Download Chapter 3: 'Demand Planning with SAP APO-DP' Excerpted from the book 'Sales and Inventory Planning with...
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3.1 Overview of the Administration of Demand Planning
The Demand Planning (DP) component of SAP Advanced Planner and Optimizer (SAP APO) is a complex, high-performance, and flexible instrument that supports the sales/requirements planning process in your company. User-specific planning layouts and interactive planning books allow not only the inclusion of various departments, but also of other companies, in the forecast creation process.
The configuration of demand planning is an important factor for a successful implementation of the system. This is performed, as it is also done for the Supply Network Planning component (see Chapter 5, Inventory Planning with SAP APO-SNP—Basic Principles), with the Supply and Demand Planning (S&DP) Administration Workbench.
The entire administration of the demand planning component and the components required for configuring the planning area are summarized in Figure 3.1.
First, we will give you a brief overview of the terms detailed in the figure and their relationships; then, they will be described in greater detail in the following sections.
- Before you can begin the planning process, you must decide what key figures you want to use for demand planning. Key figures contain data that is shown as a numeric value—either a quantity or a monetary value. Examples of key figures that are used in demand planning are planned demand and historical sales. You can save key figures both in an InfoCube and in the liveCache. You usually save key figures with historical data, that is, actual key figures, in the InfoCube. You save planning key figures in the liveCache. You also save those planning key figures that are to be firmed (i.e., fixed) in the InfoCube.
- You must then decide what characteristics you want to use as planning levels and for selection. A characteristic is a planning object such as a product, location, brand, or region. The master data of the demand planning or the supply network planning comprise the allowed values of the characteristics, known as the characteristic values. Characteristic values are actual names. For example, the characteristic "Location" can have the values Hamburg, London, and New York. As part of the administration for Demand Planning (DP) and the Supply Network Planning (short description: S&DP Administration), you create a basic planning object structure for the characteristics that you want to use. A basic planning object structure contains all plannable characteristics for one or more planning areas. It is the structure on which all other planning object structures are based. The characteristics can be standard characteristics or those that you have created in the Administrator Workbench.
- Once you have determined the key figures and characteristics, you must store additional information in the planning area. This includes, for example, the storage buckets profile, in which you determine the periods in which data is saved for a given planning area in the Demand Planning or in the Supply Network Planning; or the planning versions, in which different datasets can be saved for simulation purposes. Furthermore, you must ensure that the base unit of measure and the basic currency are assigned for the planning area.
- You have defined the planning area when this information is assigned to the planning area.
- You can then create individual user or department planning books. Planning books determine the content and layout of the interactive planning screen. You can use them to design the planning screen so that it corresponds to your planning requirements. A planning folder is based on a planning area.
- Finally, you create the master data for Demand Planning (this cannot be seen in Figure 3.1). The master data of the Demand Planning determines the levels on which demand plans in your company are created, changed, aggregated, and disaggregated. For instance, your master data can comprise all products, product families, regions, and customers that are to be planned in your company with the APO Demand Planning, as well as all corresponding combinations of these (e.g., which customers buy what products in which regions). Once you have created the master data, the implementation of the Demand Planning can begin.
In the next section, we will describe in detail the configuration of the planning area with the Administrator Workbench.
3.2 Configuring the Administrator Workbench
The planning area and the corresponding key figures and characteristics are configured in the Administrator Workbench. In the following section, we will provide you with an overview of this tool. You will get to know the Info- Cube, the key element for Demand Planning, and you will learn how to save the required key figures and characteristics in the InfoCubes.
The Administrator Workbench is the tool for controlling, monitoring, and maintaining all processes linked to data procurement and processing in the SAP Business Information Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BI, in former Releases SAP BW); it is contained in SAP SCM 5.0. The InfoCubes are also created here (see Section 3.2.3). When you call the Administrator Workbench using the menu path SAP APO Demand Planning Environment Administrator Workbench, a navigation menu appears to the left of the screen (see Figure 3.2).
With the buttons in the left navigation area, you can open the individual areas of the Administrator Workbench. The system will display the views and functions that are available in this area. By clicking on these views and functions, you can call them up in the right screen area.
The Administrator Workbench is used in SAP APO to create the data objects required for the Demand Planning, to enable data to be loaded from different data sources, and to monitor the data loading operations and the data updates. In this way, data extracted for the Demand Planning from different data sources (SAP ERP systems and SAP-external sources) can be imported into the SAP NetWeaver BI of the SAP APO system, which is then permanently stored in the data store. The Demand Planning can then access this data at any time.
By using the Business Content delivered by SAP, you can dispense with the bulk of the configuration work inherent in a business intelligence (BI) system, and therefore also for SAP NetWeaver BI in the SAP APO system. The Administrator Workbench is used to activate the Business Content delivered by SAP.
If it becomes necessary to create new SAP NetWeaver BI objects for specific requirements, this task can be easily executed with the functions of the Administrator Workbench. This may become necessary if special historical data from non-SAP systems is to be used for the Demand Planning. The integrated SAP NetWeaver BI component in SAP APO represents an important technical basis for integrating the most varied data sources into SAP APO in a very flexible way.
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