Planning revolution in SAP S/4HANA and SAP ERP
The SAP APO PP/DS module is used for advanced scheduling of production, materials and resources in the short term. It is available as a natively embedded element of the S/4HANA system or as an add-on to the ERP (ECC) system. This solution enables the company to launch advanced planning based on heuristics (planning algorithms predefined to solve specific planning problems), using flexible tools for creating and iterative (including automatic) processing of planning problems with highly specialized algorithms.
So far, SAP APO has been launched as a separate system installation. It has been treated as a part of a larger whole of the Supply Chain Management (SCM) system. This was required primarily by the assumptions related to the method of processing huge amounts of data and the relationships between them. It was necessary to use dedicated engines, the so-called accelerators working with data stored in memory, maximally reducing the main bottleneck of processing large amounts of data, which is the time of access to a traditional disk database. The introduction of the HANA database (In-Memory database) by SAP has enabled the implementation of solutions related to advanced planning directly in the ERP system (ECC).
The main components of the APO system in the stand-alone version were:
- Demand Planning
- SNP (Supply Network Planning)
- PP/DS (Production Planning / Detailed Scheduling)
- GATP (Global Available To Promise)
SAP has now offered the option of launching advanced, detailed planning (PP/DS component) without having to install an additional, dedicated server. This allows planners to apply a completely new philosophy of handling the planning processes supported by SAP through the use of the so-called heuristics. SAP also offers modification and creation of new sets of algorithms, which allows planners to develop, modify and adjust their planning philosophy according to the strategies adopted at a given time by the company. This tool frees the planner from a certain structured, perhaps unnecessarily stiffening approach compliant with the MRP2 methodology, opening up a wide array of options and offering completely new tools available from the ERP (ECC) system.