Enhancing the SAP standard

SAP offers comprehensive enterprise software solutions which streamline business operations, improve efficiency, and provide real-time insights. Its robust suite of applications cover finance, HR, the supply chain, and more, helping organisations make data-driven decisions, enhance their customer experiences, and stay competitive in today's fast-paced business landscape.

SAP standard, however, is not a "one size fits all" solution. Depending on the complexity of your requirements, you may opt to use a heuristic, an enhanced heuristic or an optimisation method.

At ITeanova we know all the different planning procedures, we know Heuristics and we understand how to enhance them, we know optimisation, we know the difference, we analyse your requirements, understand the complexity, and enable you to make informed decisions about the appropriate planning method.

Heuristics and optimisation are different approaches within the context of Supply Chain management each with their own purposes and distinct characteristics. Heuristics are a rule based approach for solving complex problems quickly, often sacrificing optimality for speed, whereas Optimisation uses mathematical algorithms to find the best possible solution ensuring optimal results but requiring more time to compute.

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Why ITeanova?

ITeanova has the expertise to propose the right planning process for you, the choice between Heuristics and Optimisation in Standard or their enhancement always depends on the specific problem, time constraints, computational resources available and the level of precision required in decision making. Sometimes a combination of both approaches maybe required to strike a balance between speed and optimality.

In our experience customisation presents an exciting challenge. While we aim to streamline processes via usage of the standard, wherever possible, our customers also appreciate efficiency. When the need arises we readily embrace customisation to enhance your operations. Heuristics are a framework which can be enhanced, in 70% of the cases for planning methods we take heuristics and enhance them. In our experience with the mostly commonly used heuristics, we take the standard framework and enhance it in a moderate way.

We do whatever we can with the standard, but sometimes it is necessary to take the extra step, we know there is no other way and if it is better for the customers, then we do it. We keep the requirements of the user at heart and work together to find the optimal solution for your needs.

Our Process

Requirements Analysis: The first step in our custom development process is to thoroughly understand the specific business requirements that need to be addressed for the product to be successful. With 25 years of experience in the SAP development world, we have both a deep understanding of the SAP Infrastructure and the needs of Manufacturing Companies. This gives us the possibility of advising our clients on the best way to use SAP and the best way to modify it. Our consultants are seasoned professionals and experts in their respective fields and will work in close collaboration with your business stakeholders to understand, analyse and document their needs.

GAP Analysis and Solution definition: Our next step is to gather the requirements and map them against the current utilisation of the SAP Framework. Our objective will be to identify the gaps between the real world business process and the SAP process. Once we have clearly understood where the misalignment is located, we will begin to draft our proposals that will take into consideration.
a) whether the Sap framework is being utilised to its full potential and propose modifications to the Production Planning Strategies adopted by the client.
b) the gaps in the SAP framework that fail to match the real world business requirements and then propose solution on how the SAP framework could be enhanced to match the real world process.

Development: Once a solution is accepted by the client, we proceed with the development of the Solution. ITeanova embraces tight collaboration with the client in every stage of the development process , from design to implementation , placing the client at the centre of the process. Our Agile Iterative development process makes sure that client feedback is incorporated at regular intervals within the solution. This philosophy ensures that the any solution chosen is developed keeping in mind the needs of the client.

Testing: Rigorous testing is crucial to ensure that the custom-developed solutions meet the business requirements and do not introduce any issues into the SAP environment. This includes unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing (UAT).

Documentation: Proper documentation of the custom development is essential for future reference and maintenance. This includes technical documentation, functional specifications, and user manuals.

Deployment: Once the custom development is tested and approved, it is deployed into the SAP environment. This may involve transporting objects between development, quality assurance, and production systems.

Integration: Custom-developed solutions need to be integrated seamlessly with the existing SAP landscape and other systems as necessary. Integration can be achieved through various methods, including SAP Process Integration/Process Orchestration (PI/PO) or SAP Cloud Integration (SCI).

Maintenance and Support: Custom-developed solutions require ongoing maintenance and support to address issues, apply patches, and make updates as business requirements change.

Technology: All our solutions are implemented as close as possible to SAP framework that includes :ABAP , Fiori RAP framework, UI5, Odata and Hana stored procedures, Adobe Forms.

Our field of expertise covers the following SAP modules : MM, PP, WM, EMS, IBP, and PPDS

Typical Customisations

Data Visibility- Making data from S4 visible within PPDS It is highly frustrating and time consuming to have to exit screens and switch between applications (to access) because the data that you need is not there (the data required when needed and where it is needed) Extracting data from the S4 core and customising PPDS to make the data directly visible inside the view gives the users the information the data they need where they need it.

Data Visibility: Standardising representation of planning data between S4 and PPDS. ITeanova has long standing expertise in customising views that the end user can access. We reduce complexity by standardising the way operational data is represented in PPDS (Activities) to match the same format as S4 core. Looking at operational data in the same format in both PPDS and S4 can reduce confusion and users have to deal with only one type/kind of representation of the operational data.

Enhancement of existing functionality: Example modification of heuristics functionality. SAP PPDS offers a variety of heuristics to help manage your planning but because the complex nature of real world processes, these heuristics don't always match the business processes. The mismatch can be big or very small and yet it can be unsurmountable if the Sap Interface does not allow you to change it. This is where customisation comes in and we can modify the heuristic to work exactly like you want. An example of this is , one particular customer needed three heuristics to be executed, in sequence, in the same planning run. PPDS only allowed one heuristic to be executed for every planning run , so we customised the existing functionality in PPDS so that three heuristics could be executed in one planning run.

Enhancement of existing functionality: Example modification of fixed horizons and backlog management for existing-standard heuristic. Sometimes the real world business process is so different to the sap PPDS standard that a new planning heuristic that matches the business process needs to be created. This is what we did for one of clients who required a rescheduling function that recalculated End and Start date of operations with open quantities and then rescheduling the predecessor operations without sequence planning.

Customisation through new functionality: Building new Processes for the Product Planning table. Managing all the processes related to scheduling within the Interactive Planning Screens of PPDS (Scheduling planning board, Product planning table) is vital for a great user experience. Implementing New functionality within the Interactive Planning screens means that planners do not have to stay switching between other windows to complete their planning and scheduling. A new feature that we developed for our customers was to implement a By-product management process directly within the Product Planning table. As the planner schedules the various operations they can manage the by-products created by the production process and then reassign those By products to other existing demands in the system. New views have been added to the product planning table to visualize the required data.

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