Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

SAP adds Intelligence to Digital Supply Chain

William Payne
September 20, 2018

SAP has added new features to its Digital Supply Chain solutions, including machine learning. The new intelligent features added to its supply chain solutions are a result of the company integrating its SAP S/4HANA cloud based systems with its digital supply chain products. 

The latest solution updates are designed to enable an integrated supply chain and manufacturing environment with enhanced capabilities for production planning and scheduling, availability and fulfilment, compliance, health and safety, and production engineering and operations.

"Intelligent technologies help businesses make better sense of data, plan and predict outcomes, and optimize the entire product lifecycle including the customer experience," said Hala Zeine, president, Digital Supply Chain and Manufacturing, SAP. "SAP helps companies embrace smarter business based on data-driven insights to run supply chains with greater insight, speed and purpose."

Highlights of the new capabilities include support for highly engineered products, including consolidated operations including bill of materials, intelligent process planning, shop floor execution and integrated system testing. Production engineering and operations can be synchronized across manufacturing execution for complex assembly and low-volume operations, such as in aerospace and defence, which traditionally required manual processing.

New capabilities also 3D visualization and production, providing visualization from design through production to service and maintenance, and supporting the network of digital twins. Core business processing is combined with complete product lifecycle management to support decision-making, production and maintenance operations, and 3D printing of components.

Integration with the ARIBA Network provides for critical supply analysis, vendor selection and flexibility to adapt to changing global trade regulations and variable customer requirements.

SAP's Digital Supply Chain products now support process production with recipe management development, including the ability to track and find optimal recipes.

Machine learning functions assist with suggested options for materials without purchase contracts, reducing exceptions and errors when processing long lists of open purchase requisitions and help operational purchasers easily create requests for quotations with algorithm-based suggestions.

The system also features demand driven replenishment, with improved buffer-proposal suggestions for transferred products using machine learning capabilities. This more precise inventory management results in better service levels and better return on assets.

Predictive analytics and machine learning contribute to enhanced sales forecasts and delivery performance.

The system also provides for advanced variant configuration, using new algorithms developed together with the Fraunhofer Institute in Kaiserslautern and optimized for the SAP HANA® business data platform. This is designed to enable a better user experience, such as by calculating alternatives in a more accurate way to avoid inconsistencies and by handling decimal values very precisely.