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Think Beyond Your Wish List

New SAP Offerings Enable the Exponential Supply Chain

by Ryan Szostek, Senior Manager, Deloitte Consulting LLP | SAPinsider, Volume 18, Issue 1

January 27, 2017

Experience often dictates what supply chain leaders expect — and don’t expect — is possible, leading many to assume items on their wish list simply “can’t be done.” New offerings from SAP offer previously unimaginable functionality, however, and supply chain managers who don’t reevaluate their expectations may be missing the opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of digitization. This article discusses how to adopt a broader vision of what’s possible for your supply chain. 

For years, supply chain executives and professionals across the enterprise have been repeatedly told that new ERP-enabled supply chain capabilities — real-time reporting, instant analytics embedded within transactions, data centralization, native collaboration, mobile access — were beyond the reach of modern systems. As a result, they resigned themselves to an “it can’t be done” mindset and have pared their requirements to only what was perceived as possible. Those previously unattainable capabilities have now become realities, and businesses need to pivot and look past their current, scaled-back supply chain wish lists.

The danger of preconceived limitations lies in what should be the most dynamic and versatile aspect of a business: the “Exponential Supply Chain.” With the increasing pressure to deliver more products, with greater velocity,  and in smaller lot sizes, while maintaining quality and reducing costs, supply chains must evolve into an Exponential Supply Chain, taking advantage of all the benefits digitization has to offer. And new offerings from SAP that focus on just that are available today — you need only to ask for them.

Supply chains must evolve into an Exponential Supply Chain, taking advantage of all the benefits digitization has to offer.

Beyond the Wish List

SAP solutions have evolved beyond organizations’ outdated wish lists to offer value that businesses hadn’t even imagined just a few years ago. With the release of SAP S/4HANA, the evolution of SAP Integrated Business Planning, and the extension of Ariba Network, SAP has become the platform for the supply chain to create exponential value. Organizations now have access to adaptive business processes, real-time analytics, what-if analysis, and embedded collaboration — all anchored by an intuitive user experience and enabled through seamless cloud, on-premise, or hybrid offerings. Organizations can optimize nonlinear business processes, focus employees on value creation, generate and act on insights in real time, and enable a new degree of decision making throughout the enterprise.

The capabilities that were previously beyond reach are now table stakes with SAP solutions. For example, you can now see all your critical key performance indicators (KPIs) calculated in real time, identify and react to shortages across the supply chain instantly, re-plan your network in seconds not hours, and simulate and perform sales and operations planning (S&OP) with a single logistics, supply chain, and financial data model. Users can even navigate the ERP system using “Google-like” search functionality for documents, applications, or free text. 

Visualize the Future of the Supply Chain, Now

So how do you move beyond the “it can’t be done” mentality and start making a wish list for the new era of the Exponential Supply Chain? Here are some key steps: 

  • Be critical of processes. Look at your supply chain processes and examine why you are doing things a certain way. Ask what you could be doing differently.
  • Forget today’s limitations. Look at your constraints and limiting factors. Each limitation represents an opportunity to ask for new capabilities.
  • Zero in on mistakes. Look at the corrective actions you do daily and how they could have been pre-vented. Understand where the issues are and ask for capabilities to avoid those failures.
  • Witness the possibilities. Experience SAP S/4HANA in action and look at specific business-case examples of how SAP S/4HANA can bring new value to the supply chain. See the impact of what-if analysis in real time.
  • Think beyond past supply chains. SAP S/4HANA offers new functionality for longtime SAP customers as well as those just starting out. It’s easier than ever to implement, and non-SAP customers have a path for enhancing their operations.

Getting What You Want

Front-line employees and leaders across industries have to relearn how to ask for what they want. Businesses that fail to think beyond their old supply chain wish lists run the risk of being left behind. To discover other ways you can build a wish list for your supply chain and the new ERP era, a conversation with SAP global services partner Deloitte Consulting can serve as a great first step. Visit www.deloitte.com/sap or contact us at @DeloitteSAP on Twitter to get the conversation started.  

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Ryan Szostek
Ryan Szostek

Senior Manager
Deloitte Consulting LLP



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