- PAC - Product Availability Check
- ABOP - Advance Backorder Processing
- PAL - Product Allocation
- RFD - Release for Delivery
- ABC - Alternative-Based Confirmation
This is a continuation of the article "SAP Advanced Available to Promise – A Promise for the Future", where the basic concept and the evolution of aATP were discussed. In this article we will focus more on the following key areas of innovation within aATP:
Now, let’s discuss these areas in more detail.
Product Availability Check (PAC) is one of the key business functions of order-to-cash or typical supply chain scenarios. It checks whether the requested material is available in the required quantity on the requested date for specific requirements (sales order, production order, etc.). In S/4HANA, the product availability check or PAC utilizes the In-memory computing to find mass product availability for sales, planned & production orders, deliveries which provide clearer visibility to the business. In case the check is executed for a sales order containing more than 20 schedule lines (fixed number defined by SAP), the high running materials are separated from the group product availability check. This means that a group product availability check is first executed for all materials other than the high-running materials. While the group check is running, the system does not lock the high-running materials. When the group check has been completed, high-running materials are checked in a separate product availability check. This approach ensures that the lock durations for high-running materials are reduced. High running materials are identified automatically based on the frequency of locking issues for a material.
However, the PAC with aATP cannot be used for the following scenarios and functions:
We use backorder processing to track customer sales orders received for which the inventory has not yet been shipped. Normally, this occurs when the available quantity is insufficient to fill the order. The backorder process lets us check how much is missing, and once the inventory is replenished, we can ship the required quantity to the customers. If a high priority customer places an order and the stock is unavailable, then we go back to the open orders of the low priority customers, cancel the confirmation and assign the stock to high priority customers.
In S/4HANA, the aATP function is used to define the business rules for order confirmations. BOP in aATP can be processed automatically for confirmation of any existing orders according to the business rules.
Within aATP BOP, there is a new concept for requirement classification that allows orders to be confirmed according to predefined criteria. There are five classifications (win, gain, redistribute, fill, and lose), each with its own rule for order confirmation prioritization. For example, the winner and the gainer have the highest priorities and will never lose their confirmed quantities, whereas the loser will always lose all the confirmed quantities to any of the other classifications.
WIN: Confirm as requested shall be fully confirmed in time (no sorting criteria). Example – all orders from priority customers (that day), all rush orders, and all backorders.
GAIN: Improve if possible, keep all the confirmations and gain (sorting – requested delivery date). Example – all orders from high and medium priority customers (for a week/10 working days).
FILL: Delete if required (sorting – order creation date). Example – all quality inspection orders and all internal stock transport orders.
REDISTRIBUTE: Might gain/lose (sorting – order creation date and delivery priority). Example – all stock transport orders and all standard sales orders for a week/10 working days.
LOSE: Delete all confirmations – no sorting. Example – all orders from customers under credit block.
The backorder processing with the advanced ATP is very flexible as it is possible to define your own selection and sorting criteria and assign these to different confirmation strategies. If properly used it can ensure timely delivery and achieve positive a customer experience.
PAL is used when the demand is more than the supply. It ensures that each customer receives its allocated share and prevents a single customer from buying the entire available quantity and other requests not being satisfied. When the supply is limited, products may be allocated (shared) to be sold to the following groups:
Product Allocation can be used to limit or control the stock for a variety of characteristics inside the sales order. Just for example, we can create a Product Allocation Object to limit the sales of a product per region. In that case, we will have to use the material number and region of the customer and stipulate limited quantities per month. This functionality enables the organization to keep production to a minimum at the same time as allowing you to react quickly to bottlenecks and changing situations in the market. A few key concepts to implement PAL in S/4HANA are discussed below.
With the release 1809, some additional enhancements have been made to the product allocation functionality, enabling increased flexibility by allowing custom fields users to add and display custom fields to the product allocation object header data in the Configure Product Allocation app and then use these fields during the product allocation process for stock transport orders as well. Additionally, it’s now possible to automatically reorganize product allocation planning data and assignments after changing characteristics (e.g., deletion or reactivation) and combining values.
PAL is a very simple to use but yet a very powerful tool to work with stock contingents, (complex) order priorities and it can manage stock efficiently for those organizations which need more than just “first-come first served” logic. However, it can be used for only a few materials that are critical in supply while keeping the rest managed by classical ATP. This framework can easily be setup within few hours and can instantly be used with the help of 5 SAP S/4HANA Fiori Apps.
Sales orders are released for subsequent logistic processes (like the creation of delivery) using the Release for Delivery SAP Fiori app. When there is limited availability of materials, this app provides the opportunity to review order confirmation situations and to reprioritize sales orders after BOP runs. Hence, it improves customer service value and increases on-time delivery for important sales orders.
From the release 1809 onwards, users can see dependencies on product allocation and delivery groups in the app. They can process items as part of a delivery group and validate the confirmation. Items constrained by product allocations can’t be changed. This, in combination with other factors, helps users decide how to distribute material quantities between sales orders, before releasing the sales orders for subsequent logistics processes (for example, picking or packing). This manual processing step prevents expensive cancellation and rollback activities that may occur if last-minute, high-priority sales orders come in, causing conflicts for materials for which quantities are limited.
Alternative-based confirmation (ABCs) is a new functionality (with two new SAP Fiori apps) introduced in 1809. This functionality is similar to plant substitution of SAP APO Global ATP (GATP), i.e., if the material is not available in the sales order plant, then the system will automatically check for the stock availability in other plants.
ABC is based on the “Building Rule” technique, as mentioned below:
1. FULL_CONFIRMATION – The other plant which has the complete sales order stock confirms for the requested delivery.
2. MAX_EARLIER CONFIRMATION – The other plant can confirm the maximum sales order stock and confirms the maximum requested quantity for delivery.
3. ON_TIME_CONFIRMATION – The other plant which can confirm the maximum quantity of the requested sales order quantity on the requested delivery date is the valid alternative.
Restrictions of ABC in S/4HANA
1. ABC in S/4HANA can be used only to process requirements from order documents of the business documents class sales order only
2. ABC in S/4HANA supports the substitution method, Plant Substitution (from all eligible plants), and Force Inline Substitution method
3. ABC in S/4HANA does not support the delivery or production process and the substitution of the sub-items within an order item
4. ABC does not work with Product Allocation (PAL) and Back Order Processing (BOP)
The alternative based-confirmation is the first step of bringing the global ATP back to the core but still has its limitations.
There is no doubt that with the release of Advanced ATP Solution, SAP is delivering on the promise and benefits of building next-generation order promising capabilities. However, it is still in the process of development and improvement. One of the biggest limitations at this point is that the functionality is only available during sales order creation and not in sales order change. This means alternative based confirmation is not possible during backorder processing.
Here are a few facts to be noted concering aATP.