A little less than a year ago we were preparing the launch the first version of Integrated Business Planning for Automotive Suppliers at Sapphire 2014: (http://scn.sap.com/community/automotive/blog/2014/04/28/integrated-business-planning-finally-a-reality-for-automotive-suppliers)

We were gratified with the interest at both the Automotive Pod, and in several general sessions.  Interestingly, though the sessions were titled for Automotive Suppliers, attendees came from a broad range of industries and interests and the discussions tended more towards adapting the tool for a variety of industries.

I’ve found this an interesting thread, and in the time since have built upon the initial work product in several directions:

    • Completing a “Version 2” of the Automotive Supplier Model, which will be showcased at Sapphire this year,

    • Adapted the sell side of the process to embrace product sales through a dealer network, and

    • Developed a similar industry variant for Engineer to Order

In the process I’ve learned that while Key Figures in the IBP model will vary significantly from company to company regardless of industry, it is the set and structure of planning levels in the model that correspond to industry characteristics, particularly related to demand modeling.

For those new to the IBP modeling process, Planning Levels correspond to levels of detail at which numeric values for a key figure are defined, calculated and aggregated.  An individual data value can be no more granular than the lowest planning level at which it is defined.

Planning levels are defined as a combination of attribute values and time periods, where the attributes are established as master data in the model.  For example, in a simple case the planning level PERPRODCUST would mean data values tracked at the Period – Product – Customer level, with reporting and aggregation available via other attributes associated with either the Product or Customer…

OK, this is a blog post, not a tutorial.  If you want more detail on this, come see me at Sapphire. 

For our purposes here, though, the most important differentiator across industries is how this lowest level of detail for demand needs to be expanded to accommodate the differences across industries.

For example, in the Automotive Supplier case, demand for a product is not just Product and Customer, it may also need to be associated to a Model Year, a Customer Plant, a Customer Vehicle Model, or a Customer Program.  Product/Customer becomes an aggregated level, not the base.

Similarly, in an Engineer to Order context, association of demand to a specific Project rather than just a customer or product is critical, among other issues.

Fortunately, these kinds of differences are easily accommodated in the IBP model, providing a unique flexibility in understanding not only the kinds of data (Key Figures) that need to be included, but also the structure of the enterprise.

The current version of the Automotive Supplier model provides a great example of how this structure enables creation of a tool that supports industry specific business processes, and gives us a framework to discuss how the specific requirements of a supplier are supported.  I’m guessing that – like last year – it will also provide a platform for discussion of how to do the same for other industries…

Join us at Sapphire to see these exciting enhancements to Integrated Business Planning, Session ID 20744, May 5 at 1:00 PM and May 6 at 11:00 AM in the Discrete Industries Campus.  See you at Sapphire!

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