One of the key innovations in S/4HANA is the Advanced Available-to-Promise (aATP), on which I share some highlights in this blog.
The Advanced ATP has several features which are enhanced to work with HANA or even new processes developed as improvement for the current ATP processes. The topics highlighted in this blog are:
- The Product Availability Check
- Backorder Processing
- Alternative Based Confirmation
Product Availability Check
The Product Availability Check in S/4HANA can be used to determine on which date and in which quantity a requirement (for example, a sales order item) can be fulfilled. The result of the product availability check is a confirmation. It utilizes well the in-memory computing to find mass product availability for sales, planned & production orders, deliveries… giving business new levels of visibility.
The Product Availability Check in S/4HANA can be seen as the ATP check as we know in ECC and offers several customizing options:
- Availability check control: which documents and stock types are taken into account
- Check at storage location level: in case a storage location is maintained in the document, the availability can be checked on this storage location only (default behavior), or checked on plant level (check on storage location is de-activated)
- Replenishment lead time: defines whether a requirement will always be confirmed if the material availability date is after the replenishment lead time
The product availability check for high running materials is, however, new in S/4HANA and uses the big processing capacity of HANA. In case the check is executed for a sales order containing more than 20 schedule lines (fixed number defined by SAP), the high running materials are separated from the group product availability check. This means that a group product availability check is first executed for all materials other than the high-running materials. While the group check is running, the system does not lock the high-running materials. When the group check has completed, high-running materials are checked in a separate product availability check. This approach ensures that the lock durations for high-running materials are reduced. High running materials are identified automatically based on the frequency of locking issues for a material.
The above-mentioned topics are standard available in S/4HANA. But you can also activate the advanced features of the Available-to-Promise check on which we will elaborate next in this blog.
The Advanced Product Availability Check is optimized for documents containing large volumes of data (i.e. sales orders containing many items or production orders consisting of multiple components). The Advanced Product Availability Check can be activated in the definition of the availability check group.
Attention: if you activate the Advanced ATP, an additional license is required as this is not part of the standard SAP S/4HANA Enterprise license.
The next innovative features in this blog are only available when you have activated the Advanced ATP in your availability check group.
Backorder Processing (BOP) is used to check material availability when the demand or supply situation in your order fulfillment process has changed and you want to check if previously calculated confirmations for sales orders or stock transport orders are still realistic.
The backorder processing with advanced ATP has been redesigned to allow more flexibility in defining the rules of who receives the available stock. To allow this, confirmation strategies define and prioritize how individual requirements are handled in BOP runs when availability is limited.
The following confirmation strategies are available:
- Win: the requirements are fully confirmed on the requested date. If the requirements cannot be confirmed completely, the system stops checking and raises an alert. Thesales document is not updated and all other documents for the same material/plant combination are also not updated.
- Gain: assigned requirements are at least retained or if possible improved.
- Redistribute: assigned requirements can get a better, equal or worse confirmation.
- Fill: assigned requirements do not gain additional quantity or get an earlier confirmation date. They get an equal or worse confirmation.
- Lose: assigned requirements lose their current confirmation and are not confirmed.
You can define the selection and sort criteria (BOP segments) for the different strategies in a BOP variant. The characteristics for the selections and sort criteria are much broader than in ECC, where you had very limited sorting and selection possibilities in transaction V_V2.. Examples with Backorder Processing as part of the Advanced S/4HANA solution are: sales group, sales document type, shipping point, …
An example of a BOP variant:
In this BOP variant example, the BOP segment ‘Customer_10100002’ has been assigned to strategy ‘Win’ and the BOP segment ‘FIRSTCOMEFIRSTSERVED’ has been assigned to strategy ‘Redistribute’. This means that orders for customer 10100002 will always increase the confirmations and the other orders are redistributed on ‘first-come-first-served’-principle.
The ‘FIRSTCOMEFIRSTSERVED’ BOP segment is defined with selection criteria “plant = 1010” and ascending sorting on document number.
The result of the simulation run of this BOP variant is:
Here you can see that the newly available 5 PC of availability gets assigned according to the BOP variant. The sales order 85 for customer 10100002 improves its confirmation of the requirements with the ‘Win’ strategy and the sales order 84 gets 1 additional confirmation in the ‘Redistribute’ strategy.
To follow up manually the backorders for a self-defined responsibility groups you can use the Release for Delivery app to manually prioritize due order documents for materials with limited availability. These responsibility groups can be defined based on many characteristics such as material, material group, region, … And these responsibility groups can then be assigned to a user.
In the example below, the responsibility is set to 1 specific material only.
In the Release for Delivery app itself, you can than determine manual which orders can have the available stock, which orders will be postponed, and which orders are to be unconfirmed.
Once you have made your required changes, you can immediately create the outbound deliveries in the same app.
Conclusion: the backorder processing with the advanced ATP is much more flexible as you can define your own selection and sorting criteria and assign these to different confirmation strategies. Plus the follow up of specific materials, material groups using the Release for Delivery app by assigned users, is in my opinion a big advantage compared to the backorder processing in ECC.
Alternative Based Confirmation
The advanced ATP of S/4HANA 1809 comes with the first basic features of the Global ATP check in APO. The Alternative Based Confirmation contains the functionality of location substitution (material substitution will come in later releases).
Location substitution is used to check the availability of a material in a different plant if the material is not available in the plant of the sales order. By defining an Alternative Control, you can specify the substitution strategy based on some characteristics, such as Sales Organization, Sales Document type, Item Category, Plant, …
In the example below, when a sales order is created for customer 10100004 and material TG11, the substitution strategy ‘PLANT_MAX_CONFIRM’ is used.
The substitution strategy ‘PLANT_MAX_CONFIRM’ is defined as plant substitution with building rule ‘MAX_ON_TIME_CONFIRMATION’. It selects the plant which can confirm the maximum quantity (from the requested quantity) amongst all possible plants linked to the sales area.
When creating a sales order for customer 10100004 and material TG11 in plant 1010 where no availability exists for the material, the following ATP confirmation is returned:
With the alternative based confirmation rule defined, the new plant SI01 has been determined automatically and allows delivering the requested material TG11 on the requested delivery date to the customer.
Conclusion: this alternative based confirmation is the first step of bringing the global ATP back to the core, but still has its limitations. One of the biggest limitations at this point is that the functionality is only available during sales order creation and not in sales order change. This means alternative based confirmation is not possible during backorder processing.
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