With the new technology landscape and future world of digital supply chain, SAP® has revamped its ECC ATP (Available-to-Promise) and Global ATP – (GATP) solutions to align with the needs of the digital world. The changes are not limited to getting the latest and greatest ATP results in SAP Fiori® apps and mobile tools. Rather, they are a complete approach redesign to handle basic ATP problems such as order prioritization in constrained supply scenarios, or seamless allocation management for efficient fair sharing.
ATP problems are typically complex and redesigning the solution is painstaking, especially since SAP has overcome challenges faced by ECC ATP or Global ATP solutions. Those familiar with Global ATP will understand the solution’s limitations in the initial version of SAP Advance Planning and Optimization (APO), and how it has gradually become a powerful engine that potentially solves most ATP-related business problems. But even Global ATP had inherent drawbacks that only a complete redesign could correct. With the new design of Advance ATP in place in SAP S/4HANA, SAP is doing exactly that.
In the subsequent section, we will examine the Advance ATP solution in their current form, how it compares to the existing Global ATP solution, and what future releases promise to offer.
Global ATP solution was delivered as part of SAP APO using live cache technology for superfast computing. SAP APO also offered end-to-end supply chain planning functionality such as demand planning, supply network planning, and production planning and detailed scheduling, and was frequently used in conjunction with Global ATP. SAP APO provided some capabilities in truckload building and vehicle scheduling, but these were rarely implemented as standalones.
Key Functional Innovations in Advance ATP (AATP)
- Independence from Core Interface (CIF)
ATP solutions use planning run outputs to provide confirmations to demand elements such as customer orders and/or deliveries. SAP APO’s advantage is that most planning activities are performed in the same box where ATP check and backorder processes run.
An important question: Is ATP a planning or execution function? Asked differently: Does the planning organization or customer service organization control ATP? There is no right answer, but we know ATP is tightly integrated with order management and supply chain planning. Global ATP’s big advantage as part of the planning system is how it efficiently uses planning results for ATP calculations. That said, updating sales orders, stock transport orders, or deliveries means CIF is also required to update results in SAP ECC – a big Global ATP disadvantage that has been a significant client pain point. With ATP being part of SAP S/4HANA, SAP has solved two key problems: No dependence on CIF to calculate the ATP result nor update it in SAP S/4HANA documents, and customer service no longer depends on the availability of two systems to carry out day-to-day tasks.
- Integration with Supply Chain Planning
The SAP APO planning solution is being gradually replaced by the new capability of SAP Integrated Business Planning (IBP) and its unified planning area to carry out demand planning, sales and operations planning, and supply and response planning. SAP IBP supports time series- and order-based planning, but with a more streamlined master data and frontend MS Excel GUI, much unlike SAP APO.
Planning results from SAP IBP can be integrated SAP S/4HANA using Smart Data Integration (SDI) or SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI). This integration can be set to near real-time. Usually, planning result integration with the execution systems (SAP S/4HANA in this case) need not be real-time – but ATP check results must be. With this new design, SAP has developed advance ATP as part of SAP S/4HANA, eliminating the lag and complexity of integration using CIF. Transactional data and changes are immediate as are results, thereby minimizing failure points and missed updates.
- Rationalized Order Fulfillment
An important Advance ATP functionality is to manage and protect order confirmation for individual orders on a case-by-case basis, and to identify a shortage upfront. Authorized users can create deliveries for confirmed orders from the same screen without running manual transactions or waiting for scheduled background jobs to complete the task.
With Advance ATP apps such as Release for Delivery and Configure Order Fulfillment Responsibilities, SAP has solved the gap in Global ATP solution where most clients opted for customization to protect order confirmation or manage controlled delivery creation processes.
Comparison of Advance ATP and Global ATP (SAP S/4HANA 1809 and SAP SCM 7.0)
Evaluating key functionalities of Global ATP and comparing them to the current version of Advance ATP (1809), it is important to remember several Advance ATP functionalities are on SAP’s roadmap and yet to be developed. As a workaround, SAP made it possible to have ECC ATP, Global ATP and Advance ATP activated within same SAP S/4HANA environment.
- Backorder Processing (BOP) – Executed in Global ATP in several different ways: redistribution BOP, net change BOP, event-driven quantity assignment (EDQA), and reassignment of order confirmation (ROC), and each is based on set filter criteria and sort profile for prioritization. In Advance ATP, the BOP model has been completely redesigned, and is based on SAP HANA Rules Framework (HRF) to prioritize sets of orders differently, and within the same BOP run. With confirmation strategy definitions – win, gain, redistribute, fill, lose – users have more control to assign confirmed order quantities, and can choose several criteria to create BOP segments (equivalent to the filter) and select specific orders to undergo the BOP run.
- Allocation management – Advance ATP allocation design is completely rebuilt keeping user experience in mind. Using dedicated apps in SAP Fiori, allocation activation and quantity assignments can be done easily without navigating different screens, unlike the Global ATP allocation solution. Allocations can be managed at several levels giving additional control to the user. Apps provide an enhanced user experience and streamlined allocation reporting. Plus, users can assign allocation quantities based on customer’s requested delivery date – a feature not available in Global ATP.
With SAP IBP, allocation quantities for constrained products can be easily determined from standard key figures. Time series-based supply planning is a good example. For example, “Customer Receipts” key figure in SAP IBP can provide the allocation quantities to be maintained based on supply planning rules. In addition, SAP S/4 HANA and SAP IBP provide built-in reporting and analytics capabilities to better interpret planning results. In SAP APO planning, customers were not included in the supply planning model, so calculation of customer-based allocation was difficult and rarely implemented. SAP IBP’s time series- and order-based planning solutions provide customer level allocation quantities. For example, in order-based planning, constraint forecasts generate allocation quantities based on demand prioritization, and the pegging relationship between supply and demand. Subsequently, an order confirmation run in response planning can apply allocation constraints to the forecast and ultimately to the sales orders in SAP S/4HANA system. However, it is debatable whether response planners should manage confirmations on sales order, or if customer service planners should be authorized to run constraint forecasts and order confirmations in SAP IBP Response. There are two areas of possible improvement in allocation design.
- Currently, it is not possible to automatically integrate SAP IBP allocation quantities with SAP S/4HANA Advance ATP.
- Advance ATP allocation structure is not based on field catalog as it is in Global ATP, which limits customization to add new fields for managing allocations.
- Rule-based ATP – Commonly known as RBA in Global ATP, offered multiple functionalities such as
- Product, Location and Characteristic Substitution
- Location Consolidation
- Multi-Item Single Delivery Location (MISL)
- Calculation Profile
Currently, Advance ATP is far behind RBA capabilities, however SAP is gradually building each from scratch, albeit with few newer capabilities. Advance ATP may not bundle all RBA functionalities as it is in Global ATP but will be developed (and remain) independent of one another, keeping RBA’s limitations in mind (namely, sub-item creation in case of substitution).
What Advance ATP does offer is alternative-based confirmation, which is equivalent to Global ATP’s location substitution functionality. Product substitution functionality will be delivered in future releases.
- Order scheduling – Global ATP offers sophisticated scheduling methods including condition records-based order scheduling and configurable Process Scheduling (CPS). These included considering scheduling durations as well as calendars for different activities such as pick, pack, load, transit etc. In the current version, Advance ATP scheduling is like traditional ECC – ATP scheduling without ability to maintain explicit scheduling condition records or calendars.
- Multi-level ATP check (MATP): Global ATP offered capability to perform ATP checks across different levels of bill of material to identify the intermediate-level ATP issues. This functionality does not exist in Advance ATP. SAP IBP Response can propose confirmations based on constraint from across different levels of bill of material as well as resources and is likely to remain as an ongoing solution to manage confirmations based on production resource/raw material constraints. SAP IBP Response may very well be the ultimate solution for product- and capacity-related checks on sales orders, as is the case in MATP or Capable to Promise (CTP).
Shishir Kumar Dwivedi, CSCP, is an SAP SCM Manager at Deloitte Consulting LLP with more than 13 years of supply chain and enterprise consulting experience. He specializes in consulting and service offerings in SAP SCM, SAP IBP and order fulfillment space. You may contact Shishir via email at firstname.lastname@example.org