Product Lifecycle Management Blogs by SAP
Dive into product lifecycle management news, learn about digitalizing PLM for the digital supply chain, and stay informed with product updates from SAP.
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 


Analytics for manufacturing have come a long way from the days of manual exports and custom Microsoft Access databases.  If you are still using this approach you may want to reconsider in favor of this!  SAP has released an update to the SAP Digital Manufacturing application that redefines what is possible for business and IT end-users to scale out how data is consumed and collaborated on.  If you're in the manufacturing space and are wondering what value an ERP vendor like SAP can provide have a look here for some ideas:

The above have a lot of coverage that link to various other content but the short of it is that SAP is an industry leader committed to ensuring manufacturing processes are efficient end to end mechanisms in your supply chain.


The approach at a high-level is a simple one and that is to standardize the definition of efficiency across all locations for all production scenarios.  The reality on the ground is that this is a much more monumental task when considering the complexity, and diversity, of multiple different manufacturing locations around the world, each with varying levels of maturity and different types of production scenarios.  With all of these variables, what is the best way for a customer to go about harmonizing the definition of production efficiency?  The answer is that it starts at the top enterprise level (Level 4 & 5 in ISA-n standard) with a definition of the production schedule and plan.  This is the starting point for defining what your production goals are for each locale and what the potential value (profitability) of hitting those goals is for the company.  From here tracking deviations from the plan and also adapting the plan over time (manufacturing agility) is a key component of performance.

There is a clear emphasis on using Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and I have been blogging about this for a while now too (OEE for the Enterprise).  The emphasis stems from the fact that "Your plan is only as good as your ability to execute it!" and that is the underlying theme for the SAP manufacturing analytics strategy.  With ERP being at the core of what SAP does, the "P" in ERP is what sets the stage for aligning goals and coordinating logistics and manufacturing resources to ensure smooth operations.  That plan, and its accuracy over time, sets the stage for potential success of the organization and then it's up to both logistics and manufacturing operations to realize this.

To be fair, the measure of success is not only the OEE score but rather the ability to execute to plan, coordinate around deviations from the plan, identify & resolve systemic problems, and also to ensure low-cost but high-yielding production.  OEE plays a key role in understanding how well the handoff between production and logistics actually works and throughput is the indicator of yield/performance.  These two in combination with Labor tracking will provide a repeatable and scalable means to gauge health of manufacturing operations.

This in turn roll up to a central layer where executives and understand the business value, prioritize investments, and drive continuous improvement projects top-down rather than the plants trying to build individual business cases in a fragmented manner.  Here is where we move into the concept of Intelligent Profitability.  This is where we begin to leverage more than just the tactical layer of analytics.  It's great to see what's going on live so you can respond but the ability to roll this information up for the strategic level view of "Where is my biggest opportunity?" is equally important.  Having this capability ensure that CAPEX or OPEX investments are properly prioritized top-down means that the greatest value can be generated out of the investment based on forecasted need and not only based historical performance.

Manufacturing Analytics

SAP Digital Manufacturing has come a long way from the onset of the SAP journey into Manufacturing way back in 2005 with the acquisition of Lighthammer Software.  This acquisition helped to build up credibility with our commitment to cloud and show SAP's commitment to manufacturers across all industries on how the next generation of software will empower operations.  The latest wave of technological changes to the market have moved software from the hands of the IT departments and into the cloud of the software vendor.  This movement has fundamentally changed how software is developed but also how it's maintained and leverages features across the platform.

The topic of analytics is no exception to this and has also undergone a wide-ranging set of changes, ranging from hot and cold storage (aka Elasticity) to standardized analytics and UIs.  The latest iteration of analytics for manufacturing companies is included as part of the standard SAP Digital Manufacturing application (Overview & Help Docs) that runs on the SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP).  The offering is a pure SaaS enabled offering that customers can readily start taking advantage of and also reap the benefits of a continuously maturing software offering that isn't needlessly burdening IT (SAP Digital Manufacturing Roadmap Explorer) and innovated by SAP from the ground up.

1 Comment