Many branches of the mill industry — including those that produce paper and steel — rely on the SAP for Mill Products solution portfolio. The German-speaking SAP User Group (DSAG) has turned an eye to this topic, establishing a special interest group (SIG) devoted to mill products.
This SIG has taken strides to further align SAP for Mill Products with the mill industry’s needs and support the portfolio’s ongoing development. Leveraging DSAG’s well-established influence channels, the SIG has already seen success.
An Example of DSAG’s Influence
The SIG for Mill Products has worked with SAP to improve the work-in-process (WIP) batch tracking process. To achieve the necessary usage documentation for a batch, steel and paper mill industries need to be able to track individual units in an ERP system over the course of production orders. Initially, SAP for Mill Products could not track the logistical aspect of WIP.
After the SIG for Mill Products appealed to SAP, however, SAP added new WIP batch functionality to the portfolio as part of an enhancement package. Mill customers can now track WIP pieces, maintain them as stock, and deliver them to and fetch them from outsourced manufacturers.
Future Plans to Support IT Needs
For future SAP for Mill Products enhancements, DSAG has identified two particular areas in which there is opportunity for growth.
With regards to planning optimization, SAP for Mill Products supports several IT requirements for companies in the paper mill industry. Europe’s steel mill industry would like to see similar support for their IT requirements — such as synchronizing rough production planning and detailed planning, or accounting for physical stock limits throughout the detailed planning process.
Another area for potential growth is production. Mill industry branches like paper, steel, aluminum, and textiles typically produce individual units with unique characteristics, rather than focusing on serial manufacturing. This requires detailed planning and accounting for these individual units. The SIG for Mill Products would like the SAP solution portfolio to include processes that will integrate individual units into companies’ quality management activities. DSAG is currently discussing this idea with SAP.
Open Exchange, Global Connections
The SIG for Mill Products’ successes are largely due to the open exchange of real-world experiences among its members. Not only do the group’s meetings significantly benefit DSAG member companies; they also serve as a basis for influencing SAP and encouraging enhancements to the SAP for Mill Products portfolio.
The SIG for Mill Products has also joined forces with international institutions such as the Global Forest Products Council and the Integrated Planning and Execution Workgroup, which is part of the SAP Executive Advisory Council for Metals. Both organizations share the SIG’s goal of performing orderly analyses of the mill industry’s needs and channeling those findings to SAP.
These global connections, combined with open meetings and discussions, allow DSAG to remain a constructive, communicative partner in the future development of SAP for Mill Products, and to thus help benefit the mill industry as a whole. To learn more, visit www.dsag.de/ak/mill-products.
Spokesperson, Special Interest Group for Mill Products, DSAG
IT Architect, Steel Division, voestalpine AG