Originally, the bridge of a ship was the image associated with an operative
command center. The bridge had two distinguishing features: it provided
an overview of what is happening and the ability to steer. In the last
century, first the (airplane) cockpit and then the (NASA) command center
also became synonyms for this. Can this image be transferred to the management
requirements for a company? For a company, "overview" or "transparency"
refers to achieving business goals, and timely tracking of business
processes and assets. These three are closely related.
A company's highest priorities include
setting business goals and checking that these goals have been achieved
through the use of key performance indicators. In companies that manufacture
and distribute goods, these priorities are based upon a number of operative
priorities that require process transparency in production, storage, and
shipping. As work is increasingly divided between the owners of brand
names, producers, and logistics service providers, these processes are
not just spread across the different plants of one company; they now involve
all business partners in a network of suppliers and customers. The partners
need transparency of their investments such as means of transport, production
plants, and material inventory at many points along this business process.
Up-to-date information about location, status, and quantity is just as
important for an available-to-promise check during sales order creation
as it is when checking whether a machine has been cleaned before production
begins. How do you achieve this kind of visibility into the performance
of business processes and assets with such a complex supply chain network?
With mySAP SCM, we offer solutions to help
achieve transparency in business processes, assets, and the attainment
of company goals. Supply Chain Performance Management provides
the key performance indicators, while Supply Chain Event Management
enables process transparency (see "SAP Event Manager 1.1").
Visibility scenarios, SAP's pre-defined settings for particular
business processes (see "Visibility Scenarios"), are used to
provide a connection between these two. These scenarios link an overview
of business processes with the key performance indicators that are used
to evaluate the process steps.
Tracking Events to Gain Higher Visibility of Business Processes
The status and progress of business processes are represented as a sequence
of events. It is especially useful to keep track of events that:
- Contain information about the process status and progress:
Are all products for a customer's order ready for pick-up, and
has the truck arrived?
- Are required for documenting the process for contractual (service
level agreement) or legal (FDA, dangerous goods shipments) purposes:
When were the sales data provided to the supplier for replenishment
according to the service level agreement?
Where are the electronic batch records from manufacturing required
by the FDA, and was the material safety data sheet printed?
- Need to be proactively monitored as milestones:
Will the carrier arrive as scheduled given the current traffic?
How late will the delivery possibly be?
Does this have any carry-over effect on material availability?
- Are used to send messages to those involved:
During regular business hours, the service technician will be informed
by email about any equipment breakdowns, then, after 6 pm, by SMS text
messages to his pager.
- Require further action or trigger it:
The system will trigger automatic billing after customer's proof
of delivery has arrived.
SAP Event Manager 1.1
In August 2002, the release of SAP Event Manager (EM) 1.1 as a
new component of the mySAP SCM solution signifies SAP's delivery
of the backbone of its suite of applications for supply chain event
Based on the Web Application Sever
6.20 with its exchange infrastructure, the SAP Event Manager offers
a broad range of functions for tracking, proactive notification,
and alert creation, the latter by tight integration to the Alert
Framework. The Event Manager is able to track and control business
processes along the entire supply chain by integrating with supply
chain planning, supply chain execution, customer relationship management,
and product lifecycle management in both SAP and non-SAP applications.
It has these main features:
- The Event Processor receives incoming messages with
one or several events, logs and validates events, decodes data
using mapping definitions, and correlates the messages with active
event handlers representing supply chain objects.
- The Event Controller creates changes, activates and
deactivates event handlers, processes events, and forwards events
to the Rule Processor and the Expected Events Processor.
- The Expected Events Processor monitors expected and
unexpected events, checks that the events match with stored rules
and dates, recognizes a delay of events, for example, and provides
profiles for the production of expected events.
- The Rule Processor applies sets of rules to an event,
coordinates the reaction to a message, calls up downstream monitoring
functions if necessary, and transfers alerts and responses to
target systems or users via the Alert Framework. For statistical
evaluation, the performance figures are transferred to the SAP
Business Information Warehouse.
mySAP SCM Supply Chain Event Management
lets you define and manage events, which are the significant milestones
of all supply chain processes, such as purchasing, manufacturing,
This information may come from SAP systems
or systems created by other software manufacturers. Changes in status
for orders, batches, handling units, serial numbers, and so on can be
useful information for process transparency, and they are transferred
to the SAP Event Manager.
On the basis of this data, the system identifies
the objects to be tracked and derives a schedule of expected events within
their lifecycle. Actual events, whether expected or unexpected, often
originate in technical systems such as geo-positioning, warehouse control,
production, or process control systems. Confirmations made over the Internet
or using mobile devices are also of significant importance.
These sources of information are identified
in each visibility scenario. Assessment and processing rules are specified
for the events that occur, and the way in which the people or systems
involved are to be notified is also defined. This creates transparency
for processes that are currently running and allows operative intervention
- the two most important properties embodied by the command bridge of
What's more, the integration of key performance
indicators and status overviews in a portal that is relevant to both people
and orders means that these features can be accessed wherever an Internet
browser is available (see Figure 1).
With SAP Event Manager 1.1, SAP provides predefined visibility
scenarios that include expected events, status, follow-up activities,
and web layouts for reporting event data and enabling the global
visibility of supply chain processes among business partners.
Visibility scenarios include:
- Connections to mySAP SCM components, such as SAP APO, SAP R/3,
and SAP BW, as well other mySAP.com solutions.
- All customizing settings in SAP Event Manager for the particular
business process like expected events profiles, rule sets, alerts,
- Preconfigured user interfaces for
web access to SAP Event Manager.
- Data extraction routines to transfer data to the business information
warehouse for performance analysis.
||mySAP SCM Supply Chain Event Management with the Transportation
Planner Portal Role
To Get Started...
Visibility scenarios are ready-to-go, so you can put the solution to
work right away. SAP will ship the first scenarios for order fulfillment,
purchasing, manufacturing, asset tracking, and logistics services along
with Event Manager 1.1.
For more on Event Manager 1.1, registered
SAP users can visit http://service.sap.com/scm
and look for "Coordination."
After graduating in sociology and ethnology at the Universities of
Heidelberg and Freiburg, Oswald Wieser went on to study information technology
at the Institute for Information Technology, Business Management and Electronics
in Karlsruhe (Germany). In 1980 he joined Nixdorf Computer AG. From 1987
he was appointed head of the Competence Center for Chemicals. From 1990
to 1991, he supervised the Chemical Manufacturing Team at Hewlett-Packard
GmbH, and joined SAP AG in 1991. His current position is product manager
for Supply Chain Management.