Master data prep the key when configuring SNP in SAP APO

by The Tip Doctor

September 2, 2010

Tip Doctor, Insider Learning Network

Although Demand Planning (DP) is the most frequently implemented module of Advanced Planning and Optimization (APO), Supply Network Planning (SNP) is almost as common. SNP is a natural hand-off from DP because the forecast from DP is the key input for SNP. The main benefit of SNP is the projection of mid-to long-term large volume loads for facilities, machines, labor, or raw materials based on the forecast.

Here is a tip, which was excerpted from an SCM Expert article written by Plan4Demand Solutions on preparation that involves master data when it comes to configuring SNP

Master data is the foundation for SNP. Most companies use SNP in conjunction with R/3 or SAP ERP Central Component (ECC) as the execution system. One major benefit is the ability to integrate both transactional data and master data. However, you must combine the ECC and SNP requirements to maintain master data in an organized and effective manner. Master data represents the various switches and buttons that allow a planner to modify plans, projections, and scenarios. If the switches and buttons are erroneous or out-of-sync with ECC, then planners encounter inaccurate plans or potentially serious performance issues.

Th e two main areas of master data that you need to maintain are the product and transportation master data. To access the settings for these, follow SAP Easy Access menu paths Master Data>Product and Master Data>Transportation Lane, respectively.

The impact of absent master data processes is more visible after go-live. During the configuration and validation phases, master data in the testing environments is more static. Team preference — constantly updating master data is a hassle to a development team — and the fact that you don’t have master data changes from other departments are contributing reasons for this. Generally, implementations focus more on executing a process or handling a scenario than maintaining data. When go-live occurs, the SNP team jumps right into an environment in which master data — such as new products, bills of material, and plants —changes often.

For example, the transportation lane in SNP is equivalent to the shipping route in ECC. In both, the company establishes transportation duration between two sites, such as a plant and a distribution center. When Transport Load Builder (TLB) in SNP creates a stock transport order, it sends the order to ECC, which re-determines actual shipping and delivery dates based on its shipping route. It ignores any transportation lane settings in SNP. If a user changes the transportation duration in ECC but ignores such a change in APO, then corresponding stock transport orders show different dates in ECC than intended. When creating the stock transport order in SNP, the user may intend for the delivery to occur on a certain date, but the end result differs.

Focus on master data by either:

  • Designating staff to collect and audit master data and to ensure proper cross-departmental compliance
  • Implementi ng a master data management tool that allows the disparate groups to enter their data without sacrificing the needs of other departments

Regardless of the method, it is critical that the team employ a proactive approach to avoid master data issues after go-live.

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