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A tragedy

I see this tragedy over and over – companies using SAP ECC’s Production Planning module do not know about all of the functionality contained therein so they buy additional software such as SAP’s Advanced Planner and Optimizer (APO) to provide the functionality.  And then, they use about 5% of the functionality of APO, all of which was offered in ECC’s PP module anyway.

Not only is this tragic it is a waste of shareholders’ money!

I have been an SAP PP consultant for 14 years and have seen the following:

  • a personal care manufacturing company took demand from Excel spreadsheets; loaded it into APO; did the equivalent of a rough cut capacity check and then fed this demand into ECC’s demand management module.


                    Hello company – you’re using APO as a glorified spreadsheet, nothing more.

  • a food processing company generated demand inside of APO, ran MRP in APO and then fed only the supply elements to ECC. They couldn’t perform exception monitoring in ECC because they had the supply without demand and the planners didn’t have access to the APO system to perform exception monitoring there. 


                    Hello company – how can you possibly plan without using exception monitors?

  • a pharmaceutical manufacturing company is considering implementing APO so they can get an alert when forecasted demand is greater than sales orders and then delete the excess demand.  

               Hello company – have you looked at ECC transactions MD73 Display total requirements and MD74 Adjust Requirements?

  • This list goes on and on….

SAP Software vendors – I know you’d like to sell the APO licenses but you need to come clean with the client.  If this is all the client wants to do with APO tell them they already have what they need in ECC.

Implementation companies – You’d like to get your hands on this implementation work but you too need to come clean with the client.  Tell them you’ll take on a project to implement the desired functionality inside of ECC.

IT departments and end users – You need to educate yourselves on ECC functionality. Attend SAP classes; it’s the best way to learn.

CEOs and CIOs – don’t allow the IT department of your company to be a profit center because they will buy and implement more and more software to keep their department “profitable”.

Let’s all do our bit to increase productivity; let’s extract more from the ECC resource we already own!

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  • Alejandro - I agree with you.  I lump the SAP consultants into the same group as the Implementation companies.  Everyone needs to be better educated on the functionality of ECC. 

    Many years ago I worked on a project where our consulting firm was implementing several modules including BW. They asked me to peer review the BW report specifications and I found that 7 of the 8 reports were standard in ECC. I even went one step further and set up the selection screen variants and report layouts to demonstrate them. Our company went ahead anyway and made those into BW reports!  Tragic.

  • Hi Ann,

    Rightly said, Consultant should have good knowledge to give perfect solution. I also think it is the pre sales team and delivery manager responsiblity also to define the proper scope and right skills at right place.

    Some times there are other resons like duration of project, financials involved, client is not demanding etc...............

  • HI Ann,

                 TRUE to the point.Yes, most of the companies (including in-house consulting)/consultants lacks the deep understanding on the product & configuration.

                 Even companies now  emphasizing to use APO/HANA etc. Do really SAP HANA is required for the automotive industry which runs on traditional RepMan(REM) ? No need to have trillion operation in less than 1 second. But, You can see the hipe that got created.

                All that required is good knowledge + good attitude with some commonsense.


    Subrahmanyam B

  • Hello Ann,

    what you said is sad reality.

    On the other hand I also experienced the case, that a consultant discouraged from
    using PP/DS in a environment with highly complex routings over a great spectrum
    of resources and the requirement of optimization and capacity planning. Something ECC really can't do in my experience.




  • Hello Ann,

    You have missed whole point here. SAP-ECC is MRP-II software which advocates giving control to 'Master Production sheduler' as against SAP SCM/APO which is 'Advance Planning software'. APS are built to give some of the control back to software.

    A simple scenario described below cannot be handled in SAP ECC.

    Order 1: 510 qty

    Order Due date: 27/9/2013

    Order 2 received later than order 1

    Order 2: 500

    Order Due date: 25/9/2013

    If daily line capacity is 250/day would you tell customer of Order 2 that we cannot built full 500 until 30/09 because our capacity is not enough on 25/10?

    ECC is infinite capacity while APO -PPDS would use 'Order Priority' field to schedule one which meets overall objective(Cash flow, Priority customer ) instead of leaving these decision to 'Master Prod scheduler'

    In real life( Not simple example above) , there are multiple level of BOM, with mutiple operation , each having different workcenter( line capacity) . 'Master Prod scheduler' would never be able reoslve all conflict & schedule manually.

    Most of "Request for Procurement' of PP module has these requirementss

    why ?

    Because 'CEO/CIO' would assume 'Why Finite Capacity cannot be done in ECC'... why should we buy APO....

    Most of time , we have hard time explaining above to customer

  • hi,

    It is realty that ECC Is provides infinite schedules/Planning while consider for the time management/work center management,

    But real fact is that ECC MRP definitely provides materials procurement at right side at right time.

    It is the one of the key business success of the SAP.

    But point noting that for APO requires full time dedication ,instead planning effectively through excel with formulas,gives so many performance indicators than APO,

    Here is point that shop floor guys work with the system and using thier logics in process improvements ,that definitely add the values/value added activities,