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PLM and ILM concept for APO

Author Sam Desai

One of the major causes of bad name for APO (that it does not plan properly) is
the master data maintenance process of the organisations. APO is a satellite
system and ECC is the master system hence traditionally ECC is a focus of
master data maintenance.
New Production Introduction (NPI) process is the main cause of incompleteness of
master data, whereas discontinuation of products often causes wrong planning.
The discontinuation process in APO is not properly sync-ed with ECC master data.
APO product master responding to plant specific changes ECC materials is an
incomplete and partially automated functionality. It has its shortcomings
therefore the best approach to manage it, is manual maintenance. Unless there
is a stringent business process with automated tools such as workflow, master
data for discontinued products will not be setup up for discontinuation. When
designing NPI and discontinuation processes, it has to be designed with concept
of ILM (Information Lifecycle Management). ILM defines the strategy for the data
from creation to retiring and beyond.
The material master in ECC and APO should reflect the actual business activities
of the products. For example, if the product is under development, the material
master in ECC has to be created with relevant plant specific material status. The
relevant material status should have business activities allowed and disallowed.
In most cases product under development is allowed to be manufactured but not
sold. This has to be controlled by the plant specific material status. If the
product requires planning in APO then the product master has to be setup in
such a way that planning happens in APO. Similarly, discontinuation of products
should also be taken into consideration and responded with master data changes
to support functionalities such as phase-in phase-out, interchangeability
(discontinuation, FFF), etc.
You should consider following things to formulate APO extended ILM strategy.
1. Stay close to the NPD (New Product Development) business activities and
stay tuned to NPI
2. When NPI is planned, model the material/product in ECC and APO and plan
the dates
3. Define a process to check and fix correctness and completeness of newly
created master data
4. Control the material in ECC with appropriate plant specific material
5. Define rules to transition from and to material statuses

Sam Desai

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6. Product discontinuation planning transition between relevant material

statuses in ECC and reflecting changes in APO to support ECC changes.
7. How long do you need to keep the transactions of the materials
8. In a hierarchy situation consider impact on product family when adding or
removing new product.
9. What are the business requirements (reporting, history, batch traceability,
10.What are the statutory requirements (product liability and warranty)
11.What are the technical requirements (sizing and capacity management of
the system)
12.Deleting in compliance with Archiving strategy (delete with or without
13.DRS (Disaster Recovery Strategy) considerations for the archived data
There are some fields on product master in APO, which are specific to APO and
they do not have any other origin. It is therefore required that the material
master creation process is extending well beyond ECC. Furthermore, an
enrichment process has to be part of overall material creation process that
covers APO and any other satellite systems.
Not defining and following comprehensive ILM strategy will result in bad
planning, error prone communication between ECC and APO and eventually
congesting CIF, which throws whole planning in disarray. As CIF is a lifeline of
APO, proper functioning of APO cannot be guaranteed. The terrible eventuality is
the planning falls, which has ramifications on delivery fulfilment and eventually
on customer satisfaction translating into undesirable profitability numbers.
Note - SAPs Product Life Cycle (PLM) management functionality is for managing
development and beyond sale of the products. ILM is a complementary
functionality that will help the management of data during PLM phases.

Sam Desai

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