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On July 19-20, an SAP Customer Value Network (CVN) event was held in Newtown Square, PA. These events are held across the US and Canada in order to allow our cusotmers to interact with each other, learn best practices and get more knowledgable about Supply Chain Management overall. I had the opportunity to attend as both a keynote speaker as well as … well, an attendee!

As I am focused on the Supply Chain Execution side of the house, my focus in attending sessions were around logistics processes and solution.

The first day allowed attendees to attend deep dive sessions on a number of SAP solutions. I attended the standing-room-only presentation on our new Transportation Management solution. The 3-hour session included a detailed demo of the solution, including integration to ERP, EH&S and Global Trade. The power of a single solution was evident and customers were excited about the fact that they could start the sales or purchase order process in their ERP systems and have it seamlessly integrate with their carriers and logistics providers. Ranjan Das from Cognizant also showed a Carrier Collaboration Portal that it had developed for one of its customers. Bjorn Bernard from GOPA then gave some highlights from one of the TM implementations that GOPA is supporting, an unnamed high tech manufacturer (you’d recognize the name).

The second day was largely customer presentations. Airgas and Maple Leaf Foods talked about their distribution implementations. Airgas had taken a very manual, paper-based process and automated it, including the use of RF devices. Inventory accuracy has gone up as data latency has gone down. Maple Leaf is undergoing a complete re-platform of its distribution network and has rolled out Extended Warehouse Management to many of its warehouses. After lunch, I listened to presentations from Clorox and Medtronic. Clorox has rolled out a new planning process which includes APO and Inventory Optimization, a solution that SAP resells from SmartOps. They are newly live but already seeing positiive results in the form of reduced inventory. Medtronic is still in implementation but have already identified large savings in its first implementation.

We had a two reporters, (CIO Magazine and SearchSAP.com) at the event along with Bob Ferrari who frequently blogs about SCM and SAP.  CIO.com published a great article featuring Tate & Lyle and Maple Leaf Foods, two of the customer presenters:

http://www.cio.com/article/686552/New_SCM_Deployments_Help_Food_and_Beverage_Companies_Streamline_Business_Operations_?page=1&taxonomyId=3015

To represent the planning side of the house, Bob Ferrari posted a fairly thread on his Blog. 

http://www.theferrarigroup.com/supply-chain-matters/2011/07/25/sap-supply-chain-managemenrt-summit-part-two/

SAP customers should consider attending one of these events in order to hear what other customers are doing. As Dave Strothman said when he kicked the event off, it is good for not only the IT department but the lines of business who just want to learn what is possible!

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