Is SAP keeping its promise with S/4HANA Advanced ATP (aATP)?

Authors: Tim Park & Balaraj Pudota

Recall in 2015, SAP announced that Available to Promise capabilities would be built from the ground up in the core S/4HANA solution. At the time, the rationale for this strategic decision was to build next generation order promising functionality that would be simple to use and implement, while leveraging the central S/4HANA digital core platform.  Now that aATP is becoming very real on the 1809 platform, we have hands-on config/modeling experience exploring cool new features like Segmentation while also providing tangible detailed comparisons to what is already available on the fully capable legacy global ATP platform. 

One of the key obstacles for this approach would be that SAP customers, especially those already using APO’s global ATP (gATP), would have to wait for the promise and roadmap availability of key functionality offered in a brand new order promising engine within S/4HANA. Some of these current roadmap gap items include: Multi-Level (component) ATP, Product Substitution, and Capable to Promise

Starting with SAP APO 5.0 release and beyond, SAP has delivered comprehensive and truly best-in-class order promising functionality with gATP. It provides a powerful set of features for Product Allocation, Rules based ATP, Multi-Level ATP, Capable to Promise, and Backorder Processing.  From a system architecture point of view, the liveCache based APO solution offers performance benefits of a standalone system to share planning and fulfillment across multiple ERP solutions. However, SAP APO as an external system also adds implementation and integration complexity.

Could SAP build on top of the strengths and key learnings from gATP that customers are requesting? And within a reasonable timeframe for customers upgrading to S/4HANA?

Last week at the annual SAPInsider SCM conference in Orlando, we had the pleasure of presenting and sharing a demo on the currently available order promising innovations to help answer those questions.

There were two themes that garnered the most interest from our session and follow-up discussions with SAP customer attendees:

  1. When and how can we migrate to S/4HANA Advanced ATP? Given the various migration scenarios, we’re working on a separate blog post. Stay tuned for our next post in January!
  2. Requirements and Supply Segmentation capability within aATP

Requirements and supply segmentation is a key innovation and outcome from SAP’s strategy to build advanced ATP within S/4HANA. It incorporates the concepts of characteristic (or attribute) based supply and demand segmentation that are used across a number of industries such as Retail, Apparel, High Tech, Life Sciences, and more.  You can separate stock based on attributes such as country of origin, vendor, or channel as well as segment customer demand based on attributes such as regulatory requirements, channel, or customer priority.

Important features and benefits to highlight:

  • Segmentation offers a range of creative options to meet the virtual supply segregation requirements that many customers have reluctantly solved with separate storage locations, plants, customization, or even material numbers.
  • Stock protection for common stock pool (ie. channel)
  • Fixed assignment between requirements and supply elements which remains until outbound delivery creation. Optimize stock usage through automated assignment rules

Segmentation is available in S/4HANA across Logistics, Finance, Planning, and Sales without additional industry specific solutions or add-ons required

In our system demo, we also highlighted the Product Allocation functionality that offers a vastly simplified experience of configuring and managing allocations. What used to take over 30 configuration and setup steps, now becomes less than 5 steps in S/4HANA.

In summary, SAP is delivering on the promise and benefits of building next-generation order promising capabilities from the ground up in S/4HANA. While there are roadmap and timing challenges, as a named ATP Development and Implementation partner, we are excited to shape and support the roadmap on behalf of all SAP customers. For more information, feel free to contact us and look out for our S/4HANA advanced ATP webinar with SAP Solution Management in January. Details to be published shortly!

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