Various complexities of the supply chain make planning a daunting task for the supply chain planners across the globe. It is more so when various processes down the supply chain are disparate and spread widely across the geographies. In this blog, we will dive deep and explore the top 5 new features offered in SAP IBP 1908 release as below:
1. Easy collaboration with business partners via Web-based Planning
Having a seamless supply chain collaboration can deliver substantial advantages to your partners. With this release, you can directly & easily collaborate with your business partners in Fiori (the web-based interface of IBP). The benefits are bound to increase as the sharing of information becomes easier and more efficient.
Web-Based Planning app provides benefits enlisted below –
- view & adjust planning data from Fiori without the need to log into Excel
- business partners will be able to access the Web-Based Planning app, view the planning views that are relevant, and provide their inputs into the key figures for seamless collaboration
- using this functionality, you can capture the expected forecast from your customers as well as the expected deliveries from your suppliers.
- allows you and your partners to work on the same data simultaneously and use the same user interface, which makes it easier to discuss the data
- is relevant for inter-company/internal collaboration
- even non-key users required to log into IBP sporadically and provide inputs on an ad-hoc basis can benefit from using this functionality
- is easy to procure and share inputs for those companies where a full-fledged implementation might not be necessary
- new features, including column filtering and displaying of fixed values, has vastly improved the usability
- has the possibility to run simulations and work with scenarios.
2. Improved navigation of the Supply Chain Network Chart
Within the Supply Chain Network app, you can create a Supply Chain Network Chart by choosing parameters as – planning area, a version, product IDs and key figures. The chart thus rendered includes products and locations along with attributes and any selected key-figure information.
Each element of the chart represents a part of the supply chain, for example, a supplier, a production plant, a warehouse or a customer as well as the paths (or arcs) along which items (materials or finished goods) transit.
Additionally, the 1908 release has the following changes –
- a plus sign (+) button has been introduced abutting every product node
- this new button allows you to extend the rendered chart from a particular node without editing the initial filter selections
- for component products upstream of the network, the button is placed on the left, and for finished goods or other material downstream of the network it can be found on the right side
- when expanding, the rendered chart will center around the expanded network to facilitate the navigation
- the app has smoother navigation through the network to validate master data and key figures.
3. Excel add-in enhancements minus empty rows in your planning views!
Having an excel front-end makes SAP IBP user-friendly. However, setting up your own planning view or editing existing templates can be a daunting task despite all the available settings. SAP with the 1908 upgrade, brings in the user-friendliness of the Excel add-in to improve its usability for its end users.
Users can now eliminate planning combinations having empty key figures (or zero) from planning views. This can be executed by using a newly available value-based filter option: in the key figures drop down, you can select the option “All Selected Key Figures”, which will automatically switch the operator to “Not Empty or Zero” and the time dimension to “In At Least one Period”, thereby removing all the “empty” combinations.
Additionally, Excel Add-In has also gained other interesting features. One of them is the “Strong and Light Match” functionality, which creates a grouping of Attributes and Key Figures while editing the Planning View. Based on existing selections (of attributes, time period and key figures), attributes and key figures will be grouped into two categories:
- the Strong Match will include items that would lead to full coverage on the planning view without showing any empty/null elements
- the Light Match will include items that would lead to a partial coverage on the planning view.
If you are wondering how this will affect the “Most Used” grouping introduced with the 1902 release? Both will be available and can work in parallel. However, you can switch either of the two on/off via the user settings. The general rule is that an item that is part of one group will not be part of any other group. So, if a key figure is part of the most used list, then it will not show up as a strong or light match.
Another major enhancement is the change in the Tool-tips (the box that shows up when a user hovers over key figures when editing the planning view). Now it shows plenty of information on how the key figure is defined, such as the base planning level, if fixing or planning notes are allowed, and in which horizon the key figure is editable.
To benefit from these new functionalities, install the newest version of the IBP Excel add-in without fail.
4. New functionalities to manage your Supply Planning needs
Transportation Resources was introduced with the 1905 release to accurately plan for the transportation of goods: You use these to model capacity consumption of transportation, the capacity consumed per unit of product transported. These resources were only considered by the Optimizer in 1905 release, while with the latest upgrade, even the Heuristic take them into account. However, it is necessary to highlight that the capacity of these transportation resources is considered infinite by the Heuristic, just like the capacity of production resource is considered infinite.
A complete novelty about supply planning consists of aggregated constraints that use a conversion factor of capacity consumption to allocate minimum and/or maximum resource utilization to production (and transportation) resources. What does this mean, and where is it relevant?
For transportation, you can use two new key figures (MINAGGTCAPAUSAGE and MAXAGGTCAPAUSAGE) to reserve adequate capacity for transportation. For example, you can reserve space in a truck for a group of products in a certain period, even if you don’t know in advance how many products will be transported, or what mix of products will be transported.
For production planning, we may want to ensure that certain products (for example, our high runners) are manufactured on a production line in a specific time period. Now you can model this by allocating a specified amount of time for these products, defined as a production capacity usage aggregated constraint. For example, you can specify that you want to consume a minimum of X hours and a maximum of Y hours for your high-runner products in a particular period.
The newly available key figures MINAGGPCAPAUSAGE and MAXAGGPCAPAUSAGE can be used to model this scenario.
5. For increased synergies across your org connect IBP solution to SAP Analytics Cloud
Often, companies struggle with their planning processes due to the lack of cross-functional collaboration & alignment. As such the planners often fail to find precise answers to some of the critical questions.
To solve the challenge of disconnected planning outputs, leading to poor execution, and to break down the traditional planning silos, a harmonized and collaborative planning process is required. When you couple SAP IBP with SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC), it allows your company to run an end-to-end planning process across finance, commercial and supply chain functions.
For instance, a long-term value plan created in SAC can be sent to IBP where it gets translated into a volume to create a supply chain plan for the next three years. Based on available capacity, a constrained revenue can be sent back to SAC where it can be used as a starting point for financial activities like creating a comprehensive annual budget, evaluating capacity investments, making cost assumptions, etc.
What is even more valuable is that SAC integrates not only to the Cloud but also to on-premise systems, including SAP BW and ECC. Thereby, much of the data consolidation, which is typically done in BW, can now be done in SAC.