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What it means to optimize the SAP supply chain

there are quite some different opinions out there about what an effort to optimize the SAP supply chain actually means. In my personal opinion, a process optimization or improvement is a precursor or a by-product of an SAP supply chain optimization… and not the primary goal. Of course things will have to get better when we optimize but in this case, the use of the tool should be improved. And that means:

– a better understanding on how SAP functionality works

– a better understanding about what options are available in SAP

– better use of the SAP system to support the optimized process

– more automation

If we plot this on a matrix, we can see that the process optimization should come first – to improve on your business process – and the SAP supply chain optimization should come afterwards – to have the tool, SAP software, support the optimized processes in the most automated and efficient way.

when I visit customers, I usually see a solid process, highly skilled planners, buyers and schedulers, a very good management team and a company that works very well. And if the aforementioned would not be true, I doubt that that company would still be in business. Come on SAP consultant! Do you really think you can improve your customer’s process? the way they have been doing business for years… successfully!  or are you better suited helping them to get it done better using SAP as a tool? to get the most out of the available functionality? I think what is needed here, is an adviser who looks at the process and matches the right functions in SAP so that the process runs more efficient and more automated.

Almost always I see a good business running with a great degree of supply chain excellence .. but the question most likely is: “How hard is it for you – and how much manual effort does it take you – to get there?

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