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How Does SAP S/4HANA Enhance the Digital Supply Chain?

Sep 21, 2018

Proper supply chain management is a key priority for many businesses, but complexities throughout the process can make it easier said than done. Luckily, SAP has recently integrated its S/4HANA platform into its digital supply chain solutions, ensuring companies everywhere will be able to take advantages of the ERP giant’s powerful software. As Hala Zeine, president, digital supply chain and manufacturing, SAP, says:

Intelligent technologies help businesses make better sense of data, plan and predict outcomes, and optimise the entire product lifecycle including the customer experience. SAP helps companies embrace smarter business based on data-driven insights to run supply chains with greater insight, speed and purpose.

Let’s take a closer look at the specifics of how S/4HANA is going to upgrade the SAP digital supply chain.

A Step Above ECC

You’ve probably already heard, but SAP plans to cut off support for ECC by 2025. Luckily for those involved in the supply chain space, S/4HANA includes components from ECC like Materials Management (MM), Production Planning (PP), Sales and Distribution(SD), and Warehouse Management (WM), so there’s no worry about losing those. In addition, S/4HANA also offers newer and embedded components that were either not included with ECC or were stand-alone modules and had to be integrated, like Production Planning and Detailed Scheduling (PP/DS), Extended Warehouse Management (EWM), and Demand-Driven Replenishment (DDR). All in all, S/4HANA promises to be an improvement when it comes to boosting supply chain optimization.

Enhancing the 5 C’s

Speaking of a well-functioning SAP digital supply chain, the ERP giant has identified 5 C’s that are vital to a fully optimized one: Complete, Connected, Cognitive, Compliant, and Capable. Any supply chain management software out there needs to be able to hit all of those areas, or it’s just not doing its job properly. As you’d expect from the latest and greatest SAP solution, S/4HANA knocks all 5 C’s out of the park. Here’s how:

Complete
SAP S/4HANA’s digital supply chain software can handle all of the systems and processes needed to manage production planning and scheduling, transport and warehouse management, as well as coordinating suppliers and logistics, all from a single system.

Connected
By connecting suppliers, employees, third parties (including third-party producers), logistics providers, equipment, and resources, S/4HANA increases speed and efficiency of the process as a whole, as well as the propagation of any needed changes.

Cognitive
Based on a single platform with built-in predictive analytics, SAP S/4HANA avoids the issues that arise from having separate data stores for transactions and analytics (helping to keep everything up to date and in sync). Since analytics works directly on the transaction database, you can rely on complete and accurate machine learning and enable artificial intelligence to do its thing.

Compliant
Tracking logs, batches, and processes all need to flow smoothly for an accurate supply chain and to ensure end-to-end quality. Should errors occur, you need to be able to quickly track them down, figure out why they happened, and prevent them from happening in the future. S/4HANA helps you make that happen.

Capable
The SAP S/4HANA works with a platform that is dynamic, real-time, and works off of HANA. Everything in it can be managed, monitored, and maintained by SAP, which makes upgrades easy and helps to ensure system integrity and resilience. (There’s a reason SAP leads the ERP industry, after all.)

Other Ways S/4HANA Can Boost the SAP Digital Supply Chain

But the five C’s aren’t the only benefits companies will see with S/4HANA. As an SAP product, the solution also plays nicely with a ton of other SAP solutions, and the synergy of those complementary pairings offers an incredible boost. Components you can pair with S/4HANA include:

SAP Ariba
A HANA-powered, cloud-based procurement system, Ariba connects goods or services suppliers with buyers and complements the S/4HANA’s MM component.

SAP IBP (Integrated Business Planning)
Another HANA-powered, cloud-based software solution, IBP allows users to expand control beyond what’s available in the standard PP and MM components and manage complex procurement and production planning processes.

SAP EWM (Extended Warehouse Management)
With capabilities like slotting or kitting processes that aren’t available in S/4HANA’s MM component, EWM helps you to manage the logistics and supply chain challenges that large and complex warehousing operations face.

SAP C/4HANA
Formerly known as SAP Hybris, C/4HANA is SAP’s HANA-powered, cloud-based end-to-end CRM software which works with S/4HANA’s SD component to help you optimize your sales and customer service processes.

SAP TM (Transportation Management)
In addition to managing end-to-end transportation for companies that have large transport networks or complex transportation processes, SAP TM also manages your third-party logistics and provides better visibility into them as well as transport planning and inter-/intraborder crossings.

SAP Leonardo
“Leonardo” is SAP’s umbrella name for all of its next-gen technologies (IoT, machine learning, big data, etc.), and integrating it with S/4HANA offers plenty of futuristic advantages. By collecting massive amounts of unstructured data from installed sensors, data collection points and more, Leonardo can help companies come to actionable insights like predicting needed machine maintenance and anticipating delays in distribution due to rough weather or road conditions.

In short, SAP S/4HANA allows companies to process tons of data from a wide variety of sources and analyze it to get actionable insights. Since so many of the basics of the supply chain are covered by S/4HANA’s software components (and the fact that it’s complementary with so many other SAP components), it really does offer businesses a great look at the big picture.

If you’d like help optimizing your SAP digital supply chain with S/4HANA’s many powerful solutions, Surety Systems has just the senior-level SAP consultants for you. Our US-based consultants have the expertise and knowledge to fine-tune your operation, so what are you waiting for? Contact us today.

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