Supply Chain Management Plays a Key Role In Our Economy
If you’re like me, you were quite impressed when, in his February 13, 2001 address to the U.S. Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Alan Greenspan mentioned “new technologies for supply chain management … that “perceive imbalances in inventories at a very early stage … and cut production promptly in response to developing signs of intended inventory building".
That was quite a while ago, and though we have suffered through a financial crisis and any number of calamities since, improving the supply chain and eliminating the bull-whip effect all up and down the supply chain remains an ongoing challenge.
Supply Chain Tools
Fortunately, many tools exist, as they existed in 2001, to help smooth the flow.
Those tools have continued to advance, however, even in the latest release of the SAP APO (Advanced Planner and Optimizer), part of the wider SAP SCM (Supply Chain Management) suite of products, one key question about SAP BW (Business Warehouse), always arises, and that is, how to integrate the two.
SAP APO Has a Mini SAP BW System Built In
You may not even be aware that SAP APO contains within it a mini-SAP BW system, but it does!
You may not know that a key decision to be made on every SAP APO-SCM-BW project, based on the Planning Model(s), is whether to stick with a BW data mart approach or to use the more likely scenario of a SAP BW stand-alone system integrated to SAP APO.
Today, we will do a high-level overview of what is available with regards to integrating APO and BW from an existing Business Content stand-point.
Main SAP APO Modules List
Get The Latest Master Install Guide
Consult the PAM
First, always keep in mind that for any scenario, you need to download and review the Master Install Guide and as well, consult the Product Availability Matrix (PAM). This will at least ensure you have the proper components installed as a baseline.
Beyond that, you will to need identify the relevant SAP APO Business Content and install it.
The list above is a very top-level view of the main areas you will be choosing from which include:
- Advanced Planner and Optimizer
- Demand Planning
- Maintenance and Service Planning
- Production Planning/Detailed Planning
- Sales Scheduling Agreement Processing
- Supply Network Planning
- ICH (Not Shown)
- Transport Planning/Vehicle Scheduling (TP/VS), now Transportation Management or just TM
For most companies just starting out on their SCM journey, they either will be implementing Demand Planning or Supply Network Planning to start with.
This is not a 100% ironclad rule and many companies may be implementing different modules in different sequences or even modules that are derived from the APO solution but are specific to an industry requirement, depending on their business requirements and industry. As well, there are further specialized pieces of content for the process industries that need to be considered as well.
Decide on Required SAP BW Content
Regardless of which SAP APO module you are looking to implement, when it comes to which pieces of BW content you need to activate, as well as any manual enhancements done, the procedure is basically the same as any other piece of SAP BW BI content activation.
- Define the Requirement (and we have a BW Definition Guide you can download at the end of this for this purpose)
- Identify the relevant content
- Assume that the BI Content automated search is not 100% capable of finding all related and relevant content
- Transfer it
- Decide which method you want to use, i.e., all before, all before and after
- Install and Activate
That's about all there is to it, but of course, as SCM is a vast, complex system, this is highly simplified but the basic approach is the same regardless of scope and scale
One caveat to keep in mind when deciding on BI Content is revealed in the following screen-shot
Ensure Your Requirements Are Fully Defined
As mentioned earlier, you should start by properly defining your requirement and to that end, we provide a template for you to start the process with.
Remember, integrating SAP APO and BW can be both simple and extremely complex. If you need SAP BW support, then we may be able to help.