Ever since S/4 HANA was announced there was mention about Simple Finance and Simple Logistics. After Simple Finance release by SAP there is fair amount of documentation around key data model simplification and thereby leading to performance optimisation, but hardly any details on Simple Logistics is available in public domain. At the same time from business standpoint Finance and Logistics go hand in hand and surely consultants / partners / customers are waiting to understand how Logistics will be “Simplified”. Drawing parallel from Simple Finance the expectation was to have key data model simplification and some key functional improvements in Logistics area. To compound the problem Logistics in core ERP is quite a broad functional area covering MM, PP, SD modules and lot of sub modules. In reality there is lot of expectation with the mention of “Simple Logistics”.
In continuation of learning and riding ahead in S/4 HANA journey, I have been exploring on Simple Logistics for past couple of months. Even though my background is in Supply Chain Planning (APO in particular) in recent times there has been some concern on what will happen to SAP APO and how it fits in future S/4 HANA journey. This blog is a summary of my understanding on Simple Logistics and expectation from it based on public domain information available so far. The exploration and research is based primarily on recent openSAP MOOC on S/4 HANA Deep Dive, SAP product roadmaps recently updated / added in Service Market Place and digging into Simple Finance related documentation to understand fundamentally how the “simplification” is being architected. For sake of simplicity my focus is on S/4 HANA On Premise although I understand that same codeline is being used for Public Cloud and Managed Cloud offering.
So what is expected from Simple Logistics On Premise version that is expected to be available before end of this year (Q4 2015). Before going into that take a look at Stock Champion Demo from HAsso’s keynote at SAPPHIRE 2015 and from Simple Finance, Simple Logistics Demo from TechEd Bangalore 2015 Keynote. Further look into the current openSAP course on S/4 HANA Deep Dive where in Week 3 Unit 2 Priti Prabhoo gives a glimpse of Simple Logistics Order Fulfillment use case.She highlights the transition of SAP ERP from a “System of Record” to an engaged “Decision Support System” in S/4 HANA.
What started as Business Suite Optimisation with ECC 6 Ehp 7 – Suite on HANA (SoH) gets extended significantly with “simplification” of Logistics data model. This is in line with new BSEG table named ACDOCA in Simple Finance replacing whole set of Finance and Controlling related aggregate and index tables. With the new MSEG / MKPF table MMDOCA or MATDOC (?) in Simple Logistics, whole slew of MM & IM related tables (like MSTB, MSKU, MSSQ, MCHB, MSTE to name a few – refer to Unit 4 of S/4 HANA in Nutshell openSAP course) will become redundant. Of course SAP will continue providing exact same views as the ABAP tables in Application layer so that existing standard and custom reports can continue to operate non-disruptively.
The primary benefit of this data model simplification would be the classic MRP run transforming it to real-time MRP. The tryst of MRP through HANA enabled optimisation LOG_PPH_MDPSX_READ was first in ECC 6 EhP 6 special version for HANA and ECC 6 EhP 7. Now with S/4 HANA the underlying data model “simplification” will usher in not optimisation but transformation of MRP. This is in fact mentioned as key business process scenarios undergoing significant change in S/4 HANA apart from Advanced Available to Promise and High-volume Inventory BackFlush as outlined in Week 4 Unit 4 of S/4 HANA Deep Dive OpenSAP course. Sadly there was no demo or more details provided in the course or anywhere in public domain. The advanced Available to Promise capability seems to be extension of APO GATP capability in S/4 HANA. One reason why this porting from APO to S/4 HANA i.e. ERP is because fundamentally all the interacting transaction data (Sales Orders, Deliveries and receipt elements) exist in ERP and was being brought over to APO via standard interface CIF in order to process data fast enough using the in-memory object-oriented relational database component of APO – liveCache. The key master data and associated configurations used in APO can very well be modeled in ERP and the power of In Memory and Parallel Processing capability of HANA can easily bridge the gap of ATP TimeSeries in liveCache technology in SAP APO. In fact considering APO PPDS and GATP functionality to be moved in S/4 HANA, I shall not be surprised if underlying order table is also merged to a single one similar to that in APO. The single order table with an equivalent ATP Category or MRP Element identifier can differentiate between various types of receipt and requirement order elements including stock (if required). Having a single order table will enable even superior READ-WRITE capability for Planning (MRP, MPS, DRP) functionality in S/4 HANA.
It would be worthwhile to review the S/4 HANA Roadmap (Q2 2015 release) available in Service Market Place under Product Roadmap – Cross Topics. Meanwhile those focused on SAP’s Supply Chain Management application can refer this future simplified supply chain application embedded in S/4 HANA provided in Week 1 Unit 4 of the openSAP Course. Clearly the breakup of SAP APO PPDS and GATP capabilities and porting them into S/4 HANA is seen outlined along with better integration of Supply Chain Execution components like EWM, TM. You may also find SAP IBP components like Sales & Operations Planning, Demand and Supply mapped in here fitting in where APO Demand and Supply Network Planning would come in.
Source: Unit 4 S/4 HANA in a Nutshell openSAP course
It is simply matter of time when what’s exactly in Simple Logistics would be clear when it gets formally released but meanwhile we can hope all these expectations are fulfilled either in short term or near future. Only then can S/4 HANA realise the end game of true single integrated Business Process Platform having multitude of capabilities across business functions of Supply Chain Planning & Logistics, Order Management & Fulfillment, Procurement, Finance.
*** Follow-on Blog published in APO space ***