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SAP IBP (Integrated Business Planning ) is SAP’s flagship planning product for cloud-based supply chain management, providing functionality for procurement, distribution, and inventory.  SAP IBP consists of several modules that work together to manage data and coordinate supply chain processes. For example, the Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP) module can generate forecasts for demand, supply, product and portfolio changes, strategic projects, and related financial impact for the upcoming period.

These SAP IBP modules depend on data from various upstream SAP systems and modules. SAP Cloud Platform Integration (SAP CPI) can be used to manage the collection and integration of this data, but SAP CPI can only be controlled according to a time schedule. This means that with SAP CPI, the data needed by SAP IBP cannot be loaded in real time and SAP IBP cannot immediately ingest new data. As a result, dependent supply chain processes can’t begin. Valuable time is lost, and critical tasks become even more time-dependent, as it’s crucial that the tasks run – and complete – on schedule.

For the IT team responsible for automation, this dependence on scheduled data means that they are often required to create manual calendar reminders to run and validate jobs at key stages, such as before the end of the month, and sometimes even set an alarm during the night to confirm that data has been delivered successfully.

Reducing execution time from 17 to 7 hours

A leading European car parts manufacturer using SAP IBP faced an additional challenge: master data integration was taking nearly 17 hours. During this process, the SAP IBP system was completely locked for two days. If an error occurred at any point during the integration, the entire process had to be restarted. Sometimes users had to wait longer than two days for system access to be restored.

Being unable to execute long-term data analysis or plant and supplier capacity planning during that integration lock-out wasn’t the only issue. Production also came to a standstill and management lacked current, reliable data for essential reports on the number of items produced or current supplier costs. Without the ability to analyze key KPIs, the team could not deliver optimized production.

Leveraging Redwood automation and orchestration to get more from SAP IBP

This customer used Redwood Business Process Automation to keep production moving and reestablish key metric tracking. Immediately, the team realized a 60% time savings, accomplishing in 7 hours what used to take 17. Other benefits included:

  • Data from SAP BW InfoCubes is now loaded automatically by leveraging event-driven automation to process it as soon as it arrives. In addition, event-driven master data flows automatically generate key performance indicators that are critical for production, partners, and distributors.
  • Redwood’s flexible scheduling allows for flexibility and scalability across the enterprise. Any process can be executed using the criteria defined by the team.
  • Running processes in parallel makes completing overall tasks even faster. When using SAP only, multiple processes could not be started at the same time.
  • Orchestrating tasks across applications increases the efficiency of process execution. For example, SAP IBP, SAP BW, SAP ERP and non-SAP systems can be seamlessly automated in a single Redwood process.
  • If an error occurs, the entire process doesn’t need to be restarted and unexpected user lockouts are avoided. Self-healing processes attempt to resolve the issue, and, if it persists, proactive monitoring notifies a team member to fix and restart the affected step, instead of restarting the entire process.
  • Thanks to stable, reliable automation with event-driven rules, the team responsible for automation is able to eliminate a significant amount of manual work and process monitoring.

By deploying Redwood, the management team has made significant strides toward its goal of long-term production optimization. With reliable, up-to-date performance data delivered in real-time, the business is moving faster than ever and can now spend more time on analysis, with greater confidence in the results.

Find out more about Redwood’s workload automation.

About The Author

Darrell Maronde's Avatar

Darrell Maronde

Darrell Maronde is the Senior Product Marketing Manager for Redwood’s workload automation solutions. He has more than 15 years of product marketing experience with on-prem and SaaS software, including solutions for IT and operations.