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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
Hi all,

We're often asked what our SAP SuccessFactors Time Management strategy is to cover shift planning. In this blog I would like to highlight our strategy and also the rationale behind it.

For customers who run SAP SuccessFactors Time Management our strategy for Shift Planning is in essence 2-fold: 

  1. The first option is for customers who want a standalone shift planning app. For these customers we offer a range of planning apps via our SAP Store.

  2. The second option, for customers who favour SAP solutions we have targeted (often Industry specific) resource planning and deployment solutions. For example, we have SAP S/4HANA Resource Management for the scheduling of consultants and SAP Digital Manufacturing for complete manufacturing related planning processes which can include labor. 

In scheduling, there is hardly a one-size fits all as every industry has own specific scheduling types and needs. In this blog I would like to show and explain our integration approach with SAP Digital Manufacturing.

SAP Digital Manufacturing

First of all, let me start by explaining what SAP Digital Manufacturing is and offers:

In SAP Digital Manufacturing, demand-based shift planning can be achieved through various features and functionalities offered by the system. Here's an overview of the steps involved in implementing demand-based shift planning:

  1. Demand Forecasting: Obtain accurate demand forecasts for your manufacturing operations. This can be achieved by leveraging SAP's Demand Planning module or integrating external forecasting tools with SAP Digital Manufacturing.

  2. Production Planning: Utilise SAP's Production Planning module to create production plans based on the demand forecast. This module helps you determine the required production quantities, scheduling, and resource allocation.

  3. Shift Planning: In SAP Digital Manufacturing, shift planning involves assigning resources, such as operators or machines, to specific shifts based on the production plan. You can create shift profiles that define shift durations, break times, and other shift-specific parameters.

  4. Capacity Evaluation: Evaluate the capacity of your production resources against the planned shifts. SAP Digital Manufacturing provides capacity evaluation tools that allow you to analyse resource utilisation, identify bottlenecks, and optimise shift assignments.

  5. Shift Optimisation: Once the initial shift plan is created, you can use SAP's optimisation algorithms to fine-tune the plan. The system considers factors such as resource availability, skill requirements, and production constraints to automatically optimise the shift assignments and minimise costs or maximise throughput.

  6. Shift Scheduling: Generate shift schedules based on the optimised shift plan. The schedules can be communicated to operators through the SAP Digital Manufacturing platform or integrated with other scheduling tools.

  7. Monitoring and Adjustments: Continuously monitor the execution of the shift plan and track key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure the plan aligns with the demand. If necessary, make adjustments to the plan in real-time to accommodate changing demand or resource availability.

SAP Digital Manufacturing provides a comprehensive suite of tools to enable demand-based shift planning, integrating demand forecasting, production planning, and shift optimisation. By leveraging these capabilities, you can align your manufacturing operations with customer demand, optimise resource utilisation, and improve overall efficiency.

How does Labor Planning work in SAP Digital Manufacturing?

Now, let me get to the SAP SuccessFactors related aspects which mainly focus on the exchange of labor related information to SAP Digital Manufacturing to e.g. facilitate labor related planning. This involves the process of effectively allocating and managing labor resources for manufacturing operations. Here's an overview of how labor related planning works in SAP Digital Manufacturing:

  1. Resource Master Data: Start by defining and maintaining resource master data in the system. This includes information such as the skills and qualifications of labor resources, availability, work shifts, and any constraints or preferences. When SAP Digital Manufacturing is connected to SAP SuccessFactors the Resource Master Data is highly aligned.

  2. Work Center Setup: Configure work centers within SAP Digital Manufacturing to represent the physical locations or areas where labor activities occur. Assign the appropriate labor resources to each work center based on their skills and qualifications.

  3. Production Orders: Create production orders in SAP Digital Manufacturing to represent the planned manufacturing activities. These orders specify the products to be produced, quantities, and the operations involved.

  4. Work Instructions: Define work instructions or standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each operation within a production order. These instructions provide detailed guidelines to the labor resources on how to perform the tasks effectively.

  5. Labor Assignment: Based on the production orders and work instructions, the system assists in assigning labor resources to specific operations. SAP Digital Manufacturing considers factors such as resource availability, skill requirements, shift schedules, and any other constraints to optimise the labor assignments.

  6. Workload Balancing: The system helps balance the workload across labor resources by considering factors such as resource capacity, skills, and availability. It aims to distribute the work evenly among the available resources to maximise productivity and minimise bottlenecks.

  7. Time and Attendance: Track and record the actual time spent by labor resources on each operation using time and attendance functionality. This data provides insights into the actual labor utilisation and forms the basis for performance analysis and improvement.

  8. Performance Monitoring: Monitor the performance of labor resources against planned targets and KPIs. SAP Digital Manufacturing provides real-time visibility into labor productivity, efficiency, and other key metrics, allowing you to identify and address any deviations or issues.

  9. Reporting and Analytics: Utilise reporting and analytics capabilities in SAP Digital Manufacturing to generate labor-related reports and dashboards. These reports provide insights into labor utilisation, efficiency, performance trends, and can support decision-making for future labor planning.

By leveraging the labor planning features in SAP Digital Manufacturing, you can optimise the allocation of labor resources, improve productivity, and effectively manage workforce requirements across your manufacturing operations.

Labor Planning in SAP Digital Manufacturing powered by SAP SuccessFactors

Shift Planning

In this chapter I would like to highlight via 2 demos how shift planning options look like in real life when SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Digital Manufacturing are integrated. The first type of shift planning is the classical labor planning. Employees are scheduled on (rotating) shift patterns to ensure there is enough coverage to produce materials.

In this scenario, employees from SAP SuccessFactors such as Emma, Faith and Thomas are seamlessly brought over along with their skills and availability information. This helps the shift planner in SAP Digital Manufacturing to come to a shift plan.

The employee availability takes into account which (temporary) work schedule the employee is on, any booked absences, and also potential public holiday information. 

Here you can see the 1st integrated demo of SAP SuccessFactors and SAP Digital Manufacturing to highlight the shift planning scenario: 

As you could see in the demo, the shift planner plans the 3 employees on a shift pattern. The planner simply takes the June shift schedule, selects July and the Shift rotator feature then rotates the June shifts for these users to July. The Shift rotator works based on the Shift Optimizer and Workload Balancing capabilities described earlier in this blog to come to the optimal shift suggestion.

Also, at the end of the demo you see that there is an under staffing for labor on the given work center. Via a min-max setting you can configure what the minimal and/or maximum capacity is that is required for the production of that certain product.

In this case it indicates a shortage of labor to produce the product (JOW) this shift planner needs to plan for. By simply assigning an employee in a certain shift to this work center the capacity required to produce that product is met. It balances out the required production capacity and the supply of labor.

Of course this as a very basic scenario, but I hope that you understand that it normally is more complex in real customer examples 🙂

Demand Based Production Planning

This is a more complex type of planning because it doesn't only take the labor into account, but also everything else which is needed to produce an asset. That means that also Production Orders, and also the availability of Tools need to be balanced out, next to the availability of labor.

Here you see a short demo of how that looks like:

As you could see in the demo there is a Production Order which is booked to be produced during a certain shift. During that shift also the required Tools are available via the embedded Tool Management.

At the end of the demo, you see that Emma Ward is planned for the day shift in which the product (JOW) will get produced. She’s planned on it because she has the appropriate qualifications for this task. These skills and qualifications can be aligned across SAP Digital manufacturing and SAP SuccessFactors.

Where can you find more information?

There is much more to it, as shown in these very short demo clips. But we wanted you to be aware of our offering. If you want to learn more about SAP Digital Manufacturing, please check:

Hope you enjoyed these short demo clips!

Kind regards,