How to Improve Sales and Operations Planning with Ready-to-Run Solutions for SAP IBP
(3 min read)
Tackling uncertainties in planning is as relevant as ever. Rapidly changing demand situations and simultaneously high expectations on product availability are challenging the consumer goods industry — not only in the current situation characterized by home office, travel warnings and planning uncertainty. Nevertheless, the sudden (partly negative, partly positive) changes in demand are prompting many companies to re-examine and realign their planning processes.
Sales and Operations Planning plays a central role in this process, as it combines the sales, production and financial views and makes the mutual influences of these aspects visible and thus manageable.
With the ready-to-run solution it.sales and operations planning for consumerR2R, we are taking this development into account and offering a quickly implementable yet powerful and future-proof solution for the integrated planning of sales, production and procurement.
The solution is based on SAP Integrated Business Planning (SAP IBP) — the state-of-the-art planning software from SAP. As a cloud solution, IBP can be connected to both SAP ERP and SAP S/4HANA. This means that the solution can be used independently of any parallel activities regarding an SAP S/4HANA conversion.
Coverage of the Full Process From Sales to Production Planning
it.sales and operations planning for consumerR2R encompasses the entire process from sales to production planning addressing the challenges of the consumer goods industry.
In sales planning, for example, promotional quantities can be planned, or planning can be automated using forecasting methods (basic, double, and triple exponential smoothing, which means that trends and seasonal developments can also be taken into account). Aggregation levels typical for the consumer goods industry, such as product group and customer group, are also provided as standard in the solution.
Microsoft Excel is used as the planning interface: SAP IBP is integrated via an Excel plug-in so that the planners work with Excel directly in the IBP solution without downloading files. A web-based data entry interface is also available for use on smartphones and tablets or for the simple inclusion of business partners.
In Sales and Operations Planning, however, it is not only the valid estimation of sales planning that is decisive, but also the question of what this means for the procurement and production side. Capacity demand peaks in production must be identified in good time, as must changes in demand on the raw material procurement side, sometimes even with reference to specific suppliers. In it.sales and operations planning for consumerR2R, these aspects are taken into account by the analysis functions and dashboards. For example, capacity requirements in production can be visualized, or evaluations of raw material or component quantities to be supplied in the future can be generated for each supplier — if required, it is even possible to give suppliers direct access to the requirement quantities that affect them via the web.
The screenshot above shows a sample dashboard showing the current process progress as well as various key figure diagrams from the area of sales planning and forecasting. In addition to the dashboards delivered as standard part of it.sales and operations planning for consumerR2R, users can also put together their own analyses and dashboards if required, based on all planning key figures delivered as part of the solution.
Simulations Enable Additional Protection Against Future Fluctuations in Demand
Unfortunately, the behavior of the sales market can sometimes not be determined with certainty even for the short-term future. To meet this challenge, it.sales and operations planning for consumerR2R enables planning with simulations and versions. This makes it possible to e.g. calculate and evaluate an optimistic (upside) and a pessimistic (downside) version of the plan in parallel to operative planning. This way, it enables to quickly estimate effects of possible positive or negative changes in the sales situation on procurement and capacity utilization situation, and timely identification of any necessary measures is supported.
Quick Implementation, Immediate Benefit
As a ready-to-run solution, it.sales and operations planning for consumerR2R can be implemented in three months (from the provision of the IBP cloud software) — extensive design and implementation phases are not required. After a short set-up phase including connection to the existing SAP ERP or S/4HANA system, key users are trained directly on the system and the final productive implementation takes place.