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The latest release of the on premise version of S/4 HANA is out and it brings with it some new goodies in the area of manufacturing.  The release highlights document can be found here but through a series of blogs, I would like to examine some of these in detail, balancing the new functionality with my views on their utility for a business user. Much of the new functionality will make its way to the end user via corresponding Fiori apps and this blog therefore will use the apps as a pivot to discuss the functionality.

A production planner is an important role when it comes to efficient manufacturing. Before S/4 HANA this role within the SAP application was restricted to primarily performing transactions. Analytical capability either required customized programs developed at additional cost or a Business Intelligence (BI) solution which not only added to the cost but also wasn’t capable of analyzing real time data. With the 1610 release, a whole slew of analytical apps (SAP Smart Business generic Drill Down Apps) promises to change this. Let me illustrate them in more detail.

Excess component consumption: This app allows comparison of planned or expected consumption of components with the actual confirmed consumption for production orders which should help in determining excess consumption. It provides the ability to pick up and analyse components in the order of maximum deviation from actual so searching by order or material isn’t required; the ones with deviation are brought to the attention of the planner. With filters and charts that provide visual aids, users can uncover insights that will help understand consumption and reduce risk of shortfall. Financial cost deviation information via bubble charts provide additional perspective.

Material scrap: Similar to the previous app, this allows comparison of expected vs actual scrap that was confirmed during production. With charts, the planner can grasp and isolate materials that are prone to scrap. The app also allows the implementation of a feedback loop to update material master with current values.

Operation scrap: The expected value of operation scrap is stored in the routing and the app allows the implementation of a feedback loop to update the routing with current values. Otherwise, it is similar to the material scrap app.

Production execution duration: The expected execution duration of a production order is derived from the standard values stored in the routing or master recipe. This app allows monitoring of any deviation from the standards.

Planned material consumption, scraps and standard duration are stored in SAP as master data. Often these are derived using various procedures at the time of implementation that are theoretical or based on tribal knowledge. But these values provide the basis of understanding whether the manufacturing processes are performing as expected. Therefore fine tuning or updating these values with the latest information is essential and these apps provide that ability. These values also form the basis of various KPI metrics, alerts for which can be created from these apps.

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