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Earlier in this blog post we shared how the global trends, either caused by innovation, geopolitical policies or for example, more recently with the pandemic is challenging many companies in the service parts business. Making them choose between disrupting their industry into a new agile mobility world, while at the same time running a profitable and traditional business.

The service parts planning business is comprised of two unique and strategic business models:

  1. Asset Centric - Designed for companies that provide internal Maintenance, Repair, and Operations (MRO) with a goal to improve their asset availability and reliability.

  2. Distribution Centric – Designed for enterprises with single or multiple distribution channels engaged in the selling of parts to other companies. Examples include dealers and retailers involved in aftermarket services.

In this blog post, I explore how SAP offers a dedicated SAP S/4HANA extended Service Parts Planning On-Premise solution (eSPP) for distribution centric customers. The 2020 SAP S/4HANA release is out now with our innovations in that space.

eSPP Overview

SAP S/4HANA extended Service Parts Planning solution (eSPP) provides planning functions specific to service parts and transparency throughout the supply chain, right from the moment demand occurs through to the delivery of the product.

It provides capabilities for forecasting, inventory planning, procurement, and distribution of service parts in large volumes to customers.  These capabilities ensure targeted service levels are maintained. Thus making it ideal for distribution centric companies that distribute large volumes of aftermarket service parts to numerous stocking locations. For more info check out this blog post SPP in a nutshell.

eSPP Overview

2020 Release highlights

Effective this year with the 2020 Release, the eSPP application will be available as an SAP S/4HANA On-Premise release with the option to be deployed on the Cloud. The continuing emergence of in-memory database technology means that we will be able to provide enhanced planning models with greater speed and to increase the response time.

User Experience & Design:.

In order to make eSPP more delightful and intuitive for the next-generation workforce, we are providing a new visual design and experience using SAP Fiori 3.0.

With the 2020 release, all the main eSPP transactions including the Planning Service Manager can now be called from the Fiori Launchpad. They are displayed with SAP GUI for HTML. The SAP Fiori Launchpad can be used as a starting point to access the SAP S/4HANA eSPP application as a single-entry point for all users to enter SAP S/4HANA Fiori apps.

Fiori Launchpad

New Supersession UI:

Using the integration with SAP S/4HANA for advanced ATP,  there is a new UI for supersession, where customers can plan the substitution of one or more products with one or more different products. You can specify when the discontinuation of the products is to begin. Based on this date, the system plans the substitution of the respective products by calculating the necessary date values for the substitution, and continually checking their ability to be realised.

Supersession UI

SAP Analytics Cloud Integration:

Customers are now able to create their own analytics and visualization, using the integration with SAP Analytics Cloud. It has a live connection with the backend eSPP system i.e. data is live. The data is provided from eSPP application with demand and forecast data and also data from the Distribution Requirements Planning leading to fast result analysis.

SAP Analytics Cloud combines business intelligence, planning and predictive analytics, providing access to all possible data from eSPP and other applications so that you can visualize, plan and predict using real-time data. SPP generates alerts in unscheduled or critical situations that occur during the planning process.

eSPP Analytics

Capture Demand (Virtual Model!):

As part of the 2020 simplifications – we have introduced the virtual model for demand capture.

Demand history always forms the basis for the forecast and further planning processes, the first step is to capture the demand and then adjust it meet the requirements of services parts planning.  In the virtual mode! now reading data directly from the historical sales order demand will be possible “on the fly” from the raw demand table. Hence, the demand history table will no longer be updated/ needed during demand capture.  This  major enhancement led to a significant performance improvement.

We still have the persistent model – where the system captures historical demand based on storage data and requires an additional storage data level and increase in run time.

Customers can choose between virtual or persistent mode.

Inventory Planning:

Customers now have the choice of a simple eSPP Inventory planning or multi-echelon inventory process through SAP Integrated Business Planning. Particularly relevant if you are looking for Optimization capabilities and What-If Scenarios.

As eSPP incorporates a heuristic-based approach for Inventory Planning – but no „true multi-echelon inventory optimization. We decided to utilize the overall end-to-end SPP process with all its advantages and offer the option to enhance it with the dedicated & powerful inventory optimization which is part of SAP Integrated Business Planning. True multi-echelon inventory optimization requires advanced capabilities for simulation, what-if-analysis and result comparison. So we give customers the choice of simple Inventory planning via eSPP or advanced inventory planning via SAP Integrated Business Planning for Inventory.

What’s being planned for the future

With the re-platforming of SPP in SAP S/HANA in the 2020 release, we provided a flawless integration with other components and executional SAP S/4HANA processes (Procurement, Sales, Logistics Execution, aATP). In addition to that, it provided eSPP with performance & scaling enhancements that is allowing a faster operation of the overall system. This tight integration gives additional possibilities for future enhancements.

In the next year’s releases, we plan to continue developing a state of the art Service Parts Planning functionalities. That will include OEM-MI functionalities, continues design & user experience enhancements, adding more ML/AI capabilities and forecasting capabilities. In addition to that, we are planning a new concept for promotions planning and most importantly, simulation capabilities.

Stay tuned!

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