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Product and Topic Expert
Product and Topic Expert

As the New Year begins, stubborn business challenges persist. Global supply chains are under pressure to deliver from volatile demand signals, complex supply scenarios and processes that are difficult to change quickly.

Why? Customers are more demanding. By leveraging social media and online research, customers are plugged in and informed. Their expectations for those they do business with are increasing. At the same time, today’s supply chains are becoming more complex. We know supply has become global. But growth in emerging markets is increasing global demand in the face of rising prices and diminishing resources. Compliance, product safety and sustainability add complexity when bringing products to market in a timely fashion.

All of this is takes place in an era of ongoing economic uncertainty fraught with changing buyer behavior and consumer spending that is increasing only marginally. Balancing costs with service levels within the supply chain has never been so critical.

So, when I think of today’s supply chain, the old adage, “the only constant is change itself” comes to mind. We must be responsive to change and treat exceptions as the norm!  So as a New Year’s resolution I believe we need to rethink our supply chains and the processes that drive them:

  • Rethink Responsiveness by considering customer, product and supplier priorities when defining how to improve customer satisfaction. This requires the ability to act smarter through an accurate picture of demand for all products and markets at any time through real-time visibility.

  • Rethink Collaboration across departments and companies to build and adjust profitable business plans. This requires near real-time planning processes and “what-if” scenarios support to make faster and more profitable decisions.

  • Rethink Distribution to improve relationships and responsiveness to customer demands. This can potentially lead to a complete new strategy for warehouses (maybe many more local warehouses but much smaller ones) or different transportation models (change from big truck to small trucks).

  • Rethink Operations to introduce smarter, faster and simpler demand and supply planning processes in order to profitably plan and re-plan based on distribution and manufacturing costs.

  • Rethink Decisions with real time insight and information to rapidly analyse and respond to changing business dynamics.

Changing the Game with SAP HANA

With the introduction of Business Suite powered by HANA, these supply chain aspirations are achievable today. SAP HANA enables the collection and monitoring of huge volumes of internal and external supply chain “big data” in real-time. This can include information about orders, shipments and point-of-sale purchases, inventory positions and customer sentiment analysis. Supply chain professionals can then perform high-speed what-if analysis and KPI tracking against supply chain information. They can slash the planning cycles to drive profitable and smarter decisions with real-time insight. And with new real-time visibility, analytics planning and execution capabilities provided by SAP HANA, companies can completely re-think their Supply Chain. 

Here are some of the HANA enabled capabilities available to supply chain executives today.

    • Sales & Operations Planning powered by HANA leverages a unified model of demand, supply chain, and financial data to analyze in real time at any level of granularity or dimension. Decisions can be made faster through rapid simulation and comparison of scenarios on a complete, detailed S&OP model. And these decisions are smarter by empowering collaborative processes through an embedded, context-aware social platform to accelerate planning and decision making across the company.

    • Demand Signal Management powered by HANA leverages big data from both structured and unstructured (sentiment analysis, web chatter etc.) sources to accurately manage demand, and align consumer, promotional and forecast data into one complete view of your demand picture. A complete view of demand enables real-time visibility of both successful and problem products, regions and channels. You can then integrate the holistic demand view to drive planning, fulfillment and execution processes.

    • APO powered by HANA utilizes the high-speed computational capabilities of SAP HANA to improve time consuming and performance intensive process making planning faster and more responsive. APO now has real-time analytics for SCM planning scenarios to increase speed of information analysis, and simulations in areas of forecasting and supply network planning. It also supports pre-defined dashboards for different use cases (analytical workflows) for APO based planning scenarios.

    • MRP powered by HANA enables faster re-planning allowing more frequent MRP runs in shorter cycles and simulation of different ‘what if’ scenarios in real-time.

    • Supply Network Collaboration powered by HANA enables rapid collaboration with supply chain partners to gain multi-tiered visibility and status across your extended supply chain.

    • Real-time Inventory Management powered by HANA delivers an inventory management cockpit for real-time stock insight and inventory monitoring

    • Supply Chain Info Center powered by HANA helps to execute decisions in real time through embedded dashboards to drill down into issues and perform ad-hoc analysis and decision support based on near real time information (e.g. forecast accuracy,  stock coverage, supply projection)

Today, innovations from SAP offer you real-time supply chain management and the opportunity to rethink your supply chain and its processes to take it to new levels of responsiveness, efficiency and customer service.  Imagine what your business can do with this great opportunity.

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