Project Functionality

Project Functionality of SAP-PP (Production Planning

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Production planning and project management in SAP have many touchpoints. They intersect particularly in a make-to-order environment involving sales-driven projects. In principle there are a lot of similarities between the production planning module (PP) of SAP and the Project System (PS) or even Plant Maintenance (PM). Production orders are very similar to networks or maintenance orders/work orders. The main difference is that PP deals with ongoing operational aspects while PS and PM deal with projects. Projects are defined as a series of activities with a start and finish date in order to complete clearly specified deliverables at a high quality standard. From that perspective the main conceptual difference to PP is the limitation in time. PP, PS and PM all define a series of tasks, link them through relationships with each other, assign work centers to them to define where and by whom the tasks are supposed to be completed, and then schedule and cost these tasks out. Even the tools used in SAP are very similar or often the same (like work centers, definition of relationships, resource leveling). This should not be surprising as particularly the PS module, and also to some degree PM, has been built by combining PP and controlling (CO) functionality. It does indeed seem that one reason why project management in SAP often is perceived as not user-friendly is due to that fact. Many of the "logistics" functions of the dynamically changing PS and PM modules are rooted in the much more static PP module. The result is great functional power but often clumsy screens and transactions. The assignment of internally produced materials (components) to projects in PS or PM reflects another area where these modules intersect. In that case PP provides input to PS or PM, and the timing of this input is synchronized through scheduling and MRP (materials requirements planning) transactions. There are a number of limitations in the way PP on the one side and PS and PM on the other side interact. At least in the standard SAP R/3 system costs and dates are not naturally rolling up or synchronizing between these modules.

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