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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.

Supply_Chain_S4HANA.PNG

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 ***

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43 Comments

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  1. Monika Patel

    Thanks for sharing the details.  Yes the understanding remains aligned. It would be interesting to see which innovations & simplification (apart from MRP-Cockpit & Sales Order Fulfillment) is packaged with which release.

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  2. Monika Patel

    sLOG-1.PNG

    Any views on Capacity Planning, Material Valuation ? & Procurement (other than Simplified Supplier Management & Spend Management)

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      I think for Capacity Planning the APO PPDS capability will be ported in as clearly that was a gap in core ERP. That’s why it is in S/4 HANA Roadmap to start with – when it would come I have no clue but you never know it along with basic APO GATP functionality can well be part of first version of Simple Logistics (On-Premise).

      I would not comment on Material Valuation but in temrs of fundamental data model a new IM table like MATDOC coupled with ACDOCA in Simple Finance would be the basis for functionality transformation.

      Procurement is a touchy subject considering SAP’s focus on cloud through ARIBA. My assumption is core MM-Procurement functions will get tighter integration with ARIBA and at same time some key SRM/CLM capabilities may come into S/4 HANA similar to what is planned for SAP SCM-APO.

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      1. Babu Kilari

        Advanced ATP module is still being developed. So, those customers who want complete ATP functionalities as they’re using today should wait for sometime. There are interesting topics as I heard.

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  3. Kaushik Choudhury

    Thanks Somnath for putting the gist of all the information available at this moment. 

     

    I think  APO may phase out slowly with functionalities porting to S/4 HANA and Integrated Business Planning.  What do you think ?


    Regards

    Kaushik

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      1. Kaushik Choudhury

        Thanks Somnath, I will read through your blog on this topic .


        When you say it is not going to phase out anytime soon  – Considering the current state will you recommend customer to invest in green field APO implementation or rolling out their APO template globally ?


        Cheers

        Kaushik

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        1. Somnath Manna Post author

          Hi Kaushik,

          There are at least 2 net new clients (I am working / recently worked with) who are going for SAP APO implementations. For an Enterprise Planning Application 10 years of general maintenance support is pretty good as normal practice is to have at least couple of application upgrades within that time period.

          Also many of the key APO functional capabilities are not present in SAP IBP yet including some technical features (like Order-based Plan in SNP rather than Time-series based Plan). So there is no one recommendation for customer – it will depend on multiple factors including which planning modules and exact business needs.

          For Tactical and Global level planning S&OP component of IBP definitely makes sense even if client opts for Operational and Local Planning in SAP APO (SNP / PPDS) or ECC.

          However if the client is going for new SAP ERP implementation then it makes sense to invest in S/4HANA as new capabilities (like Simple Logistics and in future IBP capabilities) can be added only when you are on HANA Platform.

          Regards,

          Somnath

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  4. Tarandeep Singh

    Hello Experts,

     

    Can anyone explain me, What is SAP Simple Logistics ?

     

    What will you guys suggest me to do next, as I am SAP ABAP certified ?

     

    Thanks & Regards,

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      Hi Tarandeep,

      In short Simple Logistics is new generation Logistics module capabilites to be introduced in S/4 HANA system. It will primarily cover MM, PP bit of SD modules of ECC but available only in S/4 HANA system (not in SAP ERP system on anyDB).

      Suggest you take the openSAP course S/4 HANA Deep Dive mentioned in the blog to get a better overview.

      Regards,

      Somnath

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    2. Somnath Manna Post author

      Hi Tarandeep,

      In short Simple Logistics is new generation Logistics module capabilites to be introduced in S/4 HANA system. It will primarily cover MM, PP bit of SD modules of ECC but available only in S/4 HANA system (not in SAP ERP system on anyDB).

      Suggest you take the openSAP course S/4 HANA Deep Dive mentioned in the blog to get a better overview.

      Regards,

      Somnath

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  5. Braj Shrivastava

    Hi…my question might seem a little too direct but with S4 Hana simple logistics yet to be released,  when can do we expect to see S4 Hana simple logistics jobs being available in the market.

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      Same story as Simple Finance – who do you think are the sFin consultants, core FI-CO consultants only.

      However in case of Simple Logistics (depending on what all SAP finally releases in the product) core PP, MM, SD consultants need to extend their knowledge same way APO (especially PPDS and GATP) consultants can think of taking up s-Log opportunities.

      Some key pointers on building capability for S/4 HANA:

      1. Understanding of HANA as platform and its basic capabilities

      2. Understanding of fundamental change in data model (why SAP is going for unified table say MATDOCA assuming similar to s-Fin ACDOCA)

      3. Understanding of Planning capabilities – assuming APO PPDS and GATP like functionalities will be introduced into S/4 HANA

      4. End to end business process interaction from Planning, Execution / Logistics to Financials.

      5. Finally appreciation of UI (Fiori) and Integrated Analytics / Predictive capabilities

      But then time will tell about the skillset required / expected.

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  6. Parth Soneji

    Hi Somnath

     

    With S/4 HANA On-premise edition 1511 released now, I see none of the APO GATP or PPDS functionalities in the simplification list / feature & scope document. I guess these are postponed in the next release. Or am I missing something?

     

    Best Regards

    Parth Soneji

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    1. Monika Patel

      Yes, the “much awaited APO GATP and PPDS functionalities are not in simplification list.

       

      The ATP functionality in 1511 covers only an “Technical HANA Optimization” – using VBBE (instead of VBBS that stored the aggregates)

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    2. Somnath Manna Post author

      Finally I managed to review Simplification List in detail – its not an easy read (close to 50% of 260 odd pages are Logistics & associated Master Data related) and come to the conclusion what has been released is small part of what was mentioned as expectation in this blog. But that is all right as the expectation was almost kind of end state and this 1511 version is just the first step towards simplification of Logistics / Supply Chain.

      Only Heuristic like PPDS capability is present in guise of Simplified Sourcing but clearly Scheduling capability is not there. As for GATP no I don’t see it mentioned even under Advanced ATP that is limited to checking VBBE table instead of VBBS. But data model change – MATDOC and thereby mandatory Material Valuation through Material Ledger is a reality.

      MRP Live seems to be extension of MRP Optimisation that started with Suite on HANA.

      On the other hand there are so many watchout items in 1511 that do not stand out in Functional Overview and other 1511 On Prem presentation materials.

      Hopeful that more expected functionalities will get introduced in first SP of S4CORE100 planned for end Q1 2016 or early March 2016. The same timeline is planned for EhP 8 release as well as next version of SAP IBP with single integrated planning model. Clearly waiting 1 year for next major release of S/4HANA will not meet our “expectations”

      Well technically it would be next year when we see the next round of innovation hopefully elapsed time is just about a quarter.

      HAPPY NEW YEAR WISHES if you are reading this reply / blog.

      Cheers!

      Somnath

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  7. Vamsi Pulivarthi

    Hi Somnath,

     

    Thanks for the Information, I am sure you will not remember me, But you have placed me initially in 2010 in BP project in IBM along with Deepanjan G and glad I am now working for big clients in USA…

     

    I have some doubts on SAP IBP

    1) Did IBP uses same Heu & Opt logic’s as SNP or SAP has rewritten the logic’s

    2)Once safety stock is calculated in IBP Inventory management will it be released to SNP in IBP

    3) How can we study the logs in IBP seems there is no such arrangements as APO SNP did.

     

    I have gone through some videos but didn’t get full knowledge in SAP IBP, Did you aware that when will SAP releases Training & Certification on IBP & S/4 HANA?

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      Vamsi,

      This discussion thread is better done in SCM-IBP space. You should review that space of SCN to learn more about IBP.

      1) IBP – Supply component has equivalent of SNP Product-Location Heuristics and Optimiser, but its not coded in regular ABAP (to the best of my knowledge). IBP system is separate from SAP SCM/APO and also runs on HANA. Till sometime it had no ABAP component but there is ABAP layer from Version 5.x onwards; you may read this blog.

      2) Technically you can bring IBP Inventory calculated Safety Stock to APO SNP through HCI, but ideal approach is to use it in IBP – Supply or IBP – S&OP.

      3) Search in IBP Forum there is background information on how to review logs. Most of the Planning Operator runs produce logs that are opened in Excel itself.

       

      No comments about Certification – please check SAP Education website. But SOP100, 200, IBP300, 400 and 500 are available in Learning Hub and also provided sometimes (especially in USA) as classroom / remote.

      Somnath

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      SAP is no longer using term Simple Logistics. Instead its S/4HANA Material Management & Operations which was part of S/4HANA On Premise 1511 version out since Nov 2015.

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  8. Parth Shah

    Hi Somnath,

     

    Great in depth article !

     

    What do you recommend for seasoned SAP SD/OTC consultants with introduction of S4 Hana – sLOG which is now known as SAP S/4HANA Enterprise Management?

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      There is no direct clean-cut recommendation. Don’t think there is any advertised job role as S/4HANA Consultant nor have I seen any SAP Certification around it yet.

      As any experienced SAP ERP (any module) consultant this is what I would focus on

      a) Understand the fundamental shifts happening with S/4 HANA

      b) Review Simplficiation List and make your own assessment on what is new / different in S/4HANA compared to classic ECC 6 EhP 0-7 (and recently released 8)

      c) Rethink from module level to Processes (like SD / LE to O2C)

      d) Understand how business processes can be re-imagined due to i) data model changes ii) fast processing at HANA DB level and most importantly

      e) Keep doing openSAP courses for S/4 HANA (there is one starting in a week) and Fiori

      Of course keep checking content in this S4HANA space in SCN 🙂

      Hope this helps …

      Somnath

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  9. Shubham Srivastava

    First & Foremost  –  A very useful document Somnath..Cheers!!!

     

    Can you suggest which S/4 HANA functionalities can be leveraged by customers who are currently not using SAP APO.

     

    Regards

    Shubham

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      S/4 HANA is not APO replacement, even if PPDS capability is planned to be introduced later this year. However Simplified Sourcing principle of Purchase Requisition Source of Supply determination and concept of MRP Live is very similar to Interactive Planning in PPDS.

      You like to review this blog in APO space which is in line with your query.

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  10. Devraj Bardhan

    The customer will need to pay SAP an additional licence fee to use embedded PPDS functions in S/4. There is no free lunch.  The only difference is the customer does not need to run PPDS on a APO server so that will reduce the TCO to a certain extent.

    Currently there is no PPDS functions in S/4. We expect some features to be enabled in Q4 2016 and rest to come in Q4 2017.

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    1. Somnath Manna Post author

      Hi Sudhakar,

      As mentioned earlier in one comment, SAP is NOT using the term Simple Logistics. S/4HANA 1511 version is Enterprise Management that includes “Simple Logistics” capabilities along with “Simple Finance”.

      For more details and relevant SAP documentation you may visit

      help.sap.com/s4hana_op_1511 and review at least Feature Scope Description, Simplification List, Product Assistance (erstwhile SAP Help documentation) and SAP Fiori Apps Reference Library.

      Hope this helps.

      Somnath

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