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Dear Retail community,

this blog is about new capabilities in SAP CAR around Omnichannel Article Availability, Dynamic Order Sourcing, and stock Reservation, simply called “Omnichannel Article Availability, OAA“.

This new innovation was first introduced with SAP CAR 2.0 Application Bundle 1.0 Feature Pack 3, and has recently been enhanced with SAP CAR 3.0 Applications Bundle 2.0.
This makes SAP CAR a key component of the SAP Retail Omnichannel Commerce reference architecture.

Why Cross-Channel Availability & Sourcing?

Consumers do not think in “sales channels”, but perceive the retailer as a “brand”. Hence they expect changing from webshop to mobile app to store is harmonized and consistent.
When Silos or separated channels become OMNIchannel, processes like stock availability check, sourcing, campaign management, promotion pricing … become OMNI as well. When sales channels – virtually – become one, IT processes have to support it.

Omnichannel Article Availability and Sourcing in Retail


This blog focusses on
the stock availability check and reservation across channels, as well as sourcing in an SAP Retail Omnichannel business.

Article Availability


Reliable and consistent availability information across sales channels is key for omnichannel retail businesses.


This causes a massive volume in terms of availability requests from the online channels, which must be matched with computationally expensive availability calculations in the backends.

Due to the multitude of channels and fulfillment ways, the available sourcing options are greatly increased, asking for more flexible and intelligent sourcing strategies that are not supported by conventionals ERP systems today.

The new Omnichannel Article Availability and Sourcing (OAA) solution is based on a new common cross-channel availability module in SAP CAR Feature Pack, that consists of different data sources for distribution centers (DC’s), stores and vendors:

  • Pre-calculated DC stock availability information as ATP stock with time series, determined via a periodical parallel ATP Run in ECC
  • Store inventory (out of CAR, continuously mapped with incoming POS documents)
  • Vendor Stock (as of CAR 3.0)

On various levels (e.g. product hierarchy, merchandise category, article), thresholds for a traffic light availability status can be defined in SAP CAR (using the SAP HANA rules framework) that can be used to populate a rough stock indicator.

REST services in SAP CAR allow real-time omnichannel availability requests from consuming sales channels, e.g. from a web shop, mobile app, clienteling solution of a store associate, etc.


For the sake of performance,
availability information per product (aggregated across all sources) incl. calculated rough stock indicators (RSI) are periodically replicated locally into SAP Hybris Commerce. This data is used within SAP Hybris Commerce to add stock availability and traffic lights to search results,  product lists and product details, where ultimate stock accuracy is not required.

Undisturbed by those requests, more relevant availability requests demanding a higher accuracy are processed in real-time by the SAP CAR based REST services, e.g. for product details, shopping cart items, or during checkout.


Sourcing Determination


During checkout, a sourcing determination can be performed within SAP CAR at runtime. This is only done for orders which are picked from a DC or fulfillment center.

In contract to DC orders, orders that are fulfilled by a store are “sourced” by the consumer because he has selected the store he wants to collect his order. The store is selected by the consumer in the web shop using the Hybris StoreLocator. So typically no sourcing determination and optimization is required for store orders (unless the orders are picked centrally in a DC and shipped to the desired store for the handover to the customer).

A Sales Channel, let’s use a Hybris Commerce webshop for country xy in this example, is assigned to a so-called OAA Profile in SAP CAR. An OAA Profile is a customizing Profile that holds all Information how to perform sourcing and stock reservation, = eligible sources, ATP Determination Profile, sourcing strategies and prio, Reservation handling.  

Sourcing Step 1: Determine eligible sources

to be continued. / March 30, 2017





A framework is provided to easily implement customer specific sourcing rules and needs.

Order Sourcing is a topic of continuous investments. Stay tuned here for updates.

Temporary Stock Reservation

During the order checkout, right after the sourcing has been completed, a temporary stock reservation is triggered within CAR, reducing the order stock from the inventory repository. This prevents overselling and secures the shopping cart items for the consumer in the checkout.


Once the order is transferred from SAP Hybris Commerce into IS Retail, it is also transferred via SLT into CAR. When the order is picked and fulfilled in SD, the order status changes, which reduces the DC stock for the given product accordingly. This is considered in the next ATP run, which triggers a reset of the reservations in CAR.


Value Proposition

  • True Omnichannel Availability Check across DC’s, stores and vendors
  • Designed for high volume B2C businesses
  • Quasi real time, as precise as possible
  • Complete stock information and determination consolidated in SAP CAR
  • DC’s ATP stock + complete time series cached in SAP CAR and SAP Hybris Commerce,incl. delta mechanism
  • Aggregated “Traffic Lights” for search results and product lists in webshop incl. delta update
  • Temporary Product Reservation in webshop checkout
  • Dynamic Delivery Sourcing – flexible, highly adaptable, with prioritized strategies
  • Pre-Implemented in SAP Hybris Commerce with SAP Hybris Commerce, integration package for SAP for Retail

System Requirements

The Omnichannel Article Availability and Sourcing stretches across the software components SAP ERP Retail, SAP CAR, SAP Hybris Commerce and the SAP Hybris Commerce, integration package for SAP for Retail. Therefore multiple different software component releases play together. Here the release requirements of the various components:

Features and release requirements

with SAP CAR 2.0 AB 1.0 FP3 and SAP Hybris Commerce 6.0 

  • SAP CAR 2.0 – Retail Applications Bundle 1.0, Feature Pack 3 or higher
    • Omnichannel Availability Repository for DC and store stock
    • Dynamic Sourcing Framework
    • Temporary Reservation
  • SAP Hybris Commerce (6.0), integration package for SAP for Retail 2.0 or higher
    • Availability requests into SAP CAR
    • Dynamic Sourcing requests into SAP CAR
    • Temporary Reservation requests into SAP CAR
  • SAP ERP / IS Retail with EhP7 SP11 or EhP8 SP01 or higher
    • Parallel ATP run for DC stocked products
  • SAP ERP / IS Retail with EhP7 SP12 or EhP8 SP02 or higher
    • “Delta” ATP run for those articles with stock relevant changes since last ATP run

with SAP CAR 3.0 AB 2.0 and SAP Hybris Commerce 6.2

  • SAP CAR 3.0 – Retail Applications Bundle 2.0 or higher
    • Integration of vendors as sources
    • Automatic deletion of outdated temporary reservations
    • Bypass temporary reservations step
    • Dynamic Rough Stock Indicator based on HANA-based Rule framework (sample coding)
    • Enhancements on temporary reservation API
  • SAP Hybris Commerce (6.2), integration package for SAP for Retail 2.2 or higher
    • Support for offline scenario in SAP Hybris Commerce / when SAP CAR is not responding (in time)
  • SAP ERP / IS Retail with EhP7 SP13 or EhP8 SP03 or higher
    • Integration of article availability from vendors
    • Direct shipment integration

OSS Components

  • CEC-COM-BSC-OAA for SAP Hybris Commerce parts
  • CA-RT-CAR-OAA for SAP CAR parts

More information about Omnichannel Article Availability is found in the SAP CAR section of the Retail Omnichannel Customer Wiki.

Please follow this blog to be informed of updates of this blog.

Enjoy,

Ingo

Dr. Ingo Woesner
Global Director, Outbound Product Management Retail Omni-Channel
SAP SE
ingo.woesner@sap.com
www.sap.com

Follow me on SAP Community Network and LinkedIn

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