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For Planners planning a ‘Get Away’

Terri Reeves Tuesday, November 1, 2016 Blog

By Keith Houston

Let’s take out a map and plan a ‘get away’. The first rule about planning a ‘get away’ is that the destination can be anywhere but here — where we are right now. 

If you a planner and live in the world of SAP, ‘here’ for you might be APO.  That’s a good place to start your journey!  If you are less fortunate, all of your planning may be done on ECC.  Or, if you are a financial planner and you like BPC, don’t stop reading now!

If you are a planner, the ‘best in class’ destination would be a sales and operations planning process supported by the best SAP tool, or arguably, the best tool available anywhere.  SAP’s Integrated Business Planning (IBP) on HANA is that tool.  With IBP, you can do Demand Planning, Supply Planning and track against gross profit margin targets.  You can do Supply plan optimisation (cost-based) and inventory optimisation.  Does your organisation do a lot of promotion planning?  How about a ‘sensing’ tool that turns point of sale data into an adjusted forecast right now.

Why not share that ‘best-possible logistics plan’ with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (BPC) to aid in the generation of the ‘best-possible finance plan’ at the account level.  And then the financial planners would want to return the gross margin target back to IBP so that planners in sales, marketing, inventory controlling, logistics and production can measure their plans against the organisational financial target.

All of that would, of course, require a higher level of cooperation and collaboration than what some organisations have thus far achieved.  So, the SAP Success Factors Jam collaboration tool is embedded in IBP to support cross-functional teamwork.  Communicating and sharing becomes as easy as a social media exercise.

Yes, SAP IBP is a wonderful tool when everything is tracking to plan.  But when was the last time ‘everything’ went according to plan?  IBP provides a control tower.  The Supply Chain Control Tower is not just another monitor that helps you to ‘manage by exception’.  The Control Tower puts a dollar figure on every exception.  The Control Tower puts a dollar figure on a big Fiori tile.  As soon as you click the tile you see a graph.  You know immediately how much this exception is costing your organisation.  From the exception, you can instantly create a case to investigate and remediate the issue.  You can assign tasks and people to the case. Effectively, you can create a ‘tiger team’ to address the problem.  Team members can communicate via Jam collaboration and their progress can be monitored via the collaboration tool as well.

Definition:  Integrated Business Planning (IBP)

IBP is a process led by senior management that evaluates and revises time-phased projections for demand, supply, new product development, strategic projects and the resulting financial plans.  This is done on a monthly basis, on a planned 24-month rolling horizon. 

SAP IBP fits this definition.  IBP is racing down the SAP roadmap and will do much, much more.  SAP previously announced that IBP would replace APO and SAP would stop support of APO in 2020 as IBP took on all the functionality of a tactical planning tool.  SAP is no longer planning to stop support of APO in 2020.  But in August 2016, SAP delivered the IBP interface that transfers order data between IBP and ECC – the biggest step needed to make IBP a tactical planning tool.  Purchase requisitions, planned orders and sales orders can be transferred in both directions between IBP and ECC. SAP IBP is a strategic planning tool that is well down the path of becoming a tactical planning tool that significantly exceeds the definition of ‘Integrated Business Planning’.

So, if you are a planner, you live in the SAP world and you are looking for a get-away, consider IBP as a hotspot destination.

For more information contact Samantha. Bogaert or Keith Houston.

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