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Part 4: How to recognise real IBP

21 Sep 2018

blog graphic with a man and a door depicting real IBP

In the fourth and final part of the ‘How to recognise real IBP’ blog series, we reveal the seventh defining characteristic of true Integrated Business Planning – its flexibility, agility and capability for evolving to suit each organisation, and conclude with a quick handy ‘IBP checklist’.  

Adapt and overcome
What it is: a process which is constantly being developed and evolved by leading organisations which have adopted it to best meet their requirements
What it is not: a fixed, rigid process designed by academics

IBP has evolved from S&OP over the last 40 years or more, with every IBP cycle teaching organisations more about its ways of working, how its customers work and think, and how its competitors work and think. The organisations which have implemented it have developed the process to increase the scope of functional alignment: model and create readiness for alternative outcomes; drive deployment of strategy; and enhance collaboration across supply chains.



As described in the three earlier blogs, there are several key principles upon which IBP is based, but the secret to success is the application of those key principles for continuous process improvement, based on learnings from each monthly IBP cycle and the organisation’s changing needs.

A stagnant IBP process is one that is slipping backwards. Without a plan to continuously improve process maturity, performance and organisational outcomes, IBP becomes stale and participants lose energy. To drive improvement and create new ways for organisations to create improved outcomes it is essential to constantly evaluate the contribution IBP makes to the effective operation of the organisation, and identify and action improvements to the process, each and every cycle.


The real deal

As Integrated Business Planning has become part of everyday business lexicon, it is important that its true meaning isn’t corrupted. Take a closer look at your business planning process to check you’ve subscribed to the real deal. Using the checklist, you can identify whether your process truly is Integrated Business Planning.



If you’ve gone through this blog series, and found yourself recognising more of the ‘what it is nots’ than the ‘what it is’, then you need to take a step back and reassess your IBP process. However, it’s not a lost cause – IBP is a process of continuous improvement. If you can’t tick ALL the ‘what it is’ boxes, it’s still possible to have an IBP process which that is just continuing along the journey of a continuous improvement.


This extract was based on our white paper: ‘Don’t fall Fake News: A buyers guide to Integrated Business Planning’, which you can download for free here.

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photograph of anne marie kilkenny

Anne Marie Kilkenny

Associate, Oliver Wight EAME

Anne Marie has over 20 years experience in industry working in supply chain and business management throughout Europe and the USA. She now works to secure business excellence through engaging senior management, in addition to education and coaching to build in-house expertise.

Stuart Harman

Stuart Harman

Partner, Oliver Wight International

Stuart is based in Sydney, Australia but has spent 20 years working in key change agent roles in major manufacturing organisations around the world. Whilst gaining deep knowledge in a number of industries including metals and FMCG he has developed extensive experience in improving and linking processes across organisations and supply chains to enable the successful deployment of strategy.

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