In the ever-evolving world of technology, change is the only constant. For businesses relying on SAP Advanced Planning & Optimization (SAP APO) as a crucial element of their supply chain and production planning, SAP’s announcement of its discontinuation has thrown a curveball. As SAP APO reaches its end of life, companies are not only seeking alternatives to fill the impending void but also looking to address the existing functional limitations of SAP APO. One promising approach is to consider bridge solutions. They should seamlessly bridge the gap left by SAP APO’s departure, offering the same advanced capabilities while the new Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) solution is being designed, selected, and implemented.
SAP APO has been the cornerstone of supply chain management and production planning for numerous enterprises worldwide. Over the years, it has provided businesses with powerful tools for demand planning, production scheduling, and supply chain optimization. However, SAP APO comes with its own set of limitations and challenges. For example, SAP APO still applies the traditional “top-down” approach to forecasting based on aggregated data. As a result, Item-Location level forecast quality could be better because demand signal details are dismissed along with the ‘noise.’
Another challenge for APO is planning run time. This is because the forecast in APO is developed using multiple time series methods, which is time-consuming as the planning for each item is repeated many times. Finally, some crucial functionality can be missing depending on the specific build. Outlier cleansing functionality, for example, was introduced only in the enhancement of 2015. If your SAP APO build is older and no sufficient investments in the upgrade were made, your APO instance can miss this important functional module.
An APS implementation project can range from 6 months to several years. Multiple factors influence that, like the size of your organization and data quality. The limitations mentioned above of SAP APO also increase the complexity of the transition to a new APS.
Instead of simply switching from the old system to a new one, many companies will need to go to full-scale system and process design, taking into account new functionality, potential new forecasting approaches, and the possibility of having more accurate granular forecasts. SAP APO is also very well integrated with SAP ECC and SAP S/4HANA. Replacing it usually requires reinventing seamless integration with existing SAP (or other ERP) systems. Considering also budget related constraints, migrating from SAP APO to a new system can easily become a multiple-year effort.
Bridge solutions can serve as a lifeline for businesses in the post-SAP APO era. These solutions are designed to bridge the gap between the existing limitations of SAP APO and the anticipated implementation of new APS solutions. EyeOn Planning services offer a smooth transition and address many of the challenges mentioned earlier. Our outsourced Service is designed to integrate seamlessly with your ERP and other systems. This ensures minimal disruption to existing operations and preserves the investment made in technology.
Our Service comes with advanced planning and scheduling features that can enhance the efficiency of supply chain and demand planning, addressing the functional limitations of SAP APO. Finally, Planning services provided by EyeOn are scalable and adaptable, allowing businesses to grow and evolve without needing to overhaul their planning processes.
Multiple companies are using this period as an opportunity to bring their supply chain planning to the next level of maturity. For example, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality chocolate and cocoa products improved the accuracy of their forecast event during the turbulent period of 2022-2023 while moving away from their obsolete SAP APO solution. After the Corona pandemic and other disrupting events of the last three years, outlier cleansing and correct seasonality sensing functionality became crucial for the accurate forecasting process. Their build of SAP APO could no longer be upgraded to support this functionality, so with EyeOn, they introduced a forecasting process based on industry best practices. It helped the company to improve their forecast accuracy slightly and to keep healthy bias despite the fact that the forecastability of their business reduced significantly in this rough period.
The discontinuation of SAP APO not only presents challenges but also provides an opportunity for businesses to overcome its existing functional limitations. While the transition may be complex, the bridge solution provided by EyeOn Planning Services offers a promising path forward, enabling companies to continue operational efficiency, adapt to changing market conditions, and drive growth in the post-SAP APO era. Careful evaluation and planning can help your business implement your next-generation APS system without risks to business continuity and unnecessary time pressure.
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As part of our forecasting service we create a fit-for-purpose solution based on your unique business needs.