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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert
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Today at Sapphire I listened to a very interactive panel discussion titled “Transform Your Supply Chain Into a Demand Network”.

The panel was hosted by Hans Thalbauer, SAP’ SVP of Solution Management for Supply Chain. Hans was joined by:


  • Mark Volrath, Colgate-Palmolive Company
  • Jim Smith, McKesson Corp.
  • Martin Boehm, Beiersdorf AG

Hans touched upon the new business realities that are forcing customers to rethink their supply chains (See blog The Emergence of the Demand Network). He discussed how the customer is in the center of all supply chains and this requires a transformation to a “Demand Network”. Hans also described the 4 main drivers:


Colgate’s Demand Driven Operations Model


Mark from Colgate did a great job of explaining their “Demand Driven Operations Model” and how this is being driven across 80+ countries and over 50 production plants. As Mark described, “The heart of the process is demand sensing and shaping and the manufacturing and fulfillment processes to drive a real time planning model”.


As Mark discussed howthis is enabled through a strong and longstanding partnership with SAP to support:

  • A single depository of Supply chain data across planning and execution to get to real-time planning.
  • Analytical capabilities with real time synchronized supply data
  • Integration of short term demand sensing
  • Inventory optimization of levels and buffers
  • Visibility of executional operations with alerts
  • Real time S&OP process with people, workflow and analytics 
  • Integrated network design capabilities

Mark also highlighted some of the key benefits of the SAP and Colgate collaboration:


  • Single source of data for multiple planning and executional operations
  • S&OP effectiveness for constraint and opportunistic growth
  • Increased service levels through more effective responsiveness to demand variations
  • Significantly improved inventory control with close in demand sensing
  • Increased visibility through an advanced information symmetry of supply and demand
  • What if / simulation capability for growth and profitability

McKesson - Driving S&OP and Inventory Optimization processes

Jim from McKesson explained that “McKessen serves more than 50% of American hospitals, 20% of physicians and 100% of health plans, and as the largest pharmaceutical distributor in North America, we deliver one-third of all medications used there every day”.

Jim described how McKesson are driving Integrated Business Planning in one division by leveraging SAP’s S&OP and Enterprise inventory Optimization capabilities..


Highlights of the deployment include:


  • S&OP provides the ability to :
    • Store large volumes of Master Data and transactional data,
    • Aggregate and disaggregate this data to facilitate forecasting scenarios
    • Lleverage attributes and key fFigures to facilitate a Consensus Forecast and  Alert Analytics
    • Flexibility to support  shorter forecast lead times within the business unit
  • Enterprise Inventory Optimization increases visibility into SLA  monitoring, Forecast accuracy, and ROP planning.

As Jim concluded, “we now have a total supply chain and a product that scales as the business scales”.

Beiersdorf – Harmonized view on market data across the globre

Martin from Beiersdorf explained how they are leveraging BIG DATA with SAP Demand Signal Management on HANA to manage, harmonize and analyze retail data and makes it globally accessible and meaningful.


This data then drives guided analytics that provide new analytical viewpoints with smart data visualization and easy navigation.


A key enabler was the the “fast and holistic harmonization” over 500 sources of data to provide a common, globally valid standard for all categories to have an unique source of unbiased information

Martin highlighted some of the major benefits of this environment  to all “brand building business units” to manage external market data sources in one environment by…

  • Providing a single Beiersdorf market view
  • Enabling the ability to combine different data sources (Retail Panel, POS, SCM etc)
  • Support insightful and faster reporting to answer big questions based on guided analytics and widgets of choice for a personalized marketers view

It was great to get the 3 different perspectives and to hear how Colgate, McKessen and Beiersdorf have started and continue on their journey to a Demand Network.


Follow me on twitter @howellsrichard

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