With the latest release of SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) 2008 due to be deployed for customers soon, it’s time once again for a quarterly peek behind the curtain of IBP. I’ve decided to highlight some innovations and enhancements of SAP IBP 2008 that I found particularly interesting. In addition to those highlighted below, there are a slew of performance, stability, and usability enhancements in the newest release along the lines of integrity checks for configuration, performance improvements and simplification. I highly recommend that you read through the What’s New in SAP Integrated Business Planning 2008 overview to see what will impact you now vs later.
1) End-to-End Visibility Enhancement Using Intelligent Visibility App.
SAP introduced the new Intelligent Visibility app with IBP 2002. This app allows the supply chain analyst to view the supply chain as a network with the exceptions that impact performance. Supply chain analysts can use Intelligent Visibility to visualize the relationships between locations and where disruptions will have an impact to performance. The analyst can review the performance metrics and impacts of the disruptions and navigate into other areas of Integrated Business Planning to take action towards resolution. The following new features have been added to the app:
- The new Key Figures data layer is now available to allow you to display key figure values on the map. You can set one key figure as your main key figure and view positive or equal (green) values and negative (red) values as a bubble chart on the map. Different bubble sizes represent the magnitude of the values. When the Key Figures data layer is selected, you need to provide at least one key figure and time periods that the data needs to be calculated for. You can view up to 10 key figures on the map or in a table. If you select more than one key figure, the first key figure is shown on the map by default. You can switch to any other key figure using the drop-down field placed on the map. By selecting a location from the map or table, a key figures tab is added automatically to the location details section showing a vertical bar chart representing the key figures over the selected time periods. You can also use the chart and table views and the time-period range selector for a more detailed understanding of your data.
- You can now display a summary information of the selected location in a popup before viewing the details. For example, if you select the Key Figures layer, then the values of all the selected key figures are shown for that location.
- For the selected products and location, a supply chain network graph is displayed in the location details section when the Supply Chain Network layer is enabled.
- The alert list is now enhanced to offer search, sorting, grouping personalization and download to Microsoft Excel or CSV files features.
- Additional master data attribute information can be visualized on the alert detail header. For example, if the calculation level of the alert is on location ID and product ID, all attributes of the data type that the location ID and product ID belong to will be displayed in a popup such as location type, region.
- For order-based alerts, you can now navigate to any external system that you have preconfigured and pass the order information as parameters.
2) Weighted Averages
SAP introduced the new IBP_WEIGHTEDAVG function to calculate weighted average in one step. Earlier, especially to support bottom up aggregation for the revenue key figures (qty * price ), we used to define the calculation to display the price computed as total of the revenue at lowest level divided by the quantity. This has now been simplified by using the new function.
WEIGHTEDPRICE@REQUEST = IBP_WEIGHTEDAVG(“PRICE@PL1″,”QTY@PL1″,”CALCULATEDNUMERATOR”)
This can be used to provide more accurate metrics at an aggregated level. For example, if the Safety stock is maintained as quantity, then the safety stock days at an aggregated level can be computed
This is an example of the use case we came across for one of our clients. The final safety stock days earlier set with an aggregation mode of Average. However, the client wanted to see the weighted average calculation keeping in view of the different distribution of demand across different products in the same category.
3) Coverage / Days of Supply
The projected days of coverage based upon the current supply plan and the projected inventory key-figure is one of the most critical metrics used by the planners to evaluate the supply plan. IBP supply provides the standard key figure Coverage which is internally computed by the supply operator and the calculation cannot be influenced by the user. Compared to this, APO/ECC provided the options to customize the computation of the DOS key figures – for example, to compute most pessimistic coverage definition by only including physical stock as available to most optimistic definition by including all the supplies (stock, firmed receipts, unfirmed receipts). The new function IBP_COVERAGE now enables the customers to create their own definitions easily without going through complicated calculations. The example below shows 3 different coverage calculations using the above function:
COVERAGEIBP@DAYPRODLOC = IBP_COVERAGE(“TOTALDEMAND@DAYPRODLOC”, “PROJECTEDSTOCK@DAYPRODLOC”, 1, ”NEXTBUCKET”, ”USEZEROSTOCK”, ”PASTCURRENTFUTURE”)
COVERAGESTOCK@DAYPRODLOC = IBP_COVERAGE(“TOTALDEMAND@DAYPRODLOC”, “INITIALSTOCK@DAYPRODLOC”, 1, ”NEXTBUCKET”, ”USEZEROSTOCK”, ”PASTCURRENTFUTURE”)
COVERAGEFIRMED@DAYPRODLOC = IBP_COVERAGE(“TOTALFIRMED@DAYPRODLOC”, “PROJECTEDSTOCK@DAYPRODLOC”, 1, ”NEXTBUCKET”, ”USEZEROSTOCK”, ”PASTCURRENTFUTURE”)
This same calculation can also be adopted to compute the calculations at aggregate category level.
4) Switchable Constraints for Order Based Planning
You can use this feature to activate or deactivate constraints. Depending on your settings, the constraints will or won’t be considered in planning runs. This function supports you in situations where you want to plan both with and without certain constraints in the same version of your planning area. For example, you may want to do this at different points in time – you may want to plan without constraints in early planning phases, while you want constraints to be considered in later planning phases. Switchable constraints are also a means for explorative analyses of the impact of individual constraints, or to identify bottlenecks.
For example, for the shorter horizon, you might want to consider all the constraints – Capacity, Allocation, Supply, Lot-sizes etc. This would ensure that the short term plan is feasible. However, for the medium term you might want to ignore the supply constraints, since you can work with the supplier to increase the supply or procure alternative supplies. For the long term, it might make sense to ignore additional constraints like allocation, supplier, lot-sizes etc. This would help in not only improving the performance but also eliminate the need for doing the detailed planning when it is not needed.
5) Product Substitution – Location Product Substitution in Time Series Based Supply Planning.
Product substitution and interchangeability has always been a pain point for the supply planning. For example, when a product is being discontinued by a specific date, you might want to substitute this with other location product. Similarly, when you are running a promotion for a particular product, you might want to substitute that product with the special promotional product during the promotion time. This new functionality enables the planners to define the rules and allow the product substitution. Discontinuing a leading location product at a specified time means that, from then on, you only supply the substitute location product (even if you still have remaining inventory of the leading location product). You can optionally decide to define a ‘use-up’ phase, allowing you to consume its remaining inventory to avoid wastage.
The optimizer supports more scenarios for product discontinuation and promotion than the heuristic. If you’re using the optimizer, you must set the substitution cost rate and the inventory holding cost rates appropriately for it to work correctly.
This feature is currently not supported for constrained time-series based heuristic.