This is our third Supply Chain Matters commentary regarding the SAP Insider sponsored Logistics and Supply Chain conference being held in Orlando this week. Readers can review our first commentary here, or second commentary here.
This was another jam-packed day of presentations and interchanges and I spent the majority of my time attending customer presentations and focused breakout sessions.
The morning started with a keynote delivered by Richard Howells and Karen Peterson, both vice presidents with SAP SCM solution management. Messaging to the audience highlighted key developments for both supply chain planning and execution:
- Noted for planning was the November announcement of SAP solution extension Supply Chain Response Management (ICON-SCM), which we noted in our previous part two commentary. Steve Lykken, Vice President of Business Consulting for ICON-SCM was invited to stage to present the use-cases for this solution extension, which evolve mostly with what-if planning and more rapid planning to yield a high-level delivery plan. SAP customers who have already deployed ICON included Hewlett Packard, Tellabs.
- Also mentioned was SAP’s solution extension, Information Interchange by Crossgate, which is a B2B content engine targeted for use by SAP Transportation Management and SNC customers.
- For supply chain execution, noted was that two of the most significant multi-year internal development investments within SAP SCM has been focused in augmenting transportation and distribution functionality. Transportation has an unfortunate long legacy of frustration with SAP customers, and SAP now believes that Transportation Management Release 8.0, released in December, will address customer needs. I was informed of a rather deep and stellar list of SAP customers who comprised the advisory council for functionality and user features in this new release.
- There are a number of planning and execution Rapid Deployment Solutions targeted for release through the remainder of 2011, and Supply Chain Matters has requested approval to share the actual PowerPoint schedule shared with the audience.
The remainder of my day included sitting-in on presentations from Coca Cola and Mars, as well as Insider Breakout Sessions where multiple customers and prospects exchanged learning and insights relative to implementing and supporting SAP APO and other SCM suite applications.
Some common themes touched upon in the majority of these venues included:
- Having a strong and visible project sponsor.
- Starting with manageable scope, small steps, and out-of-the box functionality, allowing users to gain comfort with the new technology. Change management is an important consideration in any technology implementation. The speaker for Coca Cola was pleasantly pleased that the implementation of Supply Chain Performance Management worked right out-of-box supporting over 350 key performance indicators based on the Supply Chain Council’s SCOR Framework.
- Tapping the value of the learning resources available in either SAP and consultant partner best practices and learning. ASUG application focused forums were often cited and praised.
- In problematic implementations, having SAP development and support contacts are invaluable in the timely resolution of technical problems.
Stay tuned for further Supply Chain Matters commentary from this week’s SAP Insider Logistics and Supply Chain Management 2011 conference.
In the meantime, readers are encouraged to share comments and questions.