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Introduction

The lineage of ‘business processes’ and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and the world of ‘manufacturing processes’ evolved out of the industrial revolution.As the Business and manufacturing process evolved with time, the business world created CRM, HCM, SCM, ERP, PLM, ROI, while the manufacturing world created PLC, HMI, MES, OPC, CMS, DCS.

The type, frequency, granularity and disparity of data are very different between these two worlds, and so there has been a gap between the two technologies.

In the business world, if we have an ERP suite then it is expected that all the modules within the landscape ‘talk’ with each other. However, in the manufacturing world, equipment is often sourced from various vendors, smaller manufacturers are acquired by larger ones and the systems used in one facility may be completely different from those in another. Retrofitting the entire control system in a producing factory is almost impossible so typically, applying one communication standard across an entire manufacturing landscape is a tedious task.

Today however, we have so much information from our various levels of process that how to filter, sort, contextualise and deliver the right information to the right people, is becoming a modern art form of the information age. By combining SAP MII (Manufacturing Integration & Intelligence) with SAP BI (Business Intelligence) it is now possible to deliver “One version of the truth” from the Shop Floor to the Top Floor on the one SAP platform. The outcome of this is to allow businesses to make better decisions.

SAP Manufacturing Integration and Intelligence

SAP MII is a service-based composition environment for rapid development of composite applications for manufacturing. This composite application helps manufacturers become more adaptive by connecting the SAP ERP solution to the plant floor in real time and delivering actionable intelligence to production personnel. It provides both manufacturing intelligence and integration – extending the functionality of the SAP NetWeaver platform onto the real-time plant floor to significantly lower the total cost of ownership on manufacturing systems infrastructure. SAP MII provides a direct connection between shop floor systems and business operations. All data affecting manufacturing is visible in near-real-time, including information about orders, materials, equipment status, costs, and product quality. It enables users to become adaptive manufacturers, profitably replenishing the supply network while dynamically responding to change.

SAP MII is a Web-server-based application with a zero-client design; hence, no application software needs to be installed on the client machine. Clients should use their Web browser with the appropriate version of the Java Runtime Environment (JRE). SAP MII can deliver content to non-Java browsers if the content is prepared properly. This is the typical approach for mobile or handheld device support. Presentation of real-time plant information to Pocket PC wireless devices, Internet phones, and rugged-ized plant handheld devices and scanner drives efficiencies through a mobile workforce. Data consumption and data entry are supported by SAP MII.

SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence

SAP BusinessObjects business intelligence (BI) solutions simplify data manipulation, allowing users to access, navigate, analyze, format, and share information across a corporate environment. The reporting, analysis, and interpretation of business data is of central importance to a company in guaranteeing its competitive edge, optimizing processes, and enabling it to react quickly and in line with the market. With Business Intelligence (BI), SAP NetWeaver provides data warehousing functionality, a business intelligence platform, and a suite of business intelligence tools with which an enterprise can attain these goals. Relevant business information from productive SAP applications and all external data sources can be integrated, transformed, and consolidated in BI with the toolset provided. BI provides flexible reporting, analysis, and planning tools to support you in evaluating and interpreting data, as well as facilitating its distribution. Businesses are able to make well-founded decisions and determine target-orientated activities on the basis of this analysis.

Integration of MII and BI in SAP Landscape

The diagram describes the position of MII and BI in the SAP Landscape. Where MII can be seamlessly integrated to Plant floor systems for getting the real time production data via IDOCs, Web Services and other integration techniques. BI in turn has access to Business Warehouse and Enterprise Data. The data coming from Enterprise via BI and shop floor systems via MII can be integrated in MII for building Reporting Dashboards.

Image 1.png

           Figure 1 – System Landscape of MII and BI

MII and BI – A winning combination

What does Business Intelligence add to the world of Manufacturing

Longer Term Trending;

  • MII focuses on providing a real time version of events on the shop floor. By its nature, this means that the data is generally not stored. For longer term trend analysis this can create performance issues because of the volume of data required
  • SAP BI is designed for the extraction and storage of high volume data. If the requirement is to analyse longer term trends then SAP BI is the appropriate technology to use

Improved Visualisation Tools

  • The new suite of SAP Business Objects tools can now be used to enhance the data visualization capabilities of SAP MII
  • This can be done either through running BObj tools on top of SAP BW queries or directly on top of SAP MII for real time data analysis

And what does SAP MII add to the world of Business Intelligence

Specialised Connectors to the shop floor level

  • SAP BW has native connectors to SAP systems however the shop floor layer presents special challenges in extracting data due to their specialised data models
  • SAP MII overcomes these through its extractor technology designed specifically for the major shop floor systems and historians, and it complies with ISA 95 (“International standard for the integration of enterprise and control systems”)

Specialised graphical representations

  • Statistical Process Control and Statistical Quality Control Charts are a feature of SAP MII and represent a manufacturing specific capability which is not easily replicated in SAP BW

Plant Level Metrics

  • The Manufacturing Director is focused on optimizing Business Metrics such as asset utilization, material cost and on time supplier performance
  • SAP MII can add valuable data at the plant metric level such as machine availability, yields and cycle times which may not be available in SAP BW

The following table highlights the current positioning of SAP MII and SAP BI to deliver reporting and how their combined strengths deliver Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence from the Shop Floor to the Top Floor:

Functionality or
  Focus

SAP MII

SAP BI

Combined

Responsibility

Plant
  Manager

Manufacturing
  Manager/Director

Enterprise
  Wide

Reporting
  Scope

Shop
  Floor

Cross
  Functional Reporting

Shop
  Floor to Top Floor

Time
  Detail

Real
  Time (Daily and Below)

Days/Weeks/Months

All

Performance
  Management

Manufacturing
  Performance Management

Enterprise
  Wide Performance Management

Enterprise

Manufacturing
  Analytics

Plant
  Metrics

Business Metrics

Operational
  Excellence

Planning

Plant
  Level Scheduling

Enterprise Wide Planning

Enterprise
  Wide

User
  Interface

Web

BOBJ,
  Visual Composer

Best in
  Class

SAP Environment

SAP NW
  CE (Java)

SAP NW

SAP NW
  Platform

Data
  Persistence

Real
  Time (Optional Stored)

Stored
  (Optional Real Time)

Fit for
  purpose storage

Data
  Integration

MII is
  the ETL for Manufacturing Shop Floor Intergration

Data
  Services is the ETL for connecting to Non SAP data sources

Access
  to all levels of data

Step-by-Step Connection guide

Business Intelligence (BI) from SAP includes the SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse cube where enterprise data is often stored. SAP MII can read data from the cube using its OLAP Connector, which uses XML for analysis (XMLA) protocols (other third-party cubes support XMLA). Writing data from SAP MII to BI can occur through JCO call. Users can take data sets, reduce and compress results, and deliver them to BI for applications like a certificate of conformance or other quality record from the shop floor to top floor. Assuming the versions of MII and BI as 11.5 and BI AddOn 7.X respectively.

OLAP Connector

Step 1: Remote Enable BEx query

Make the BEx Cube remote enabled by checking the check box “By OLE DB for OLAP” under “Release for External Access”

Image 2.png

Step 2: Setup a New ‘SAPBWOLAP’ Connection in MII

In MII, create a new SAPBWOLAP connection by copying the existing one.

Image 3.png

Name the new connection and enter the details as required.

Catalog – Name of the cube

Port – HTTP port can be determined by logging on to the SAP GUI of the server. Go to T-code SICF, Go to à Port Information. Note the HTTP port here.

Image 4.png

After the details are entered, save the connection. The summary for the connection will look like

Image 5.png

Also note that this connection will not show up in the Status window as it is not a persistent connection to BI but rather an on demand connection.

Image 6.png

Step 3: Test a MDX query in SAP GUI

Open T-code MDXTEST. You can view the cube 0PP_C03, and the variables under the cube. Suppose we run a query to fetch all the materials in the cube,  write a simple select query and drag and drop the material column and cube name.

Image 7.png

Execute to test the query and directed.

Image 8.png

This displays the result in a new window.

Image 9.png

Step 4: Building a Query in MII

Create a Query Template of type OLAP Query.  Select the OLAP Server created above and mode as Query.

Image 10.png

Select the Cube name mentioned above, and write a simple OLAP query by dragging and dropping the columns required.

Image 11.png

Execute the query to compare the results with the one from MDXTEST.

Image 12.png

JCO Connection

Step 1: SetUp JCO Connection

Create a new JCO connection under the SAP Server Configuration and enter the IP address, client, user name and password.

Image 13.png

Step 2: Create a Business Logic Service

Open the Business Logic Services and add an action block SAPJCOInterface and select the server details just created.

Also search for a BAPI to check the connection.

Image 14.png

Create the request-response XML structure and go to Configure Links and assign the Airline as below. Close editor and save the transaction.

Image 15.png

Step 3: Add a tracer to read the response and execute the transaction

Result will give you the list of flights with airline LH-Lufthansa.

Image 16.png

Troubleshooting

The OLAP and JCo connection have a set of prerequisites without which the connection and fetching data can not be possible. These prerequisites are also a key to troubleshoot the issues being faced during establishing the connection from the beginning and creating the queries in MII Query Templates.

JCo Connection

Make sure that port number 3300 is opened between MII and BI server. Not doing so will give you an error when you add a JCo connection block.

Image 17.png

OLAP Connection

  1. Open port: The http port number is opened between MII and BI server. The XMLA web services will be made available only through the http port
  2. Activate XMLA: The XMLA web services need to be enabled to go ahead. To check whether they are active or not, login to http://<hostname>:<port>/sap/bw/xml/soap/xmla using the credentials.

MDX Query test

Before writing the OLAP queries in MII, the we can also test them in BI. The t-code MDXTEST helps us test the MDX queries in BI. An executable mdxsrv.exe for the MDX parser needs to be executed on the server in order to make it working. If not done, we get the following error on executing the queries “Error occurred when starting the parser: timeout during allocate / CPIC-CALL: ‘ThSAPCMRCV’”

Upcoming trends to combine MII and BI:

Over the years, SAP MII has released techniques for collating the best features of MII and BI together with every new version.

Image 18.png

In SAP MII 14.0, the following business objects tools are introduced for querying, reporting and analysis, and visualization:

SAP Business Objects Crystal Report : A tool to create easy, simple, and specialized reports, and visualize the data pictorially using colorful and sophisticated charts. The crystal report charts are comprehensive than MII grid applets. We can also filter or sort the records based on required parameters.  These reports can be integrated into MII, JSP, and IRPT pages. Optionally, we can host these reports on SAP Business Objects Crystal Reports Server.

SAP Business Objects Dashboards (formerly Xcelsius) : A tool to create customized and interactive using MII query templates. On creating dashboards, the XLF files are imported to MII and integrated to existing MII, JSP, and IRPT pages.

Contacts

Gita Chhatri is Consultant with Deloitte Consulting India Pvt. Ltd. and based in Mumbai office. She has 7 years of experience in SAP Implementation, Support, Enhancement and Upgrade projects in Web Dynpro Java, PI and SAP Manufacturing solution Technologies like MII, ME and PCo. Her SAP Functional experience includes knowledge in Business processes in areas of Production Planning for discrete and process industries and Materials Management. She is aligned to the C&IP industry. Gita can be reached at gchhatri@deloitte.com.

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1 Comment

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  1. Salvatore Castro

    Please also note that this approach also includes MDX statements against the BW InfoProviders but first test against the BW TCode: MDXTest.

    There is a discrepancy between the naming conventions used in the BW cube definition from the BW Query definition and MII uses the naming convention as defined by the BW Query interface.  For example
    BWTermsOutline.png

    How these terms relate on the MII and BW MDXTEST side is like this:

    BWScreensComparison.png

    Hope this helps,

    Sam

    PS: As for HANA there is a native JDBC connector to the database tables that MII can use and also there is support for MII to call any of the DSXI interfaces defined which uses HTTP(S) for the communication protocol.  JDBC performs well over short network spans and HTTP(S) performs better over larger network spans.

    (0) 

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