This article was written in cooperation with Julia Hauri, Sales and Strategic Alliances, Camelot ITLab.
To get out of reactive mode, companies are faced with the urgent task of replacing previous risk management and planning approaches with new methods. The new challenge is supply chain resilience.
Supply chain resilience means that the supply chain has a degree of flexibility. Like the famous rubber band that finds its way back to its original state after being stressed, a resilient supply chain should not only respond to unexpected changes, but subsequently find its way back to a stable – and possibly even better – state. In addition to the ability to respond to supply chain vulnerabilities, supply chain resilience also requires the ability to mitigate risk.
With the rapid development of technology in recent years, this goal is becoming achievable: this includes digital twins, the higher prevalence of big data-ready data management concepts, access to machine learning resources, advances in data visualizations – and last but not least, the trend to build knowledge and skills among employees to work with data, called data literacy. Not all technologies are used in every company (yet), but the trends are similar in many organizations.
Extend the SAP core
SAP’s Digital Supply Chain solution portfolio has room for improvement to include advanced differentiation and intelligence systems that help customers master supply chain variability and complexity. One focal point here is overall production planning and scheduling. To date, there are two deployment options for production planning and scheduling in the SAP environment. Both are on-premises solutions, they realize the vision of an end-to-end supply chain with SAP IBP. One of the options is aimed at customers with S/4 Hana, the other at SAP ECC customers.
As a decisive innovation, the integrated detailed planning SAP embedded PP/DS (ePP/DS) is technically fully integrated in S/4 Hana and thus enables a seamless transition from detailed production planning to production execution. Due to the application-side separation of planning into IBP (SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain) and ePP/DS, it is a challenge for customers, especially from the process industry, to map their planning requirements. This is where Avatar cPP&DS from Camelot ITLab comes into play as a newly developed system of differentiation and system of intelligence for planning contexts.
Production planning and scheduling
The Avatar cPP&DS solution offers an alternative to realize production planning and detailed scheduling with IBP. This is a cloud-only deployment option. Avatar cPP&DS as a cloud-native application for KPI-driven production planning and detailed scheduling supports vertical and horizontal scenario planning as well as real-time optimization and job sequencing with automated decision support. The latter is enabled via a new integrated cognitive planning engine.
Avatar cPP&DS is available as an SAP Industry Cloud solution in the SAP Store. The SAP Industry Cloud strategy provides SAP partners with the opportunity to offer innovative applications that extend the Intelligent Suite with industry-specific solutions. Deployment in the cloud means rapid scalability – making Avatar cPP&DS for SAP IBP currently the only partner solution in the cloud for production planning in SAP. In the following use cases, the implementation of Avatar cPP&DS can meaningfully extend the SAP standard:
- APO succession. Avatar cPP&DS with SAP IBP covers functionalities found in the former SAP APO environment.
- Light PP/DS. Avatar cPP&DS allows lightweight production planning in the cloud for customers who use third-party applications or work with Excel.
- Planning Wheel. The so-called “rhythm-wheel approach” stabilizes the production network and frees up capacity to increase delivery flexibility.
- Resilient supply chain planning. Demand-Driven Material Requirements Planning (DDMRP) provides efficient buffers that cushion uncertainties.
Variability and agility
In all customer environments, we have seen effects such as reduced setup time or improved operational capacity, resulting in higher output for the same resources. Avatar cPP&DS helps manage variability and agility in the enterprise. This means that planners can develop feasible strategies and operational plans even in volatile production environments. Work on plans is simultaneous and collaborative, and they are consistent across multiple time horizons and business processes.
Avatar cPP&DS employs intelligent algorithms that provide automated decision support. Scenario planning and KPI-driven automated simulations make the impact of decisions transparent.
Machine learning technology enables a self-controlling schedule. It is continuously monitored in the background by the algorithm and adjusted in the event of deviations. Cloud deployment makes this function scalable. The interactive production scheduling is also engaging in user experience. The user-centric intelligent dashboard helps planners troubleshoot exceptions that the algorithm cannot handle.
Avatar cPP&DS is deployed as part of the SAP Industry Cloud solution on SAP BTP and is available in the SAP Store. It provides seamless integration with the SAP ecosystem (with IBP, S/4 Hana, ERP/ECC 6.0, etc.). Avatar cPP&DS is GDPR compliant and ISO 27001 certified. Users benefit from continuous innovation resulting in new product features.
The next planned enhancement is the integration of Avatar Strategic Risk and Resilient Capability Management, an integrated E2E network assessment and reconfiguration tool that de-risks supply chains with data analytics and mathematical optimization models. Users gain insights into the most critical as well as resilient resources. After stress-testing the supply chain network in individually defined scenarios, Strategic Risk and Resilient Capability Management suggests mitigation strategies – another step on the road to supply chain resilience, which is more important than ever.