relevant, future-oriented and above all the ambitious key issues of all stakeholders and thus inspire desired actions. In this way it helps to react quickly while not losing focus on the overall goal or purpose. beeBlum combines communication with the ability to use and exchange key figures. beeBlum thus has a structure that enables companies to meet non-linear and digitally driven developments. This makes beeBlum the ideal framework for effective integration - even of a large number - of participants into the modern planning process. 

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