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Oliver Wight Blog

Integrated Reconciliation: recognise, review and resolve

27 June 2017

As part of a blog mini-series, I’ve been sharing my advice, with tips on how to make the most out of your Integrated Business Planning (IBP) process. So far, I have covered how to scale the annual planning mountain [link] by using rolling horizons, and the Trio of Heroes of IBP [link] (planned activities, assumptions and numbers) and how to incorporate them into your IBP process. In this blog, we look at Integrated Reconciliation and its role in the IBP process.

Although every component of IBP is important, the Integrated Reconciliation process is absolutely integral to its success. Integrated Reconciliation was a key evolutionary step in the transformation from S&OP to IBP, and serves as the “glue” that connects the other elements of IBP across an organisation.

What is Integrated Reconciliation?
Best thought of as a process in its own right rather than just a step-in IBP, the purpose of Integrated Reconciliation is to continuously identify and resolve misalignment between plans, issues and gaps across an organisation, at the lowest level. It ensures that the entire organisation is heading in the same direction, and that the newly reconciled 24-month plan meets the organisation’s annual plan, performance goals and strategic objectives, addressing identified issues, risks and opportunities across the planning horizon. 

The Integrated Reconciliation process is orchestrated by the IBP process leader who co-ordinates the efforts of the facilitators from the Product Management Review, Demand Review and Supply Reviews along with other stakeholders and subject matter experts. Their focus is to reconcile plans across the organisation and address issues and potential issues identified out across the 24-month planning horizon. The Finance team play a critical role in the Integrated Reconciliation process, as trade-offs between alternative plans and courses of action need to be evaluated for their financial impact. 

The Integrated Reconciliation Review
The Integrated Reconciliation Review meeting, often confused with the Integrated Reconciliation process, is a meeting held after the Supply Review and a few days before the Management Business Review. This is where the reconciled, financialised and whole-of-business plan is reviewed, checked and prioritised against the committed plans (annual plan, performance goals and strategic objectives).

One of the key principles of Integrated Reconciliation is that of resolving mis-alignment of plans, issues and gaps at the lowest possible level in the organisation. Where issues need to be raised to the leadership team level, the Reconciliation Review meeting is an opportunity to “pressure test” the recommendations for resolution of issues that will be taken to the MBR for decision.

Reconciliation requires effort
A common mistake that organisations make is not allocating enough time, expertise or importance to the Integrated Reconciliation process. Without an effective Integrated Reconciliation process, they will not deliver the full benefit from the effort that they are putting into the rest of IBP.

Integrated Reconciliation is where the magic happens, realigning the future plans of the organisation in pursuit of its future goals on a monthly basis is a powerful contributor to success. Organisations will only get there if they provide the appropriate resources, time and focus to this integral element of IBP.