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Move to Real-Time Data Convergence for a Next-Level Supply Chain

Enhance Your S&OP Strategy with SAP Integrated Business Planning

by Sylvain Faure, North America Supply Chain Solution Lead, HCL Technologies

October 22, 2015

An increasing demand for customized products, ever-higher volumes of structured and unstructured data, and growing complexity of the global supply chain are pressuring companies to transform traditional supply chains into an extended supply and demand network that includes a wide range of stakeholders and is immediately responsive to a continually fluctuating market. Whereas supply chain maturity has historically been defined by aligning, on a monthly cadence, sales and operational planning (S&OP) processes around a small circle of stakeholders and decision-makers, today’s truly mature supply chain must satisfy a host of participants and an increasing demand for individualized products, factor in an influx of sentiment data, and align S&OP strategy with overall enterprise objectives.

To achieve maturity in the supply chain, companies are turning to SAP Integrated Business Planning. Controlled on an integrated SAP HANA platform, the cloud applications include SAP Integrated Business Planning for Sales and Operation Planning, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Demand, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Response and Supply, SAP Integrated Business Planning for Inventory and Supply Chain Control Tower.

Recognizing that a lack of maturity in S&OP processes isn’t what was preventing next-level supply chain maturity, but rather a lack of a single source of truth in data across divergent stakeholders, an inability to process large volume of data and the absence of a collaboration platform for planning, the SAP Integrated Business Planning applications enable real-time data convergence across the extended enterprise. A consolidated data model greatly enhances the S&OP platform because it provides an opportunity to align S&OP strategy with financials, include what-if simulations, and bring inventory optimization and demand sensing together on a single data model powered by SAP HANA in-memory computing technology. Furthermore, the Excel and HTML5-based interface integrates JAM, the enterprise grade collaboration platform delivered by SAP.

With tighter alignment between processes, strategy, and stakeholders, companies can more quickly and effectively respond to fluctuations in the market and better serve customers and vendors.

Take Supply Chain to the Next Level

A good example of alignment is the convergence enabled by SAP Integrated Business Planning between the short term and long term planning cycles. SAP Integrated Business Planning for Demand also offers a more granular way to process forecasts than the traditional way of managing demand in planning applications such as SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization (SAP APO), with functionality for the most part restricted to monthly cycles. SAP Integrated Business Planning for Demand ties in the forecast with additional considerations such as recent shipment history or order backlog, and can convert a monthly cycle into daily cycles, reprocessing a monthly forecast based on this additional information. In a nutshell, the SAP Integrated Business Planning applications help to close the gaps that exist in APO by tying a company’s long-term S&OP objectives with tactical and operational S&OP concerns.

The SAP Integrated Business Planning applications can also help customers drive benefits outside of the supply chain space. For instance, HCL has created a framework for companies to optimize this new alignment with a holistic S&OP strategy that also connects the applications with SAP Business Planning and Consolidation (SAP BPC). While the applications in SAP Integrated Business Planning offer a clear path to a next-generation supply chain, the suite is not a financial planning tool. HCL’s Responsive Financial and Business Planning framework connects the suite with SAP BPC, providing financial analysts a newfound flexibility to quickly align supply chain strategies with long-term financial planning. Analysts can, for example, consume volume demand and supply data to accurately and effectively estimate cost absorption for multiple S&OP strategies, providing greater visibility into profitability scenarios for each of the various strategies.

This all adds up to an end-to-end planning platform that drives better, informed risk-based decisions. To contact HCL, email integrated.applications@hcl.com.

This is Part 1 of a two-part blog that examines how SAP Integrated Business Planning applications help companies achieve a next-generation supply chain. Part 2 focuses on adoption scenarios and examines how the applications are connected to SAP Advanced Planning and Optimization.

Sylvain Faure

Sylvain Faure is a senior supply chain professional with 20 years of experience focused on supply chain process transformation. As a manager and an expert in the field of supply chain, he possesses both business strategy breadth and tactical depth to successfully execute a multi-faceted supply chain vision. 

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