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Today, at the International SAP Conference on Extended Supply Chain I listened to a great presentation by Raffaele Gianola, GIS Director, Manufacturing and Supply Chain at Whirlpool EMEA, who presented on the companies demand management and S&OP processes and solutions.

Why Integrated Business Planning?

Raffaele explained that 5 factors led to Whirlpool embarking on their IBP journey:

  • Acquisition of the Indesit company put Whirlpool in a position were they had to identify a go forward solution
  • Upgrade of existing systems were long overdue
  • Poor adoption of existing processes & systems by end users
  • Exciting Roadmap for IBP from SAP
  • Wanted to “innovate to simplify” current processes and solutions

Implementing IBP Processes

Whirlpool started with a phased approach with the mentality of “aiming high, but starting small”.

Phase 1 focused on the demand management process in 5 countries. This involved:

  • Cleansing of demand data to establish good basis for forecasting
  • Statistical forecasting to enable unbiased input
  • Measure and identify new KPI’s to improve accuracy, bias and stability
  • Foundation of basic services across all phases
  • Baseline of requirements and content by gathering demand planner inputs
  • Connectivity through Hana Cloud enabled interfaces
  • Enrichment through collaboration and augmentation


There was initially a 4 weeks design step which included a design workshop, master data modelling, detailed design and mock ups and a data flow design. This was followed by a 12 week “realization” phase to configure the system, design templates, interfaces and testing of the system. Raffaelle pointed out that  this phase also included training of users on both the tool, “which was minimal” and change management “which took most of the time”. The pilot and go live took a further 3 weeks.


The Roll Out

The company is currently going through an aggressive roll out of 32 further countries in 11 months, based on the templates agreed and tested in the initial pilot countries. They are currently live in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, UK and Germany. The rest of the countries will be rolled out by the end of 2015.

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Key Takaways

In conclusion Raffaelle left the audience with several takeaways.

  • “IBP is ready for business. Whirlpool has done it, you can too”!
  • “Be ambitious, but it‘d be wise to start small”
  • “A new implementation is an opportunity to simplify processes “
  • “Prototype, prototype, prototype”
  • “The excel based UI of SAP Integrated Business Planning is a great opportunity for smart visualizations to aid planning tasks”
  • Don’t underestimate work required for creation of high quality templates for planning views”

Thanks to Raffaele for a great presentation.

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