May 18, 2016


Creating a Next-Level Supply Chain with Real-Time Data Convergence

Traditional supply chains are no longer capable of handling the growing complexity, huge volumes of unstructured and structured data, and a surging appetite for customized products. Companies are hence being pressured to transform their traditional supply chain into a more modern and resilient extended supply and demand network that is instantaneously responsive to a fluctuating market and encompasses a wider range of stakeholders. Historically, supply chain maturity has been defined by aligning sales and operational planning (S&OP) processes, on a monthly tempo, involving a select number of decision-makers and stakeholders. Whereas a modern, mature supply chain has to cater to a bigger demand for bespoke products, taking into account sentiment data and bring in sync the S&OP strategy with enterprise objectives.

SAP Integrated Business Planning has enabled companies to achieve rapid maturity in their supply chain networks. Based on a unified SAP HANA platform, the cloud applications comprise of SAP Integrated Business Planning for Inventory, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Sales and Operation Planning, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Response and Supply, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Demand and Supply Chain Control Tower.

Building maturity in a next-level supply chain is not held back by under-developed S&OP processes but by the unavailability of single source of objective and unbiased data across a diverse set of stakeholders, unavailability of a collaboration platform for planning, incapability to process huge amounts of data, the SAP Integrated Business Planning applications provide real-time data convergence throughout the enterprise. An integrated data model accentuated the capabilities of the S&OP platform since it enables a unison of S&OP strategy with what-if simulations, financials and unites demand sensing with inventory optimization on a SAP HANA in-memory computing powered, single data model. To further enhance these capabilities, the HTML5 interface and Excel integrates JAM, which is the enterprise-level collaboration platform powered by SAP.

Companies can be more responsive to fluctuating markets and serve their vendors and customers in a better manner by aligning their processes, strategy and stakeholders.

Moving beyond a traditional Supply Chain

Integrated Business Planning provides a deeper alignment between short term and long term planning cycles. It incorporates factors such as order backlog or recent shipment history to the forecast, and is able to convert monthly cycles to daily cycles, repurposing a monthly forecast basis such additional information. By bringing in sync enterprise long-term S&OP goals with tactical S&OP tasks, we can fill the gaps that occur in APO.

The SAP Integrated Business Planning applications are adaptable enough to drive benefits outside the purview of the supply chain domain. For example, we created a framework for companies to leverage this capability with a comprehensive S&OP strategy that can connect applications with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC). While SAP Integrated Business Planning offers next-generation supply chain capabilities, it is not a financial planning suite.

Our Responsive Financial and Business Planning Framework integrates the suite with SAP BPC, providing the capability to rapidly align long-term financial planning with supply chain strategies. This provides financial analysts to analyse supply and demand data more accurately and estimate cost absorption for various S&OP strategies, offering a view into the profitability scenarios for these strategies.

This all adds up to an end-to-end planning platform that drives better, informed risk-based decisions.

This blog of a two-part series elaborates how SAP Integrated Business Planning applications provides enterprises the capability to create a next-generation supply chain. The second part emphasizes on the adoption scenarios and how SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization is connected to applications.